Monday, February 13, 2017

one year closer to the grave!

ugh today is my 37th motherfucking birthday. WHAT A NIGHTMARE. first of all, what am i supposed to do while people sing happy birthday over the cake i'm about to spit all over trying to blow out the trick candles someone who obviously doesn't know me that well decided to put on the cake i can't eat because i'm trying not to eat sugar. second, after 30 birthdays don't really matter until you get to 40, and even that's mostly boring. then if you can hang on until 50 (ugh why) you get a parade or something. since no one is throwing confetti in my face i'm instead watching old episodes of svu while making a mental list of all the celebrity appearances from when they were less famous. (currently: sara ramirez as the sassy prostitute lisa perez, season 4, episode 1)

some asshole friend of mine thought it would be hilarious to email me an article called something like "5,729 things you should know how to do by age 40" and LOL FOREVER AT LEARNING NEW THINGS. i'm just a moist skin dumpster filled with latent rage and useless night court trivia, and i'm basically the same person i was 37 years ago except with worse credit and a persistent headache. anyway, i couldn't even take that list seriously because the first thing on it was some garbage like "learn how not to embarrass yourself at karaoke" and, like, my mans? that is never going to happen. what 40 year old gives a shit about being embarrassed!? (you thought i was going to say karaoke, and you're right: i was.) 

it's too late for me to go back to college. it makes me uncomfortable to learn new things, mostly because i have no idea where to put anything in my brain anymore. every new thing in pushes an old thing right out, so i can either 1 learn what space weather is and how it might actually affect my life on this planet or 2 remember how to tie my shoes. and i know that positive people are always saying "it's never too late!" about shit like finding out what "dabbing" means and enrolling in a community college you can actually write a check for (because you have a job, duh, AND ACTUAL CHECKS) and i'm proud of you for doing it but that's not gonna be me. young people are very loud, and i was already 20 when some of them were born: as much as i'd like to fold up my walker and squint at the board from the back of a culture studies class i'm just not gonna. but what i can do is rely on internet quizzes and checklists as a barometer for how well i'm doing as i shuffle off this mortal coil. i picked these things off the list at random to examine my emotional preparation as i progress on this endless march toward the grave.

how to make conversation at parties. i'm trash at this and i'll tell you why: too busy hovering near the snacks. just kidding, eating in front of strangers is weird. at parties i like to find one person i know and linger awkwardly near his side until enough time has elapsed that i can leave without insulting whoever spent their afternoon dusting the ceiling fan and arranging pre-cut vegetables. what can you even talk to strangers about anyway? i like to lock eyes with someone as our fingertips brush against each other while digging through the gas station ice cubes in the beer bucket and say, "the 2mg lorazepam is working so much better for me than the 1mg, what do you take?" but most people don't enjoy discussing their anxiety in mixed company as much as i do? but what the fuck else am i gonna say, politics is a minefield of nazi bombs and no one else is as emotionally invested in jane the virgin as i am so what on earth are kevin and i gonna talk about!? i don't know shit about cars and he isn't up to date on the new ben & jerry's flavors coming out so i'll just be in the coat room trying to coax the cat out from under the bed until everyone else goes home and i can eat what's left of the hummus in private.

how to end a friendship. JUST GHOST. i mean, right? i know that's supposed to be some millennial shit but what the fuck are we old people expected to do, handwrite a goddamn breakup letter!? never answering your phone is a lifesaving social tool, and now that technology has given us the blessed ability to block callers you don't even have to suffer through seeing their text messages for however long it takes to "clear all." block a hoe from your facebooks and tweets then create a gmail filter to dump his messages in your virtual trash and POOF, he never existed. i only need, like, three actual friends anyway and maybe it's cowardly but man, so what? "honor" and "bravery" are medieval terms that should not apply to that woman who won't stop trying to facetime you even though you said "i don't think we're gonna work out" after she sex-cried that one time. 


how to look polished. i am lumbering slowly toward the big 4-0 at just the right historical time: "ATHLEISURE" IS THE CURRENT WAY TO PRETEND YOUR DAYTIME PAJAMAS ARE ACTUALLY STYLISH AND EVERYONE IS DOING IT. it's a goddamn miracle, flipping open the latest issue of glamour every month to find top models draped in my old duvet cover and calling it fashion. i've been waiting for a long ass time for the clothing gods to finally catch up with my preferred style of dress and please know that this past saturday when i handed over my secured visa card in exchange for an outdoor robe with a hood and actual pockets a single tear rolled down my cheek just like denzel's. so many soft pants that are made to be worn in public! so much supersoft sweatshirt material fashioned into something you could actually wear to work! i've got so many sporty fucking jackets and i haven't picked up a ball since 1997.

