All posts filed under: Culture

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5 Things I Wish I’d Said to the Men Who Grabbed and Groped

 It’s inevitable. Someone wrongs you, and then you think of the perfect response hours later. Here are some of the things I wish I had said to the numerous men who have flashed me, touched me and invaded my sexual space over the years: When I was maybe 10 years old, my little sister and I were walking home from the bus stop after school and our neighbor, an elderly Irish man, was outside of his home waiting for us. He was creepy and not all there mentally (knowing what I know now, I wonder if he had dementia or if he was drunk). Anyway, he had his penis out, and he was trying to masturbate as he was talking to us on the street corner. I didn’t quite grasp what was happening, but I knew we had to get out there. I never trick-o-treated at their house after that. To him I say: “Leave thy neighbor alone.” In middle school, my best friend and I were standing on the street outside our town’s main shopping mall …

Women in Midlife Share Memories of Sexual Assault

When we talked about doing an issue around sexual assault, there was a collective head nod. So many of us have experienced incidents in one form or another. Now in our 30s, 40s and beyond, we may have shrugged off the minor incidents, worked through the more egregious attacks with our shrinks or kept them locked up in a secret brain vault. But we’ve never, ever forgotten. We asked a few of our contributors to share their stories — reading them we find a common theme of confusion and shame that lingers. Collected here, these vignettes remind us we’re not alone and that there’s power in sharing.   Il Bastardo I’m 20 years old in Europe traveling with a girlfriend over the summer. We’re in Pisa, having pizza at a cafe after the requisite tower viewing. My friend is an extrovert; I’m an introvert. At the cafe, she’s talking and laughing with our waiter. She even asks him for a cigarette. This mortifies me, but I can’t tell if it’s because it seems potentially dangerous …

Spared From Assault: Did My Mom Teach Me or Am I Just Lucky?

I don’t have a sexual assault story to tell. I wasn’t raped, attacked, groped by a stranger, pressured into sex, molested as a child. I did have a male camp counselor tell me I’d be beautiful when I grew up and hug me close one time. I proudly introduced him to my mom! There was also the exposure to a vibrator via a clueless girlfriend of my dad’s: “Oh, it’s like a massage machine. Here’s how it works!” It felt great. I was five; I couldn’t figure out why my dad wigged. I saw guys in parks with their things out. In college, there was a peeping Tom outside our house who got caught. As a teen and young woman, I had encounters that could have gone badly but my male partners respected “no,” or maybe I said “yes” at the right times. Overall, I had luck on my side. Many — most — of my female friends didn’t. The million women who tweeted Kelly Oxford their sexual assault stories in the course of one …

We Can Be Friends Without Being Facebook Friends

At least once a week, I invariably have a conversation that goes like this: My friend: “Jamie is so annoying! She won’t stop posting pseudo-science articles about how coconuts cure cancer. And then she liked all my vacation photos from three years ago. Who does that?” Me: “Just unfriend her.” My friend: “I can’t do that! It’ll hurt her feelings!” I really don’t understand all the tiptoeing around Facebook friendships. Don’t get me wrong, I love Facebook. As a native Philadelphian transplanted to the suburban wilds of Connecticut, Facebook lets me easily keep in touch with my nearest and dearest at a time in my life when my closest family member is a four-hour drive away. I don’t have to miss anyone’s kids growing up, and I can easily arrange dinner, drinks and karaoke when I’m back in town for a visit. But I’ve found that people put up with an amazing amount of BS in the name of Facebook “friends.” [pullquote]As Roger Murtaugh said in Lethal Weapon, “I’m too old for this shit.”[/pullquote] A …

