A ranking of my pet peeves, on a scale from “eh, I guess I can deal with this,” to “UGH SOMEONE GET ME SOME SOOTHING RAIN SOUNDS NOW.”
A ranking of my pet peeves, on a scale from “eh, I guess I can deal with this,” to “UGH SOMEONE GET ME SOME SOOTHING RAIN SOUNDS NOW.”
After almost two months of freedom missing my parents inconsolably, Family Weekend couldn’t have come sooner. I was so excited to see my parents, beg for Bear Bucks, and eat something other than the gourmet selection at the Ratty. I was bursting to share my new adventures in college with them. Well, not all of them. Actually, almost none of them. I only shared a very abbreviated version of my hijinks. But it made me wonder what it would be like to give my parents an honest tour of campus…
1. My Dorm Room
My dorm room rocks! Just look at this awesome desk. I use it all the time to study. And see how nicely I made my bed? It’s like this every day! My roommate and I use the whiteboard on the door to write cute messages to all of our neighbors, but it mostly just says, “No boys allowed!!!”
Hello MTV and welcome to my crib. Please step through the grand foyer where that one girl was EMSed on a Wednesday. As you marvel at the crown molding on the expansive walls, you may note that the smoke detector has been effectively disabled with a plastic CVS bag fastened by a rubber band. Oh, and if you’re looking for school supplies, don’t check my desk drawers. The top drawer is reserved exclusively for bottom-shelf liquor. I think I heard somewhere that the BPA in plastic handles of vodka enhances the flavor? Or the nutritional value? Something like that. Either way, those bottles are the only things our recycling bin has ever been filled with (besides vomit).
2. The Main Green
All of my classes are located just off the Main Green. It’s a great space to come and relax with my friends. All of those college pamphlets and information packets weren’t lying when they included pictures of incredibly diverse students laughing on the sweeping lawn.
It’s 4:20, so you know what that means… stupid cool freshmen rebels are about to light up on the Main Green. Hey, see those guys playing Frisbee over there? I drank out of that Frisbee last week at a party. Fun fact: a standard Frisbee can hold 4.5 beers!
3. Circle Dance Sculpture
Here on the grass between Angell Street and Waterman Street lies Tom Friedman’s Circle Dance sculpture. It is made out of stainless steel and was modeled after Henri Matisse’s painting La Danse. It is a lovely sculpture that brightens my day as I walk to my 9 am class.
This is the tin-foil sculpture. I’m not really sure if it counts as art. My best guess is that someone who couldn’t afford constructing a building with their name on it decided they still wanted to leave their mark on campus. One Friday night at 2 am, I drunkenly hooked up with a guy in the middle of this statue. A lot of people saw us. I feel like an idiot every time I run past this stupid hunk of metal on my way to catch the last 10 minutes of my 9am class.
4. Sci Li
The Sci Li is a great study space. I come here everyday immediately after class to finish that day’s homework, revise next week’s paper, and study for next month’s midterm. I love the quiet floors. They provide an ideal environment for me to cultivate my work ethic and watch it flourish. I’m already studying for finals!
I didn’t step foot in a library until three days before my first midterm. But fear not, the Sci Li and I have made up for lost time since then. I relish the rush of absolute terror when I accidentally drop a pencil on one of the many silent floors… It reminds me that I’m still alive enough to have feelings. Whenever I see the security guards roaming around the stacks, I try not to think about what they’re protecting me from because, deep down, I have a sneaking suspicion that they’re guarding me from myself. What’s the real Sci Li Challenge? Try not to cry on every floor.
Sometimes, we like to think we aren’t just one in seven billion. We like to think we are *unique!* and have our own exciting and potentially world-changing attributes. As Dr. Suess once told me when I was five and a half, “Today you are you, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is youer than you.” Definitely a smart (and world-changing) man. No doubt there. It’s been confirmed that I am me! And me is not you! But despite the ways in which we differentiate ourselves from all the other phes, there are a few things that are utterly unifying.
Here is a list of things you do more often than not (and I do too!) that make you human AND make you, you:
1. (Discretely) picking a booger with your pinky and then either look at it for a while or flick it onto the floor. I’d have to say I’d rather you not fling it in my direction but what can you do when you think I don’t see you?