how to let go of anger. don't! hang on to it! let it sit in the pit of your stomach like a cool lake of hatred into which you can take a refreshing dip every time you find yourself smiling at someone's vacation photos or newborn dog! let it keep you warm at night when the absence of joy leaves you cold! TEND TO YOUR LITTLE GARDEN OF HATE UNTIL IT KILLS YOU.


buy this for someone creeping ever closer to middle age.

Friday, February 10, 2017

how i distract myself from all this wild ass shit on the news.

if this is the end of days then fuck it that's fine. what are you trying to stay alive for anyway, the last installment of game of thrones? hamilton tickets to become affordable? to see whether or not that smug bitch you hate at work really sticks with whole 30 this time!? well not me. bring on the meteor or the horsemen or whatever it is that signifies this civilization's bitter end. i was in an airport bathroom the other day trying to hit on a congressman and i overheard this woman detailing her elaborate plans to outlive this administration and i was like LOLWHY. okay sure, i wanna read the new saunders novel and hide behind my scarf for 3/4 of the movie "get out" too, but not badly enough to try to brave this oncoming civil war. i've done as much cool shit as a person could reasonably hope to do, right? i just want to lie down in the street and give up, right after i finish watching that OJ american crime story bc it just came out on netflix and it looks good as hell.

everything is just so fucking embarrassing. and i am just one regular-ass, didn't pay enough attention in us history-ass, powerless-ass human too terrified of her own shadow to be outside for any given length of time, so how can i possibly be of use in a way that helps somebody? i could write postcards and send hate mail to congress but come on now, WHO THE FUCK HAS A FAX MACHINE ANYMORE. so i got bored with the idea of being helpful and busied myself with fortifying our panic room for when they kick down the door to take us to the gay camps. but mavis grew up in a two parent caucasian home with people who instilled in her this need to, um, "give back" or whatever they call it? so my pleas of "i grew up on section eight, so do i really gotta help?" were answered with a resounding "YES YOU DO" and we went through background checks and financial audits and cervical exams (i mean, basically?) so we could invite refugee families into our home and feed them our bland, uninteresting american cuisine. it's the least we can do.

have you ever tried to explain american food to a person who isn't used to eating it without sounding like a bumbling moron? these poor people didn't escape a brutal dictatorship followed by two years of extreme vetting to get all the way to america and listen to me try to talk about the paleo diet while sounding like a total fucking asshole. i'm over here handing homeboy a glass of crystal light like "how do you say powdered sugar-free diet iced tea substitute in arabic, qasim?" while each of us simultaneously dies inside from humiliation. but this is a thing i can do, a thing that feels good in our increasingly nightmarish reality. i can buy shopping bags full of school supplies for detroit children, i can drive 20 cases of clean water to give to babies in flint, and i can grind what's left of my teeth into shame stumps trying to explain why we're serving a young man who just wanted to come here to get a math degree spiralized zucchini "pasta."

the hardest thing about the country being so fucked up is that i didn't understand half the shit that was happening even when it was goddamn regular. to this day, i still can't tell you what exactly "benghazi" is. idk what mitch mcconnell does, i'm not a hundred percent sure how a bill becomes a law, and i couldn't even begin to tell you what an interest rate is and whether or not it can affect me. sure i guess i'm ignorant? but i'm also part of that class of people who just throws up their hands like "no matter what the fuck happens, bitch, i'ma have to get up and go to work anyway." i did not stay in college long enough for it to get expensive, and while it's amazing not to be digging myself out from under the crushing weight of student loans, it also kind of means that i don't read much beyond the first couple pages of the newspaper. i don't got no kids, so i don't know shit about the school board. mavis tried to explain gerrymandering to me and ten minutes later i was like "wait what now?" i like to watch political shows because i enjoy looking at men in suits and chris hayes is very reassuring to me, but yeah i either 1 hang my head in shame because have no idea what "mandate" means or 2 cower in fear behind the stockpile of emergency birth control i have stashed in the attic.