Welcome to the Smelliest Time of Year

I love fall. It’s my favorite season. And I know what I’m talking about: I grew up in New England and live in Upstate New York, which makes me a bona fide autumnal expert. It is the most glorious time of the year around these parts. It’s also, unfortunately, the most intensely scented. I’m not talking about the natural scents of sweet ripe apples waiting to be picked or smoky leaves crunching underfoot. I’m talking about the olfactory assault of artificial fragrance that fills pretty much every public space from September through November. Normally I avoid stores that specialize in home fragrance or perfumed lotions, but this time of year, the scents spill over their normal boundaries and I have to steer clear of entire wings of the mall. Craft stores display fragranced candles and incense at the front end; bookstores sell autumn potpourri on racks near the checkout. Even my local grocery store has a display of seasonally scented wreaths by the entrance. And the most pervasive seasonal scent of all is Pumpkin Spice. …

Boys Will Be Boys — If We Say So

When I was kid, I lived in a suburban neighborhood, down the street from a boy in my class. He was an athlete, crude and a bit rowdy — the kind of kid who gets his name written on the chalkboard. Though we went on to become friends in high school, we weren’t close as kids. My family has a tradition of carving pumpkins for Halloween, and I remember this one year in grade school, my younger sister and I were particularly proud of our little jack-o-lanterns. My mom placed them on the steps in front of our house with candles inside, and as we trick-or-treated around the neighborhood with friends, we couldn’t wait to walk by our house later to show them our pumpkins. But when my sister and I returned home, the glowing faces of our jack-o-lanterns were nowhere to be found. Instead, the splattered remains of our pumpkins were strewn across the sidewalk and the street. Someone had kicked them off the stairs and stomped them to pieces. There had always been rumors about …

Jennifer Saunders as "Edina" and Joanna Lumley as "Patsy"

Here’s to an AbFab Evening — And Bloody Good Mates

Every time I dabble in the “now” of fashion (which is usually a retread of the “then” of fashion) — gaucho pants, massive Jackie O’s, chartreuse tights, orange lipstick — I wrinkle my nose in the mirror and think, am I an Edina? That would be Edina Monsoon, the hilariously oblivious character from the British tv series Absolutely Fabulous. Edina, or Eddy, tenuously “works” as a PR rep and sports the most techni-crazy mash-ups of trendy items — and often wearing form-fitting, lycra-esque pants and avant-garde hats. Like Eddy I am at the age where I’m supposed to settle into weekend khakis and clogs, but of course wouldn’t dare dahling. Well at least not all the time. I, too, have my neurotic moments: Can I pull this off lovey? A little more botox in the brow? This past Tuesday night (natch), TueNight was invited to a screening of the brand new Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie. Creator and writer Jennifer Saunders (Edina) and Joanna Lumley (Patsy) reprise their roles as the sex, drugs and injectable-addled fashionistas of …

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10 Books To Have an Affair with This Summer

Choosing books that represent “Fling” is a challenge due to the word’s definition. A “fling,” after all, is “a short period of enjoyment or wild behavior.” Many novels about sexual side stories focus instead on affairs because they last longer and often morph into difficult and tragic tales. That’s the case with the titles on this list — but each of them includes enjoyment and wild behavior, too. Any — or, better yet, several — of these will add fun and a little scorch to your vacation reading. Among them: A women bent on revenge who also has a taste for orgies, a secret affair by the sea, lovers with a connection to the real Casablanca, and a sort of Sliding Doors fantasy about love’s possibilities. 1. If you’re hooked on scandi-crime: All In by Simona Ahrnstedt You may not have thought a novel about “Sweden’s financial elite” would make its way to the top of your to-be-read pile, but look out — Ahrnstedt’s U.S. debut is smart and smoldering, using an affair between cutthroat …

