Stickers As a Social Good- "Fuck You, Revenge Sites" Edition

Vigilantes! Sometimes we need them to right wrongs that those cowards in law enforcement don't have time/competence/souls for! Sometimes vigilantes are just bitter or profit-seeking dick-mold that dedicate entire websites to outing women alleged to bed some other broad's piece requiring no evidence. To those vigilantes, I say "Fuck you, get the bubonic plague, and be convinced in a fever dream that the only cure is going down on the corpse of a tree sloth." On Voting Day, I was the bad bitch that I so often am and took not one but TWO "I Voted" stickers. Witness me with my contraband below:

IMG_0794 Now my plan was to sit out the next election, dust this sucker off and wear it again in two years. BUT THE FATES HAD DIFFERENT PLANS, AS THEY OFTEN DO.  I went on my morning run to Brighton Beach and on the train ride back to my abode saw that someone had put up some janky wanted poster featuring a woman's name, photograph, and several charming accusations against her.

 

 

Screen Shot 2014-11-28 at 8.49.24 PMFirst of all, you can be a slut, you can be a man stealer, or you can be a whore, but you cannot, I  repeat , YOU CANNOT be all three at once.  Sluts give it away for free, man stealers are ultimately girlfriends, and whores get paid for that shit so make up  your damn mind when you throw around your bullshit names.Also, know who wrecks homes? PEOPLE THAT LIVE INSIDE THEM SO QUIT BLAMING THE SIDE PIECE FOR THAT SHIT. I decided that this broad in the picture looked real nice and tried to take down the whole flyer but the MTA staff was creeping around hard so I had to quickly affix my sticker over her face so at least one fewer subway car will be adorned with her face in an attempt to humiliate someone that most likely didn't do anything wrong and some asshole is just pissed at her and throwing her face up on the subway like some deranged Regina George with a MetroCard and too much free time.

So I put my contraband sticker on her face and am hoping that the motherfucker that put up the signs in the first places sees it and maybe, just maybe realizes that there is a bitch army ready to use the power of  democracy novelty stickers for good against their stupid cheater-shaming websites and their budget metro flyers.

First Time for Everything: Guy on Tinder Restores My Faith in Humanity

So I know what you're thinking, did Harry Styles join Tinder? Did someone on Tinder send Alana a series of never-before-seen-nudes of Leonardo DiCaprio from the photo shoot where he wore the swan around his neck? Did someone make her a portrait of Keith with the gun emoji? What could POSSIBLY  make a sour misandrist like Alana be delighted by someone on Tinder? As many of you know, I have a love/hate relationship with dating apps and sites. I've met some really great people with them but I also encounter casual misogyny and egregious forms male entitlement both in online interactions and on dates.  There is an entire genre on Tumblr devoted to these experiences. Many a book deal has its origins with a message from some human garbage on OKCupid. Dating online, and dating in general, can be very disheartening for women.

So when I reopened my Tinder app after months of radio silence, I expected the standard sampling of bad come-ons littered with the occasional "Hey." But lo an behold, I stumbled across this:

Why so sad, little friend?

 

 

 

Anyone with a half a soul knows that lovelorn stuffed animals are the single saddest creatures in the world with the single exception of owls who have lost their graduation caps.  But this sad little Christmas frog named John has hope! He is looking for love! For adventure! He may be 1'3" but golly, has he got a big heart. Naturally, I chose to swipe right. Good joke dating account are hard to do and this dude was KILLING IT.

 

 

 

 

 

I mean, look at him. HE GOES ON LITTLE ADVENTURES IN A SUITCASE WEARING A RED RIDING HOOD:

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HE ENJOYS FINE SPIRITS WITH SIMILARLY MOROSE LITTLE FRIENDS:

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HE WON A MOTHERFUCKING EMMY:

image(10)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We matched! A LOVE STORY WAS ABOUT TO BEGIN!

Like any gentleman, he made the first move: "Thank you for matching with me! Have a Toadully Hoppy Day!" he said.  As someone who loves a good pun, I was smitten by this little fellow.

I replied: "This made me smile in an otherwise dark Tinder world, toad"

John the Toad then broke character and revealed himself as John the man (though who can know his real name, its a fake stuffed toad Tinder account). He wrote: "I saw tinder thru a female friends setup. Scared the crap out of...waayy too many creepy dudes. Thought this was more fun and would bring smiles! Glad I could make you smile!"

And that was the end of our short love affair, dear friends. And it is at this point in this blog post that I make a grand statement about being a woman and relating to men who want to understand and be sympathetic to what its like for us out there on the Internet, in the world, and trying to demonstrate that we're not crazy when we are jaded about our treatment by men.

A lot of dudes will write lengthy manifestos about HOW THEY TOTALLY GET IT and be horrified on our behalf. A lot of dudes will appropriate misandry in a solidarity that seems disingenuous. Others will do experiments where they go online as a woman for a week and report back to us that YEAH, YOU GALZ WERE RIGHT. It's like, "Thanks, we didn't need a man's confirmation that we experience extremely degrading things online. We already knew, dick cheese."