2. Walking down Thayer street pulling out a fat wedgey. You think no one can see because your backpack covers your butt? Wrong.
3. Meeting someone new and shaking their hand right after you’ve washed yours in the bathroom…and then having to explain that they’re wet because you just washed them and didn’t want to wait for the line to use those damn powerhouse hand driers since apparently every one is going green these days. By the time you’ve explained the saga, you don’t even remember their name.
4. Even worse than #4: Meeting someone new after using the bathroom and NOT washing your hands. (Yes, we’ve all done that too.) [Ed.: Have we, though?]
5. Digging into the back of your mouth to dislodge a piece of apple that is stuck in your left molar. It’s wildly uncomfortable, I know, but you also just stuck your whole hand in your mouth…
6. Tripping up the stairs. I don’t get it either, but god dammit it happens far too often.
7. Thinking you look sexy and chill when you waltz out of the bathroom at a party because you’re probably semi-intoxicated and everyone’s looking at you. But then a kind samaritan tells you that you have toilet paper trailing from your shoe. Wishful thinking, honey!
8. Friday night shots with your ladies at the bar before you hit the town?! The bartender and the random dude next to you definitely saw you “accidentally” pour half of it onto the floor and still cringe like you drank gasoline.
9. “Singing” along with your friends in the car to some one-hit wonder they all happened to love in 7th grade. They know every word by heart and you feel a little lame. Despite your best efforts to pretend you know the words too, let alone the song at all, your friends can definitely tell that you’re just making noise.
10. Being that person who gets up in a seminar class five minutes before the designated break because you just can’t wait. If you don’t make it to the toilet ASAP there may or may not be an accident… I know you tried your hardest, but now the professor thinks you’re a slacker.
But don’t be embarrassed when #3 happens tomorrow and #7 later tonight. It happens to the best (and worst) of us. Even Beyonce’s been there. Here’s to being human!
I’ve just spent the weekend relaxing in New York with my family. Sunday has rolled around all too soon, meaning that it’s time to take the train back to campus. I wake up that morning with a knot in my stomach – not because I’m sad to be leaving my mom, or stressed about the week of homework ahead (although both statements are true), but because I know it’s time to face the Penn Station Scramble.
I arrive at Penn Station 30 minutes before my train is due to depart. I descend on the escalator into hell with my wheely bag in tow, preparing my game face. My armpits begin to sweat in anticipation. Due to my early-ish arrival, I have exactly enough time to purchase a Dunkin Donuts ice coffee and prowl around the departure board, calculating the most tactful positioning. I scoff at the travelers posted up in the seating area. Amateurs.
I finally locate some prime real estate – close to the board, and as centered as possible without blocking the escalator – and take a seat on my wheely bag. I scope out the competition and look at the clock. Roughly ten minutes until my track will be announced. I make guesses as to which one it will be – 10 East? 12 West? Please don’t let it be 7 East.
Five minutes. More people begin to crowd around the board, and my stomach churns every time the massive machine updates itself, flapping as wildly as my heart inside of my chest. I position my purse across my body, raise the handle of my bag, and clutch my phone so tightly in my hand I think it might bend. (Too soon, iPhone 6 users?)
Three minutes. I break out in rage-sweats.
The track is announced after what seems like eternity, and, blinded by anxiety, it takes me a minute to orient myself. As soon as I have, I run towards 10 West like a mad woman, dragging my bag over people’s feet in the process. I slide into the left side of the slightly-formed line, glaring at those who silently accuse me of cutting in front of them, and scowling at those who try to do the same to me. I square my shoulders as if preparing for battle (which I sort of am). The brisk walk down the escalator and onto the train is a blur.
The sweats and beating heart don’t subside until I’m in my seat, bag above my head, jacket off, and headphones in. The Penn Station Scramble has taken yet another two years off of my life.