all of my feeds are full of my very smart and talented friends detailing the myriad number of ways this government is actively trying to destroy us and fam: i can't deal with it. for me there's a razor thin line between wanting to stay informed and daily fantasizing about jumping off a building, and i crossed it right around the time kanye had that photo op in the lobby of trump tower. i hate myself very much thank you but even i was like, "welp, i think i'm done fucking with this 24 hour news cycle." okay not exactly, because i watched the sessions confirmation hearing in real time and i might be the last black person on earth still regularly tuning in on friday night to bill maher, but i am too blessed to be stressed so i went ahead and added "president," "america," "twitter," "congress," "federal," and "la la land" to my block list. (i mean i liked the movie and everything, but yooooooo the stinkpieces about it were out of control.) here's what i do now when i'm not wishing i was dead:

1 intricate, tedious grooming projects. i don't give a shit about exfoliating my legs, but if spending 37 minutes trying not to split my head open in the shower slipping around in oily sand equals 37 minutes i'm not sobbing in front of a continuous msnbc loop then fuck man i'm doing it. since the election i have: deep-conditioned my scalp with coconut oil that was too cold to properly melt; done a parrafin wax treatment on my feet that made me feel like i was walking around in pudding for a week; fucked up the good blender by mixing a little cold cream, yogurt, honey, aloe vera gel, and avocado to make a hydrating facial mask; fell asleep with a bag of de-puffing frozen peas on my eyes for so long that the shit melted and ruined my pillow; tried to make a coffee scrub out of some old grounds i had to dig out of the actual garbage; and steamed my vagina clean with some suspicious "yoni herbs" i bought on the internet. i am as scaly and haggard as i've ever been, but my heels are noticeably smoother.

2 tending to my mtv the challenge fantasy team roster. tv is more important to me than every single one of my friends, especially since my preferred television programming is either 1 SPORTZ or 2 TRASH. i like to start the morning with a little skip and shannon on FS1, watch the previous night's episode of desus and mero on the dvr bc fuck if i'm gonna stay awake until 11 at night, then segue into some SVU and/or NCIS and/or CSI (warrick episodes only). i watch basketball on monday and thursday nights, i bingewatch huge swaths of vanderpump rules and love & hip hop when there's a marathon on because i can never remember when they come on for real, and black-ish on wednesdays because it's the best show on tv. but then the television gods smiled on me and sent me another season of the challenge, and yes i'm gonna be 37 on monday but so what!? CT IS BACK AND HE'S A DAD NOW. i can't, like, not watch. plus laurel is back this year and i might have just spent an inordinate amount of time rewatching the season when she hooked up with jordan and he let his ego get him disqualified. anyway, this is the shit that i'm choosing to devote my time to, and all of my money is on johnny bananas. man, he's such a snake.

3 cooking complicated recipes that take a long fucking time and involve arduous prep work. my friend lauren is baking her way through our current political crisis because it's cheaper than going to a psychiatrist, but we're still trying not to eat sugar and carbs over here (what's the point of being healthy why not just eat trash and speed up the onset of death) so i'm chopping off tiny bits of my fingers practicing vegetable knife work and trying to figure out how to sous vide cheap cuts of meat so i can #resist turning on CNN. even when it doesn't, cooking takes a long time. ugh it took me half an hour to "throw a salad together" the other night now that i do stuff like "make my own vinaigrette" and "eat radishes." make all of your food take a million hours to prepare to stave off thinking about how in a few months you're gonna die from a paper cut because you can't see a fucking doctor. like, i don't just eat a pear, i get out a paring knife and dissect the pear then spend the afternoon thoroughly chewing all the little pieces while fondly remembering the olden days when you could get amoxicillin for ten bucks.

4 using duolingo to practice my faltering spanish. according to the little test i took when i downloaded the app i'm 42% fluent, which means that if i make it to mexico before the wall goes up and traps me here with your racist uncles and shit i can probably carve out a pretty decent life for myself within a few months of popping up in guadalajara.

5 watching youtube videos to learn how to do useful household things like making a bed with military corners and folding fitted sheets. my childhood was basura and because of that i have spent the bulk of my adult life trying to figure out how to do shit someone who cared about my wellbeing should have taught me when i was ten. i'm not good at it yet but have you ever watched the sorcery that is neatly folding a fitted sheet? i used to employ this sort of roll-and-smash technique before frustratedly jamming it into the linen closet, but now i can kind of do the tuck-and-fold thing i've watched martha stewart do a dozen times and feel like an accomplish adult-type person. wtf did people do before youtube!? so far i've watched tutorials on: achieving the perfect winged liner, consolidating open containers in the pantry, how to re-program a kindle, and the best way to clean stainless steel. i now contain a wealth of personal wellness and household information. did you know that tying a ziploc filled with vinegar around your shower head will get rid of built up residue!? NOW YOU FUCKING DO.