This dude just made a simple, funny little Tinder account that was meant to make people laugh in the middle of an often demoralizing online dating experience. It wasn't littered with sympathy for our plight or excessive put downs of creeps, just a reference to an experience and a little way of addressing it with humor.

After I said it made me smile, he didn't try to turn the engagement into a date with the real person behind the account. He was making girls laugh not as a way of getting in with them but because he thought that they deserved a break from the onslaught of crap they often receive in the space. And while maybe he just didn't engage further cause he doesn't think I'm a babe, I will remind you that I go on dates REGULARLY with Leonardo DiCaprio and exude angelic light at all times:

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New York's Got Problems, I've Got Solutions: Snakes in Make-Up Edition

Another day, another plot line ripped directly from the hellscape that is my brain during REM sleep and plopped into the local news! BEHOLD: A BUNCH OF FUCKING SNAKES FOUND ALIVE IN A BAG IN BOERUM HILL.  Now anyone with a lick of sense knows that there is only one instance in which snakes and bags go together:

Everything in it's proper order, you see.

But nooo, this was not a bag MADE of snakes, it was a bag FULL of snakes.  You know,  just the latest in a series of little gimmicks the stunt queens of the reptile world have thrown our way here in New York.  The sadistic writer of the Gothamist article  above was kind enough to link to a number of other incidents in which these legless motherfuckers make surprise appearances in the lives of innocent human beings and ruin their entire lives in so doing.

Fortunately for this fair city's residents,  there is a resourceful hero living among them.  That hero, of course, is me.  You see, I was reading an article this morning in The Economist that mentions that animal testing of cosmetics is mandatory in China.  I know you thought that the whole  Sucking-the-Bile-Out-of-Bear-Stomachs-for-Junk-Science-Reasons was the worst that emerging superpower could go in terms of its animal treatment record but no, they gotta put lipstick on 'em BY LAW too.  

Substance in image unconfirmed as bile.

However, the Chinese Food and Drug Administration has recently announced that they will begin lightening this restriction for certain cosmetics starting in June 2014.   I would like to suggest that before they begin to phase out animal testing, that we send every snake in America to China to have cosmetics tested on their sinister non-asses.   I propose to do for America what St. Patrick did for Ireland and look how well THAT country is doing? Lotion em up, give em some rouge, and shampoo the devil out of 'em all you want because they are serpenta non grata in these parts.

You look great, you harbinger of doom and author of The Fall of Man.

After their ordeal, they can be unceremoniously made into handbags or turned into jump ropes for forest foxes. 

A dramatization.

I don't care where they go really, I just want them gone.  In the words of Susan Sarandon and Natalie Portman, ANYWHERE BUT HERE. 

Natalie Portman does NOT approve this message.

 

 

The Problem is Not New York, The Problem is You (Alt Title: Is Your Name Joan Didion? No? THEN SIT DOWN.)

To my millions upon millions of fans outside of New York, you may not know all the details about the goings on in our fair city.  Fortunately hip insiders like me have this here information super highway where we can throw truth bombs out our Interweb car windows as if they were empty Slurpee cups or Marlboro Red butts (diet of champions, by the way).  So here is the scoop: living in New York is like, kind of hard and expensive. A city fit only for fat cats?

And here is a bonus scoop for people who left New York because of said difficulty and expense:  NO ONE CARES WHY YOU LEFT, STOP WRITING ABOUT THE  FAILURE OF YOU AND YOUR FRIENDS TO BECOME SUCCESSFUL CREATIVE TYPES WITHIN THREE YEARS OF ARRIVING.

So I aspire to the utter inscrutability,  genius wit,  and worrying thinness of  Joan Didion like any other hot-blooded American gal with a liberal arts degree.  But I know damn well that no one is ever going to even get even a tiny bit close to the devastating and poignant accuracy and insight of her own "peace-out, guys"  essay on leaving New York,  "Goodbye to All That." She hit the nail on the head like she was Simon Burch killing Ashley Judd's character with that baseball in the classic coming-of-age tale. We don't need any more of them.

ALL HAIL QUEEN J! PS-This photo appears when you image search "Joan Didion hot slut."

For the sake of brevity (though this is super-long for this blog), I am only focusing on this recent incarnation of the New York Goodbye Letter though a slew of them have appeared in the last few years and they come with varying levels of insight and writing talent.  But all of the self-exiled make the mistake of believing in a place that never existed.

New York's mythology has always relied on the impressionability of the transplant (which so many (LIKE ME!) in New York are) to believe that there was a time before their arrival when things were very very different, very very special. You know in Gladiator when Marcus Aurelius gets all serious-like and says, "There was once a dream that was Rome. You could only whisper it. Anything more than a whisper and it would vanish... it was so fragile. And I fear that it will not survive the winter"? If I had a dime for every time Patti Smith or David Byrne or the apparition of Andy Warhol whispered that shit in my ears on the train but about New York and not Rome, I could buy you one of those fancy seasonal beverages they sell at Starbuck's.

BUT REALLY, ARE YOU NOT?