Unfortunately, this sort of travel anxiety isn’t limited to the train variety. My teeth clench at the thought of going through airport security, even though I have TSA Pre-Check and always arrive 2 hours before my flight. As soon as I know that I have to travel over 30 minutes via public transportation, I go into survival mode. And while I’m a somewhat anxious person in general, I think this type of travel anxiety effects all people, to some extent. When’s the last time you showed up to Penn Station and just la-di-da’d your way over to the track five minutes after they’ve announced it?
I clearly am no expert on how to conquer this anxiety once and for all, but here are some tips that would probably subdue the rage-sweats:
Safe travels, and may the odds be ever in your favor!
Remember last week when your friend reminisced on the nostalgic splendor of Neopets?
“Oh man, I was on Neopets nonstop back in elementary school. Good times.”
Face it: Your friend is hopelessly deceiving you. Those good times are not times of the past — they are the glorious present. Everyone still has an active and prosperous Neopets account, and anyone who suggests otherwise is a treacherous liar. You may be embarrassed, and you may be ashamed, but it is time to cast misery aside, leave the somber shadow of denial, and feed your Neopets.
Even if you “apparently” don’t play Neopets anymore — which is a lie — take a moment to consider the wondrous utopia that is Neopia. There are no student loans on Neopets. Neopians don’t pay sales tax. And while your Neopets might get hungry once in a while, no one ever dies.
Everyone lives forever. Everyone still plays Neopets.
Whenever your mom yelled at you for being on Neopets on the dial-up for so long, it wasn’t because she needed the phone in the family office to call your aunt. It was because you were taking away from her precious Meerca Chase time.
In fifth grade, your teacher banned Neopets from the classroom computers to prevent distraction. Her true motivation? Fear.
“How could I let a group of ten-year-olds establish more profitable shops than me?” she groggily mumbled to herself at her desk while plotting your fall from Neopian grace on an apple-shaped sticky note.
Last semester, your history professor said you could write about whatever you wanted to for your final paper. You wrote about the American Revolution. He replaced the name of every major historical figure with the name of a Neopet. Later that evening, he wrote about how awful your paper was on the Neopets message boards while wallowing in the Neopian economy’s inflation.
You overheard someone complaining about pulling an all-nighter to finish his or her computer science assignment. The next time you hear “computer science,” replace it with “practicing cute HTML on Neopets.” Things make a lot more sense now, don’t they?
Every time you greet your boss at work, know that she visits your Neopets every day to make sure you’re feeding them. That raise you got a few weeks back? Let’s just say it wasn’t your performance at work that impressed her.
Barack Obama? He’s one of those people that actually spends real money on Neopets. Make fun of him all you’d like, but there’s no denying that his pets are a hell of a lot cuter than yours. Don’t be surprised when the next State of the Union address is the State of Neopia instead.
And don’t forget your roommate, the one you want to know better but don’t seem to get along with very well. The unbearable glow of her computer screen at 3 AM isn’t an English paper she’s finishing. Next time the clicking of her keyboard keeps you up, ask her if you want to be Neofriends.
She’ll say yes. Because she knows that you still play Neopets, too.
If you have listened to any amount of popular music lately, you’ve noticed a phenomenon I like to call “the rise of the booty.” There has been a sudden influx of songs about women’s butts. This trend has been a long time coming – I’d like to refer you to Sir Mix-A-Lot’s timeless classic – but it seems that the bottom has recently reached an all-time high.
In direct response to this trend, I find my Facebook newsfeed filled with posts by girls complaining about said booty anthems – girls who possess a much trimmer figure and perhaps a less bodacious booty. They focus on lyrics like “fuck those skinny bitches in the club” as indicators that perhaps these songs are not the ticket to widespread body positivity. To a certain extent, they’re right. Does the rise of the booty anthem mean that beauty standards for women have finally reached attainable levels? Hell nope. But, more importantly, do these songs demonstrate a widening view of what it means to be beautiful? I’d say so. Previously, the majority of body types represented positively in mainstream music were those of all the skinny ladies on my Facebook newsfeed. I can understand their current distress, but I think it’s about time to grant the badonkadonk its rightful place in the spotlight.