How Flying on a Trapeze Helped Me Defy My Age

I twist and turn my way up four sets of metal stairs. Breathless, I finally reach the roof. The sun hits my eyes, obscuring the blue sky momentarily. When my eyes adjust I see a man swinging back and forth from a narrow bar, the skyline of New York in the background. Muscular legs wrap around the bar, his arms and shoulder-length blonde hair hanging free. Finally I spy the sign: Trapeze School New York. I stand next to my boyfriend. He is 29. I am turning 45. Today. When I told him I wanted to go on the trapeze for my birthday, I thought he’d pick me up afterward and take me to dinner. Instead, he wanted to come. Reluctantly, I let him. We’d already talked children (I’m too old, neither of us are interested) and managed late-night concerts (I went home at midnight, he at dawn). And yet, I was still afraid he didn’t realize what my age really meant. That I was at risk for osteoporosis and a host of older-age ailments. That …

The 3 Things You Need to Be a Vanner

Our vacation home has four wheels. And no bathroom. It’s not all that nice to look at. There’s not a lot in the way of furniture. But we have had some of the best times of our relationship in it. And we are just one couple of many. We call ourselves “Vanners.” Though local events started cropping up in the decade prior, the first National Truck-In was held in 1973, bringing together members of the custom-van subculture — a crew that would hold together through schism, aging, tragedy, astronomical gas prices and countless rounds of Bucket (a devastatingly yummy alcoholic brew passed around in a wooden bucket for all to drink; that’s the short explanation, anyway). For the past six years, my fiancé and I have fought our demanding schedules in Brooklyn so we can get away from city life and hang out with these rebellious, warm-hearted, frequently intoxicated friends, soaking up as much of their attitude as possible. [pullquote]Yes, we’re camping with electricity supplied by the fairground. How else am I going to ingratiate …

Bad Street Food Nearly Killed Me Until Celine Dion Saved My Life

So this is how I die: assassination by brunch. Murder by poop. Wrung dry yet drenched in sweat. Alone. Cheek pressed against the cool tile floor. Whoever finds me won’t know who I am. I carry no identification. At the moment, I’m not even wearing pants. I miss my parents. I don’t want to die here. I want to hug my best friend. I want to see Nebraska again. I want to have sex again. (But maybe not in Nebraska.) Hours pass. I try to stand but can’t. With my fingertip, I seek my pulse. Still alive. I check my watch and calculate the hours until my bus leaves. The bus that will take me to a city, to an airport. Home. I am not going to make it, I tell myself. I’m not sure I’ll even make it out of this room. This is how I die. And then she comes to me. Hazy at first, a swirl of colors before my eyes. Soon enough, I can make out her angular face, the little …

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Arianna Huffington, a Cyborg and a Bag of Chia Seeds: Or, How I Spent a Perfect Sunday in a Painfully Long Mattress Ad

April 17, 2016 was one of the finest New York Sundays in recorded history. A Sunday so glorious it could’ve actually been God’s very own birthday. The real-life manifestation of “A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte.” Or maybe L.A. had Airbnb-ed New York City for the day, and this was its way of saying thanks. A day lit so artfully Spike Jonze could’ve eBayed his camera equipment and retired forever. The kind of day that launched a thousand High Line Instagrams with hashtag #nofilter. However, I was not at the High Line. Instead, I was indoors at Casper’s’s first “Sleep Symposium.” Casper, the e-commerce company that will ship you a mattress that comes folded in half in a cardboard box. TueNight had asked if I’d cover the event for their “Sleep” issue. Now, why did I answer “sure, why not” as opposed to making up some bullshit excuse? I have no clue. It was pretty out of character considering I’m EXTREMELY lazy, and I like to spend my Sundays in almost complete monastic silence at …

Sleeping Your Way Around The World — No, Really

I used to think traveling for work would be an amazing benefit, collecting miles and points for my personal use later on. While living in San Francisco, I even took a job with a company partially because it boasted offices in 31 cities across 16 countries, and lured me with project collaborations in Paris and Rome. I never travelled further than Palo Alto. Eventually, I moved back to New York and was hired by a company that wanted me to travel quite a bit. That was when I learned a hard truth: work travel is nothing like vacation. It’s more like a series of redeyes to minimize hotel expenses, and thus, sleep. I’ve arrived at many meetings and conferences feeling like one of the faceless cast members of the The Walking Dead. But I’ve also learned that while there’s no substitute for a comfortable bed in a dark, quiet place, there are some tricks and tools that can help you sleep just about anywhere. 1. Pack for Comfort Remember when all airplanes and all the …