6 curating very specific spotify playlists. the majority of them death-themed.

7 asking a lot of dumb ass questions at the wine store. so if, like, we're all going to become messy alcoholics over the next four years i might as well get some culture and education while doing it, right? i'm never going to understand wine, because i just can't don't value it. if you want to spend more than nine dollars on wine, good for you. i want you to. BUT I SIMPLY CANNOT. i was in new york city a week ago and wore orthopedic shoes to a very fancy new york city restaurant, and when the sommelier came over to the table in her very official-looking jacket and glasses to talk about pairing our meal choices i was like "this is the greatest hustle of all time." i'm sure she went to grape school in france and works real hard at her job and probably has her taste buds insured, and is there such a thing as a soda sommelier because YO SIGN ME UP. i'm an expert in pairing diet faygo cream soda with ice cream and sadness, this could be a lucrative job prospect for me! anyway, i drank half a glass of the barbera d'asti she suggested to perfectly balance our cheese course (jerking off motion) and then was immediately like, "CAN I GET A COKE, PLEASE." wine just does not taste very good to me, and i prefer the warm, soothing embrace of benzodiazepines to the headachy vomit feeling left behind by too many glasses of expensive chardonnay. there are certain things i just don't understand the price of. wine, cat food, disposable razors: WHAT EXACTLY ARE WE PAYING FOR, MY GUY. yesterday i went to the wine shop to get some impressive cheese because we're having people over tonight (just murder me already) and this helpful dude was trying to talk to me about fruity notes in white wines and even though i fell asleep while standing up i can at least tell you that if you're serving blueberry chevre to people pretending not to notice the dust on your ceiling fan that you should pair it with a chilled young, unoaked white.

i imagine you'll nudge me awake if someone declares war on us, in the meantime i'll be over here listening to morrissey and watching a lady scrubbing tarnish off her spoons. ps click here and pre-order a copy of this for your mom.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

bitches gotta read: the serpent king.

january always makes me feel like if i tried hard enough i could be a totally different person. like, the kind of person who can make a reading goal and actually achieve it at the end of twelve months. like, the kind of person who could run a book group and suggest books at the beginning of the month rather than scrambling to get it done at the end of the month. but this is who i am and i've gotta just deal with it: i'm a this-is-the-book-for-january-even-though-it's-already-the-goddamn-22nd kind of person and i'm too old and set in my ways to change that. also: trying is overrated.

the rules
1 we are never going to meet in real life. that would require a bra and zippered pants and probably an expensive uber and no one is doing that. you don't have to worry about megan's dairy allergy or that vanessa doesn't like champagne. no cleaning the cat box or vacuuming the drapes or hiding the dirty laundry in the oven so your company doesn't realize what a huge slob you are. just you in your house glasses and gravy pants sobbing into your six pack of beer, the way rainbow rowell intended. getting together with people you don't live next door to is hella stressful. plus, a bunch of old bitches sitting around talking about fictional teenage romance is lame. OR IS IT THO.
2 we are never going to discuss this, ever. i mean seriously. i'm going to derive pleasure from knowing that people i might possibly enjoy spending time with if i ever could bring myself to meet new people and i are falling asleep and drooling on the same book we'll probably never finish. maybe we'll talk about it on twitter or something. but even thinking about organizing that is a daunting task and i'm already exhausted. mariyam suggested making a facebook group, but is that dumb? the internet is so hard sometimes. (ETA: there is a group! it's called bitches gotta read! and it is full of hilarious mostly-women people who aren't irritating! come find us!!) i also have a bunch of friends on goodreads but lesbihonest: i'm not, like, putting all these john grishams
3 we are never going to shame each other about not reading the fucking book. this is the beauty of never having to meet or talk about it: i ain't gotta come up with "thoughtful questions" and you ain't gotta pretend to remember what happened at the end of chapter seven while a bunch of wine-drunk bitches you don't even like that much wait expectantly for your answer. i'll read the books for sure, but that's only in case i run into one of you at the co-op and you decide to ask how shocked i was by the twist no one saw coming at the end.
brief internet synopsis: Dill has had to wrestle with vipers his whole life—at home, as the only son of a Pentecostal minister who urges him to handle poisonous rattlesnakes, and at school, where he faces down bullies who target him for his father’s extreme faith and very public fall from grace. The only antidote to all this venom is his friendship with fellow outcasts Travis and Lydia. But as they are starting their senior year, Dill feels the coils of his future tightening around him. Dill’s only escapes are his music and his secret feelings for Lydia—neither of which he is brave enough to share. Graduation feels more like an ending to Dill than a beginning. But even before then, he must cope with another ending—one that will rock his life to the core.