I don’t come to this issue from a position of posterior privilege; as a card-carrying member of the No Butt Club (est. 1995), I can safely say that Jason Derulo would probably think that my booty needs explainin’. In fact, it needs to be explained to me why I have no discernable booty. That said, I welcome the butt beats (tushy tunes, heinie hits, rump raps…I can go on all day). I kneel before our booty overlords. As far as I’m concerned, if you’ve got it, flaunt it (if not for your own self-confidence, at least on behalf of those of us without beautiful bottoms). If Nicki Minaj is rapping in favor of your derriere, allow the warm light of her favor wash over you. If not, don’t sweat it!
It’s important to remember, though, that we don’t need a song dedicated to our body type in order to feel beautiful. We don’t need the acceptance of men, Nicki Minaj, or the music industry. What we do need to accept is that every body is a beautiful body…and “All About That Bass” is a damn catchy song.
One of the most frequent compliments I receive is not actually a compliment at all. I get it in floods during my first few weeks in a new environment (middle school, high school, college, study abroad, etc.) and in a trickle at other times, but it never fully dies out: “You have really long hair!”
How to respond? Although it’s usually delivered in an almost congratulatory tone, it is not a compliment. It is an indisputable statement of fact. My hair is definitely long: long enough that it usually looks bad in a ponytail, not long enough that I can sit on it. Still, the only truly appropriate response to “Your hair is so long!” is “I know!”
The hair remark is a relatively benign non-compliment. Others carry less friendly subtexts. I’ve unpacked some common non-compliments below:
“Your hair is so straight!” (Yup)
“Your hair is so curly!” (Nothing gets by you!)
“I always prefer natural hair colors” (Do you think mine is natural or not?)
“You look really good today!” (As opposed to every other day?)
“You look ready to party” (Either I look like I’m trying too hard or I look like I really need a drink)
In heels: “Wow, you look really tall!” (But do my legs look longer and my ass more toned??? Because THAT’S what I was going for)
Also for a dress up occasion: “That looks… nice” (It definitely doesn’t)
“Your make up looks good!” (My face, on the other hand…)
And the ultimate passive aggressive non-compliment: “I’m glad you’re doing well.” (…But only because I’m doing better!)
These are all non-compliments we’ve all either received or delivered. There are, however, truly bizarre ones that pop out. Here’s a sampling of the best (worst?) non-compliments I’ve personally received:
My dad, when I got my driver’s license on the first try: “Wow, congratulations! I estimated you had a 30% chance of passing!”
More than one person has said this to me: “You actually always smell really good.” (“Actually” is the key word here… apparently I have the personality of someone who smells bad.)
And the winner for most perplexing non-compliment: “Your hair looks like a polished wood floor.” What is it about my hair??
I don’t like to receive non-compliments. I don’t think anyone does; they’re either a total waste of words or extremely backhanded. Everyone should just stop giving them! Still, I can’t claim to be completely above the non-compliment. I’ll leave you with the least subtle one I’ve ever dished out (to my 6th grade math teacher): “You have the personality of a diseased lung.”
I recently attended a close relative’s wedding in Philadelphia. The ceremony was hipster-clad with string lights, bearded best men, and red wine-stained mason jars. It was beautiful, personal, and full of disturbingly well-dressed children. As I surreptitiously shoved six or seven pumpkin croissants into the inner pocket of the tweed blazer I forced my father to let me wear, I caught my aunt’s bewildered gaze. She came over, put her hand on my shoulder, and sighed in a way to let me know that if I could only give up my pastry-hoarding tendencies, all of this could be mine someday. A little blonde boy who looked like he had jumped out of a J. Crew catalogue began to gyrate/convulse/thrash dance while my aunt and every other female guest cooed, goo-ed, and then looked at me to follow suit. I could have made an “oo” sound, I could have clapped and cheered and set myself on fire because this little boy foaming at the mouth to the beat of Macklemore’s “Thrift Shop” was just “too cute”. Instead, I stole three more croissants, threw two in my mouth, and picked out the crumbs from inside my bra. I have no maternal instinct.
Now you may say to me, “Emma, just because you don’t want children at 21 years old, doesn’t mean you won’t want them when you’re 30.” Or you might go with the age-old, “Emma you might not like those children, but you’ll like your kid.” I have considered these appeals. I have imagined that ten years into the future, I will look at a child and my ovaries will swell with the love and adoration that my female friends seem to experience every time one walks by us on Thayer. But I know this will never be. When I see children, I just see squishy masses of jam-soaked fingers and their pathological predilection for eating glue.