But New York has actually always been brutal to the aspiring creative. And to the aspiring financier.  And to the aspiring marketing kid.  It is a basic function of competition among highly talented people combined with a sordid economic and political history that has made lots of the city's storied neighborhoods inevitable pockets of struggle for generations at a time while others flourished.

The thing is, this dream New York where all the bright-eyed, bushy-tailed creatives thrived and nurtured each other and made living wages never existed.  Some artists that made it big have charming anecdotes that they tell lightheartedly about not eating anything but peanut butter for weeks and living in criminal strongholds and working in butcher shops by day and writing or playing gigs by night. But those are actually horror stories because the physical reality of struggling and poverty and insecurity in New York (or anywhere) is terrifying.  It smells like corpses and feels like hunger pangs and if we're gonna be real for a second, is the standard experience of New York for the impoverished that live here because they have to, not because they want to publish the Great American novel.

Let's take a gander at some direct quotes.

When I was living in Brooklyn, I was paying $800 per month to split a three-bedroom with two other girls. We were living on the border of Lefferts Garden and Crown Heights, a quickly gentrifying neighborhood which, while it wasn't bad, wasn't exactly the bustling downtown area people expect when they hear 'New York City.'

The bone-chilling specter of Lefferts Gardens.

Please stand still so I can get a photo of you to send to the folks at Merriam Webster so you and your roommates can be featured next to the word "adversity." You mean to tell me that you didn't get a $400/month walk-through in the West Village upon your arrival?  IT'S LIKE MOGADISHU ALL OVER AGAIN.

The irony of the author being less than enthused to live in the Lefferts/Crown Heights zone is that such neighborhoods are the present-day equivalent in terms of amenities, creative undergrounds, etc as The Village and SoHo of years past.   Yesterday's Williamsburg is today's Ridgewood, Kensington has more hip cachet now than Brooklyn Heights (or so my 11218-dwelling ass likes to think) and Manhattan has been over forever.  The creative hubs of New York City don't simply evaporate into a fog of high-rents and gourmet bodegas.  They just migrate across major avenues and rivers, but they do not leave the city limits. When they do, they become something entirely less special and important.

It may sound trite, but the personal identity of many young people who come to the city to flourish creatively is slowly crushed by the reality of affording the lifestyle. Social identity theory outlines the way that humans self-identify with a group or organization that they feel reflects their values and attributes. The identity you apply to yourself, in the United States and especially in a place like New York City, is unfortunately but inevitably tied up in your money-making methods. I am a doctor, I am a journalist, I am a receptionist....In light of this, it's easy to feel like a failure if your job ("receptionist") does not match up with your ambition ("writer"). I often found myself feeling like an outcast because my job wasn't exciting, because I wasn't a "mover-and-shaker," because I wasn't fulfilling the role that many picture when they think of a "creative New Yorker" -- a role that has all but vanished here.

To that last point, just because you don't see something doesn't mean it isn't there.  Two years is hardly enough time to get to know a city intimately enough to conclude that such roles have vanished.  People who stick around know more than their fair share of these creative New Yorkers that are thriving.  Like these dorks that be hating on my alma mater.

Regarding that profession-as-social identification bit, I also know a good share of creatives that have experienced some level of high-brow or mainstream success that still babysit and clean apartments for the smarties that went into finance and technology in to make ends meet.  Again, it's a function of competition with ferocious talent and the fact that a lot of people who harvested their organs on a dare from Anna Wintour back in the day are the ones in positions to make or break your career and aren't just handing out staff writer positions because you went to college and got coffees for your boss at some internships.

Git it, girl.

I'm not advocating that everyone move to the mountains -- it's certainly not for everyone -- but I am hoping that young creatives everywhere can start to open their minds and consider other home bases. New York City had its creative heyday, but cities are constantly evolving entities; perhaps it's time to stake out some new real estate.

Well I'm glad you're not advocating that because:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_I8ucLNE5WM

But my GOD is the funeral for the creative heyday of New York  premature.  Huge swaths of this city have literally burned to the ground (sometimes multiple times!) and risen from the ashes more alive than before.  The astronomical rates for one bedrooms in the Lower East Side are unfortunate but they aren't making New York anything short of the thing that it has been since the olden days when Daniel Day-Lewis was running things like a gangsta, "the mysterious nexus of all love and money and power."

While I don't really identify with the "creative professional" type as much as I do the "cat lady who has a blog and some nice freelance jobs" type, I have done those "real" jobs she seems to scorn and stayed the course and have a modicum of success doing things I love here.   I also know a lot of people that were hungry enough to achieve legitimately impressive things in creative fields here without parental help, ins with management, or Carrie Bradshaw's real estate luck. So I feel compelled to say something kind of harsh:  it is not New York that failed to be what it was meant to be, it is you that did.

For those of you who are still here, I realize that writing a love letter to New York is arguably just as lame as writing a Goodbye Letter to New York considering how well it's already been done. So maybe instead of writing these little blogs, I should starting passing out copies of "Goodbye to All That" at the airports and bus stations and the school orientations to all the n00bs to the city.   I'd put a Post-It inside that says "This will break your heart," but leave them guessing if the note refers to the essay or the city itself.

I mean, the answer is "Both" but letting them know right when they get here is cheating.