How Prince Brought Unlikely Music Fans Together – and Turned Us Purple

The world turned purple when Prince died. Civic buildings and bridges in his Minneapolis home town and around the world were awash in his signature color. On Saturday night, heading out of San Francisco south on highway 280, with Sirius XM’s Prince tribute channel on the radio, we passed a suburban mall’s roadside message board flashing Prince’s glyph, the control tower and international terminal of San Francisco International Airport glowing purple ahead of us in the distance. As a fragmented society, we agree on so little, culturally. But we agree on Prince. And we agree on how to celebrate him. By allying himself so inextricably with a color (and, later, a symbol — turns out, he was a branding genius), Prince left us with a natural way to express our grief and love for him in the public space, writ large and without words. It may feel like no artist’s passing has ever been so publicly and universally mourned , but that’s not entirely true. When John Lennon was murdered in 1980, the shock of it …

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I Rarely Play Any Prince Songs. So Why Am I Crying?

The day of Prince’s death, I, like you and everyone you know, was distraught. For hours, my despair was haughty and demonstrative. But late last Thursday night, there was a pause in my grief. It came around 11 p.m., which is just about the time that my aunt said this: “But I never hear you play any Prince songs….” Her voice trailed off, stopping short of a direct accusation. But the implication had been cast, and it was damning enough to stop my mourning in its tracks. Was I not enough of a hardcore Prince fan to be in such hardcore distress? In the wake of a famous musician’s death, the only thing worse than being outed as a non-fan is being outed as a semi-fan acting like a fanatic. I know diehard Prince fans. Fans who go to the annual Prince vs. Michael Jackson Soul Slam dance parties. Fans whose homes are decorated with lithographs en homage to the purple one. Fans who can tell you every member of every one of Prince’s offshoot …

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What’s Inside That Vault at Paisley Park?

In 2006, I walked through the front door of Paisley Park for arguably one of the un-coolest reasons ever: as a member of a team filming self-help videos for AOL. That’s because in addition to being the Purple One’s lair, Paisley Park is a production studio for hire. I wasn’t there to record soul tracks, but to tape a segment with the author of “Chicken Soup for the Soul.” I expected the 65,000-square foot facility to resemble a Wonka-esque factory, but the outside looked more like a shiny white office park. In the wake of Prince’s death, his inner circle is undoubtedly debating the facility’s future, including turning it into a museum. Ten years ago, parts of the inside already seemed like a shrine. Off the lobby was a hallway with a timeline of Prince’s major accomplishments, featuring larger-than-life images of his bikini-bottom Controversy years and jazzy period when he put on more clothes and dropped from pop culture consciousness. The car grill from the cover of Sign ‘O’ The Times was hanging in the …

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Prince Gave Me a Condition of the Heart

In the mid-‘80s, when I’d get home from school, my parents were still at work. Sometimes I’d eat cereal and watch TV or get on the phone with friends. But very often I’d pull out Prince’s 1999 and play “D.M.S.R.” on the family turntable and dance across the dark brown wall-to-wall carpet in my living room, using the staircase landing as a stage. I gave Purple Rain its due, too. I mean, it was the ‘80s; who didn’t? But “D.M.S.R.” was my jam, and I played it over and over and one more time after that. I only danced in my living room when I was alone, not because I was shy — I love dancing, and I’m good at it — but because it was like a meditation that I didn’t know I was doing. It was me creating a space where I could be my authentic self and let it all out, long before I could put words to what I was doing. My parents were music lovers who bought records all the time, …

Interview: Artist Raven Schlossberg on Women’s Bodies, Kicking Ass (NSFW)