I don’t want you to get the wrong idea. I want to like kids and I completely respect all of the hard work that mothers around the world put in to raise reasonably decent people. The fact that women can produce life is one of the more amazing things human beings can accomplish. I want to want to be a part of this womb sisterhood of womb people. But I don’t now and I don’t think I ever will. When I’m 30, and I’m at your wedding (I’m definitely invited), I won’t look down and rub my lower abdomen wishing it were full of life. I will look down and wish I could use it as extra storage for all of the croissants I couldn’t fit into my purse. I have no maternal instinct and I’m at peace with it. Babysitting inquiries can be emailed to Emma_Starr@brown.edu.
I notice it when the cartilage between my two knee bones hurts after a run. I notice it when I feel like I’m being condescending by nature and not by intentional bitchiness (okay, maybe it’s sometimes intentional). I notice it when I realize my metabolism has, to my great misfortune, begun to move at a glacial pace, and when I want that glass of wine because it goes nicely with the salmon and not because I can’t sit through a family dinner without turning up.
I have news for all of you: I am getting older. And there’s a big chance that you are, too, though I can only vouch for myself. On my journey forward through space and time towards the land of wrinkled frown lines and saggy boobs, I’ve discovered there are many ways in which we age that we are not forewarned about. Sure, the elders inform you about the deflation of your chestly womanhood, but there’s a bunch of stuff they don’t tell you about, too. I think this is unfair–there are signs of aging that need to be spoken of, that are not just centered in low self-esteem when it comes to your outer body, and I have decided to tell you about them. Every young woman deserves to know.
The first sign is when you don’t dread seeing your parents, siblings, and extended family when you go home. You also don’t dread the inevitable five pound weight gain that ensues over that three day weekend in suburbia, two days of which you will likely go braless and wear only stretchy clothes.
The second sign is that my phone never dies. Ever. It just doesn’t happen.
The third is that I enjoy waking up hungry for the following reasons: it means I didn’t have 2am pizza the night before and that I can enjoy a really pretentious Instagrammable brunch. Okay, so maybe the Insta part isn’t in line with aging, but the rest of it is. I’m ready to put my money where the mimosas are, and I’ll take that as a sign of maturity any day.
The fourth sign comes when I rummage through my bag and a tampon flies out into the air, completely defying gravity, and then lands like a small underage Chinese gymnast–very prominently, very noticeably, very gracefully–and a hush falls upon the crowd as I, with no shame, pick it up and put it back. Remember the days when you tucked your tampon into the belt of your jeans on your walk through the middle school hallways so that no one would see it? Yeah. No.
The fifth sign is that I can’t sleep off my hangovers. I wake up at 8am after a night of drinking–usually 8:03am, actually–because my bladder has exponentially weakened. And then I run to the bathroom to relieve myself and hear my mother’s voice in the back of my head: Your bladder’s already that bad? Good luck being pregnant.
The sixth sign is that I make an effort to only purchase things we call “nice essentials” rather than everything off the sale rack at Urban Outfitters. I told my mom about this change of heart, and she was like, “Um look at your debit card bill, just because you think you’re buying nicer things that are still from Urban Outfitters but just not on the sale rack still doesn’t mean that you need those nicer things–they are not essentials–but good try!!!”
The seventh sign is my discovery that I am neither a morning person nor am I a night person. I wake up early because I gotta do what I gotta do, and I stay up late if I have to, and none of the above are things I want to do, so that makes me a grown up. Grown ups don’t wanna do anything.
The eighth sign is in a similar vein: whenever I actually want to go to sleep, I cannot fall asleep.
The ninth sign is that I make an effort to wear nice pajamas and not just starchy rec. league t-shirts. Anything can constitute “nice pajamas” as long as it is soft and/or silky. So ex-boyfriends’ t-shirts? Fair game. I deserve to feel comfortable when I sleep. Why am I talking so much about sleep?