Raven Schlossberg’s world is a psychedelic, technicolor utopia of sexual symbols — think The Garden of Eden on acid — with woman as subject and object both.  The collage artist, born in Paradise, California in 1973,  has been exhibiting her paintings for over 20 years, with solo exhibitions in New York, Dallas, Berlin, Frankfurt, Bonn, Konstanz, Basel and Paris. I first saw her work in an exclusive gallery in the Chelsea neighborhood of Manhattan, children in tow, and found myself knocked out by their loopy genius. My daughters, as well, were mesmerized. Raven was kind enough to talk to us about her work: what inspires her, what it means to her, and in keeping with this week’s theme, whether her own work makes her blush.   Your images of naked (or semi-naked) women in your artwork are consistent — what do they represent to you? First of all, I absolutely love the female form. I love its beauty, mystery and power. In my work, I celebrate the eroticism and dynamism of the female body, often nude or semi-nude as part …

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Policing My Mouth: On the Art of Self-Censorship

My second grade teacher, the truculent Mrs. Dunham, masking-taped my mouth shut. She pulled the shrieking roll of tape all the way around my head thrice in front of the entire class. My crime? Announcing in the middle of math drills that the Bookmobile was circling and circling the parking lot because its regular spot was blocked and it had nowhere to park. My classmates’ faces silently told me they were on my side and that I had shared news they needed immediately. What would the driver do? Why was that truck in the Bookmobile spot? It was almost Bookmobile time, so time was of the essence! Someone needed to go do something before the Bookmobile drove away! Mrs. Dunham didn’t want to do anything except punish me for talking. Again. So while the Bookmobile looped like a man without a country, the class beheld the new spectacle of me called to the front of the class while Mrs. Dunham attempted censorship via brown tape. Around it went, sticking to my hair but not truly …

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I Read Banned Books and Hope You Do, Too

When you think of the word “censorship,” what comes to mind? You might imagine a black bar over an image, a political speech, perhaps something sexually explicit. But you probably won’t think about a young Iranian girl, a sensitive teenaged boy or a character created by one of our country’s most revered authors. All of those — and many, many others — have been and are on lists of the most frequently banned books of the past. . .year. That’s right. Not past century or decade but just this past year. Even in modern society, we’ve made so little progress on some fronts that literature of great merit continues to be banned in some classrooms due to “controversial” topics. (The phrase “controversial subject matter” is actually used by more than one book-banning group to describe a volume on this list.) Banned books change with the times. Once, these titles were the most frequently challenged; in 2015, the five below have hit nerves. Notice that almost all of the books on the “older” list are now …

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Life Lessons from Going Balls Deep in Bangkok

I am a hypocrite. A hypocrite holding a ping-pong paddle. On this night, the ping-pong paddle has just hit a ping-pong ball that is coming directly at me, as ping-pong balls do. But it is the ping-pong ball’s provenance that concerns me: It has just been launched from inside the vagina of a visibly bored, thirty-something Thai woman sitting spread-eagle on a dingy stage. For over a year, I have lived in Bangkok as an “expat,” a term I dislike intensely. I am, no escaping it, white privilege embodied. But I have tried to encounter the culture in which I now live on its own terms — terms of respect and deference, with an eye toward understanding the world better and being a worthy representative of my country in a far-off place. Curiosity has gotten the better of me, though. I want to understand the famously forbidden parts of the city I currently call home. And that curiosity has brought me to Patpong, a part of central Bangkok that is perhaps the most scarlet of …

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More (and More) Go Gentle Into That Good Night

Another one bites the dust. The recent announcement that More would cease publication was just the latest blow to loyal magazine fans who still enjoy flipping through their favorite glossies. The women’s lifestyle magazine, which aimed at older, affluent “women of style and substance with articles on style, health, work, spirituality and relationships,” garnered both publicity and favor by featuring celebs ages 40 and up, including cover stars Diane Lane, Rachel Weiz and Jennifer Connelly. In 2002, Jamie Lee Curtis made news by appearing on the cover in only a sports bra and underwear, minus makeup or photoshopping. The magazine aimed to go more upscale and a little younger in the past year – Katie Holmes, a mere 37, ditched her makeup for the February cover – but the move failed to nab advertisers. Publisher Meredith Corporation forced it into early retirement after nearly 19 years of publication, making it the first magazine casualty of 2016; the last issue will appear this April. And with up to 15 reported layoffs in November, some predict that …

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20 Years Later: Reflections on JonBenét

On Christmas Day 1996, a little girl named JonBenét Ramsey was murdered in Boulder, Colorado. Any murder is horrific, especially that of a child, but this crime was particularly shocking, generating massive attention from the media and the public. The nation was mesmerized by the case with its unending supply of lurid plot lines. There was the angelic yet weirdly sexualized victim, whose beauty pageant photos featured teased hair, a full face of makeup and a flirty smile. There was duct tape and a knotted nylon cord and whiffs of jealousy, incest and revenge. And there were more theories on whodunit than an Agatha Christie mystery. I love puzzles and this one was a killer. It had solid leads and red herrings and just enough clues to implicate and exonerate every potential suspect. Just one of countless such clues: Before JonBenét’s body was found, her mother contacted the police, saying her daughter was missing and she had found a ransom note in the house demanding $118,000 – the very same amount that JonBenét’s father, John, …

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28 Supremely Good TV Shows to Stream Right Now (You’re Welcome)

I live in New York and love going out here. But lately, my sofa beckons and my boots face stiff competition from my slippers as dozens of engaging TV shows become available through streaming. Here are some of my favorite reasons to stay home: 14 Comedies (most of these shows run 23 – 30 minutes) 1. Master of None (produced by and streaming on Netflix). The set up is familiar: The show’s creator  ̶ in this case, Aziz Ansari  ̶ plays  plays a comedic version of himself. But everything else about “Master of None” is fresh. Funny, sharp-edged stories take on modern issues of racism, sexism, relationships and adulting. The show is generous toward its characters, and the “Parents” episode is an instant classic. Cinematic filming, to boot. 2. Catastrophe (produced by UK Channel 4; season 1 streaming on Amazon, season 2 not yet available in the US). Boston businessman (Rob Delaney) and London schoolteacher (Sharon Horgan) have a two-night stand in London, and she gets pregnant. The characters are both about 40, so the sane …

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Face Off: Jessica Jones vs. The Man in the High Castle

Netflix is trying to kill me. Releasing an entire season of TV all at once sounds great on paper. You don’t have to wait week after week for the next episode. You can see it all in a row, as a long story, rather than be tortured by trying to figure out what’s going to happen next. Fact is, I’ve caught up on many shows doing the binge watch – Alias, Supernatural, Game of Thrones.  If you didn’t get on board in the first season, you can still catch up to everyone else and be part of the cultural conversation. I’ve also binge-watched some old favorites. I re-watched the entire Battlestar Galactica series one winter, staying up until the wee hours and getting annoyed at Netflix when it would ask me if I was still watching. “OF COURSE I’M STILL WATCHING; IT’S BATTLESTAR!” I’d exclaim at the TV. If TVs could be startled, mine would have been. It all came crumbling down around me on November 20th when Netflix dropped season one of Jessica Jones …

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My Year of Streaming Dangerously

After years of pushing my night owl habit to unhealthy limits, I committed to sleeping a solid eight hours every night. It quickly turned into the most well-rested year of my adult life. Then I got a Roku. I wasn’t a binge-watcher at the time. All I wanted was the ability to keep up with the shows I heard my friends and the internet go on about. I didn’t feel like a pop culture writer who had never seen True Detective or Breaking Bad could call herself legit. I also wanted to revisit Friday Night Lights. Plus, House of Cards was about to begin, and I needed to watch Orange is the New Black. I did not want to watch any of this on my computer. I work on the Internet; I already spend many hours every day staring at a smallish screen, and I didn’t want to move my TV-watching habits there too. I wanted to watch actual shows on actual television from my actual couch. With one cable, the tiny Roku connected my …