The tenth sign is that I’m much less jittery and not as likely to fall asleep during shavasana (the glorified nap at the end of yoga).
The eleventh, and perhaps most legitimate, sign that I’m becoming an adult is that I have the emergency credit card, but suddenly, not everything is an emergency anymore!!!! I’m actually spending my own money out of free will and fear of Jewish guilt.
Okay, so maybe I’m not getting older. Maybe I’m just getting more mature. That’s a good thing, though, because I don’t want to get older. But who knows? If I keep maturing, I may start. And if my boobs get saggy, they might look bigger, which isn’t the worst thing that could happen. I, like wine and cheese, will better with age.
It’s a Tuesday night. The rain is preventing you and your friends from doing much at all, and the last thing you want to do is make the trek to the library. So you have found yourself with a free minute before you go to bed. What to do? Perhaps you’ll crack that Dostoyevsky open, get ahead on your reading (side note: I just spelled “Dostoyevsky” correctly on the first try, I think I can just go ahead and graduate from college now). Maybe you’ll Skype your parents, convince them that you really are, in fact, getting your flu shot this week. Maybe you’ll get a head start on that problem set!
Just kidding. You’re totally just going to sext someone.
But how does one go about it? Do you wait for your boo to get the ball rolling? Do you surprise your recent hook-up with a scandalous photo? Do you just dive in, head first (lol)? The truth of the matter is that everyone sexts differently. It is largely a matter of what you and your partner are comfortable with. But below I have compiled a (quick) set of tips to keep handy when you’re feeling some sort of way (read: horny yet unwilling to leave your room and actually do anything).
DO: Acknowledge that it’s okay that you’re just not really a “sexting” person. The beauty of sexting is that you have complete control of just what you want to say, or just how little you want to say (read: nothing at all, if that’s what you feel most comfortable doing). No one’s making you do anything! You can hide behind your phone screen if you’re feeling bolder than you usually do in person, or “fall asleep, oops!” right when you start to feel uncomfortable or weird. Frankly, I am an extremely awkward person. But get me behind a phone, alone in my room? I’m a fox. And you can be, too!
DO: Be a little picky about who you’re going to send racy messages to. Got a long distance boyfriend? Yo, sext that dude! Been seeing a girl for a while, but she’s out of state, or at least out of the room? Sext it UP. Attracted to your TA, wondering whether they’re into it too? Yeah, go for it! SIKE. Do NOT do that. Especially if you’re unclear about how he/she feels. It’s probably not a good idea to get involved with your TA at all, but hey, do your thing I guess. If you send them an unwanted sext, all they’re going to see next time they grade a paper of yours is you in your skivvies. Weird. And I shouldn’t even have to tell you not to sext your professor. Why do you even have their phone number? Sexy emails are also out of the question. And incomprehensible. Seek help.
DON’T: Interrupt a racy conversation with something completely unrelated. The horny person on the other end does NOT care that you’re eating a crepe. They do NOT want to see the “totally cute” picture of your dog that your mom sent you. For that matter, they don’t want to hear about your mom! True story, I once interrupted a round of sexting to tell my boyfriend, “My mom and dad are in a tent in the backyard right now haha lol.” It wasn’t a good look. Don’t recommend it.
DO: Send a picture, if you’re comfortable with it! I recommend Snapchat for an evidence-free route. Visual aids: good for learning, GREAT for turning someone on. You can wear no clothes at all. You can wear a parka and snow pants, as long as you show off that nice smile of yours! But again, only do what you are COMFORTABLE WITH, not just what someone asks for. Frankly, it really turns me off when someone asks for a racy picture. That usually wins the classic response to a creepy person: a completely unrelated photo. If you want someone to leave you alone, a picture of your grandpa should do. Perhaps “It” the Clown? The vomit their message induced?
DON’T: Accidentally send a message to the wrong person. Once, my friend got a text from one of his other guy friends that read: “Hey, that ‘boob job’ thing we did last night was pretty fun ;)”. Don’t let that be you. Also, don’t be that guy who “accidentally” but completely on purpose sends a racy text to a person you’re into. No one falls for the “Oops, that wasn’t meant for you! But if it were… what would we be doing right now?” No one.