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Bernie To Bed, Hillary To Wed

Picture this: Six friends having a mid-January, post-New-Year’s “how was your break” breakfast. We are a group of women ranging in age from mid-30s to early-50s, with jobs in advertising, media, law, medicine and publishing. We are all feminists, all mothers and, I was thrilled to discover as the conversation rolled around to the Presidential election, all firmly on Team Hillary. And yet… “She has a likability problem,” said one. “She doesn’t have the charisma that Bill or Barack have,” said another. “Her campaign messages just aren’t as exciting as #feelthebern is.” “If Bill’s Teflon, then she’s Velcro. Nothing sticks to him, and everything sticks to her.” Here we were, firmly in Hillary’s corner and yet worrying that she’s not likable enough? That she’s not charming enough. What could be more exciting than the prospect of electing the first female President of the United States? Were we being typical, apathetic Gen Xers? It felt like déjà vu, 2008 all over again — only worse this time. It’s been a pretty disheartening few weeks for those of …

What It Really Feels Like To Be 25 in 2016

Before you get swept up in the nostalgia of your own quarter-life crisis (crap bosses, three roommates, teeny tiny apartment, bottle service clubs, falafel at 4 a.m., hot dates), there are some women I want you to meet. These girls are living the 2016 version, where hookups are negotiated on Tinder, the boss is just as likely to be a girl who graduated a year ahead and likes using her newfound power to make you feel small and there’s not a single boozy brunch that isn’t documented on Instagram to elicit FOMO among all your followers. So while you’ve been there, there are a few things that 25(ish)-year-olds want to clear up for the older generation about what their lives are really like. It’s Sorta Lonely “On a recent, teary phone call with my mom about feeling stuck at work, I said, ‘I need to let myself cry about this, and when I’m done crying, I need someone to pick me up and help me figure out what to do. But I don’t know who …

A “Young American” Remembers David Bowie

Bowie was my everything music – the alpha and omega. He was the artist who singlehandedly turned me on to sound. So when he passed yesterday, I was demolished. In his last album Blackstar, Bowie continued to tweak musical boundaries, creating a bleaker version of himself — a Major Tom still in outer space.  In hindsight, his customarily freaky and brilliant videos clearly hint at his coming demise. I wrote a little something a few years ago for my friend Nancy Davis Kho’s Midlife Mixtape site about one of my favorite Bowie albums that was still in heavy rotation — Young Americans. On the occasion of his passing, I thought I’d share that here. I’ll miss you David. Gone but never, ever forgotten — your legacy lives on in every musician and fan. ** As an 8-year-old in mid ‘70s Philadelphia, I’d rise most school days to the snap and crackle of WFIL-AM, and the Bay City Rollers, Starland Vocal Band or Hot Chocolate imploring me to get up, “you sexy thing.” Whatever that meant. (I also used to sing, “Voulez vous couchez avec …

Aaliyah, J-Love and Britney: My 20s Pop Culture Education

“When you grow up, your heart dies.” When I first heard mop-topped goth girl Alison Reynolds utter this dismal pronouncement in John Hughes’ 1985 now-classic The Breakfast Club, it sent shivers down my spine. Like her, I was a teenager at the time and imagining myself in college — forget about later on, as part of the work force — was enough to make me break out in zits. But the idea of spending the subsequent 75 years or so wandering the earth as a bored, numb, jaded adult? That was downright terrifying. Today, at 44 (an age my teen self couldn’t fathom; back then, I thought 30 was ancient), I can honestly say I’m almost as unjaded, wide-eyed and goofy — not to mention, passionate about my obsessions — as I was as a teen, and I have my 25-year-old self to thank for it. That’s how old I was when I hit my stride as a teen magazine editor. I knew I’d wanted to be a journalist since age 11, but “teen magazine …