right now i'm reading "difficult women" by roxane gay, and the stack next to my bed is daunting:
"little deaths" by emma flint
"the dry" by jane harper
"idaho" by emily ruskovich
"history of wolves" by emily fridlund
"umami" by laja jufresa
"whatever happened to interracial love?" by kathleen collins
WHO EVEN HAS TIME FOR ALL THESE BOOKS. i love it but yo i need to take a speed reading class or some shit. every time the alarm goes off i pry my eyes open like, "oh right i fell asleep after three sentences i'm an idiot oh hello good morning." sad!

ps i wrote a list of reasons i don't bother making resolutions anymore and you can laugh at my pain for a dollar if you click here.

Saturday, December 24, 2016

christmas is trash.

this raggedy half-tree is the perfect metaphor for everything that has ever happened in my miserable, godforsaken life. last weekend i woke up to the sound of these kittens who live here that i most certainly do not like playing thunderdome in the hall outside the bedroom, then was informed that i needed to hurry up and get some pants on because we needed to hurry up and get to the tree farm (what) so we could "cut down our own christmas tree." IS THAT EVEN A REAL SENTENCE. there are a lot of things i don't miss about the former casa sam: the ceiling that fell in twice in two different locations, the gentleman in the apartment next door who routinely fell asleep on the threadbare strip of carpeting in the narrow hallway between our doors, chicago's brazen-ass rats; but what i do miss is never having to do anything domestic because i'm dead inside and don't give a shit about joy. i've never had a box marked "halloween window clings" or "grandma's keepsake ornaments" tucked away in my closet and that's fine. but now i live in a whimsical holiday placemat house so i'm forced to care about shit like handmade valentines and picking out a goddamned tree.

we rolled up to the tree farm bright and early, the faded obama sticker on the back of the car twinkling under the cold winter sun. i scanned the lot for other faces of color and, upon encountering none, announced that i was going to remain in the car. lumberjacks carrying all manner of ax and saw milled past us, peeking curiously in the windows at the fish out of water gasping for air as mavis informed me that not only was i expected to carry the tree but i also had to help cut the fucking thing down. "ARE THESE MEN JUST HERE FOR DECORATION?" i demanded, gesturing toward a young gentleman dusted liberally with wood chips and pine needles. apparently yes. i'll spare you the horrifying details, save this one: if you inadvertently select a hybrid freak of a tree that has two trunks and fail to notice this as you are lying on the frozen ground sweating to death while attempting to cut it down with a dull, child-sized saw, you are still financially responsible for that tree even if it is missing its entire back half. so we bagged up this skinny little charlie brown looking motherfucker, knocked off a third of its remaining branches going through the drive thru at culver's, and now it's sitting in a corner of the living room molting and making a mockery of us all. ho ho horrible!

holidays are the pits. there's no better way to feel unloved and misunderstood than to open unfunny gifts you'll never use that have nothing to do with your actual likes or personality while someone you don't like very much waits expectantly for a heartfelt thank you. for example, this writer has a lot of journals. a whole bunch of them. like, the kind you write in with a pen whose stiff, unyielding spines make it nearly impossible to write legibly at the end of any sentence on a left side page. those things are both useless and impractical, but they seem like a good gift to someone who doesn't understand that i don't have any deep, introspective thoughts worthy of being written out longhand. this time of year is so painful, ugh. i'm 137 years old and earnest holiday television programming is embarrassing to me while toy commercials serve no purpose other than reminding me that i didn't get a skip-it until two weeks after christmas was already over because my father was the actual grinch. i don't know how to knit stockings or bring tidings and eggnog gives me diarrhea. WHY CAN'T IT JUST BE JANUARY 15.
anyway, a holiday survival guide:


cook some things.
winter is a good time for us to get comfortable in our disgusting bodies and make tons of excuses for why it's too cold to work out. i know you're about to double-tap a bunch of thinspiration infographics come january 2, but how about until then you and your cheese pants eat a lot of trash and make yourself feel better by 1 i don't know, pretending you care by buying organic? and 2 making that trash with your own two hands. when i'm home i do a lot of the food preparation around because LOL MY JOB IS WRITING IS THAT A JOKE, and my favorite thing to do is take an inordinate amount of time cutting up vegetables while watching old seasons of top chef. i'm eating meat again because of my bleeding nightmare, but because you're not really living unless you are depriving yourself of something delicious i am trying to take it easy on carbs. i have a lot of cookbooks, even ones that have the audacity to expect someone who didn't go to culinary school to attempt sous vide prime rib on an average tuesday night, but i wish i could find one that was hella basic. like "this is the way you make perfect rice in a regular-ass pot you bought at target" basic. i mean, i know that you should toast the rice in a little bit of clear oil before adding the water but shouldn't someone put that shit in a book!?  
how to cook a pack of chicken, by sam.
ingredients:
1 pack of bone-in skin-on chicken thighs, on sale
seasonings
a lemon

preheat the oven to 425.
1 WASH AND PAT THAT CHICKEN DRY.
2 go to the bathroom and grab that coconut oil you keep next to the shower for moisturizing your twist out.
3 season both sides of each thigh with: granulated garlic, lemon pepper, black pepper, and lawry's. these are things you should have in your house at all times so hopefully you don't need to run back out to the store.
4 heat a tablespoon (maybe two?) of oil in a deep pan, then add the chicken.
5 cook for five minutes without touching them, then flip them over and cook for five more minutes. guard your forearms against unsightly grease burns.
6 squeeze the lemon over the chicken, then cut it into thin slices and put them into a large tumbler filled with vodka and ice.
7 put the chicken in the oven for half an hour, during which you can drink your vodka and watch clips of gordon ramsey's fine ass on your phone while you wait. then eat your dinner in your pajamas while filling out the application to be on masterchef because you're so good at cooking duh.

buy your own gifts.
exchanging presents is so goddamn embarrassing. and fuck that "it's the thought that counts" shaming of my very reasonable disappointment at having been presented with some cheap piece of garbage i don't want that i can't use and am now forced to sheepishly foist on some other unsuspecting secret santa victim next year. because i'm not a monster, it fucking feels bad to throw a useless yet new item in relatively undamaged packaging out with the coffee grounds and egg shells. WHY HAVE YOU PUT ME IN THIS AWKWARD AND UNNECESSARY POSITION, PERSON I THOUGHT WAS MY FRIEND. i don't want this beatles lego set: i am an adult. i also will have no use for this ariana grande perfume and powder puff set, and there's no good place to display that snow globe with a cat in it. was there not a single bottle of prosecco between wherever you came from and wherever i'm at!? why does anyone buy anything that isn't on a registered list of items the recipient might actually want to receive? who perpetuated this myth that one must appear grateful for a literal piece of trash purchased on a whim at the grocery store and presented with the expectation of adulation and praise!? SOME ASSHOLE WHO BUYS SHITTY GIFTS, THAT'S WHO. every december i find myself struggling to find words as i poke holes in the plastic bag used to wrap a bottle of UTI-scented bubble bath someone decided to unload on me and it's wholly unnecessary because i never wanted to be caught between this chia pet and a hard place to begin with.

and it's not just the gift, it's the "who do i give a gift to and if someone who hasn't yet achieved gift status in my life gets me something am i an asshole for not giving something back or is it worse because his gift is gonna be late and he'll know he wasn't on my original nice list and got him a pity present or whatever." i had to take an ativan just to write that. i am not built for this, the parsing of relationships to determine whom to purchase an inoffensive yet vaguely meaningful under $25 gift for. if we're gonna play this game, i'd rather you tell me what you need so i can just get it and we can both die happy. WHAT IS WORSE THAN BLINDLY PICKING OUT A GIFT FOR SOMEONE: NOTHING. your humidifier is broken? you ran out of nail polish remover? you've been dying for an earwax removal kit!? great!! amazon has that and there will be a box in the lobby of your building in two days. guessing games are the worst please don't make me do it. i will pay for a laundry service or hire a dog walker or stand in line to get your plan B, just for the love of eight-pound baby jesus tell me that's what you want. i buy my own presents because i don't need to hear any plebeian editorializing about my expensive taste, but if someone asks what i want i tell them "unscented dove deodorant. multivitamins. AA batteries. those long lighters that you use for candles. a lip balm for the pockets of each of my jackets." because then they can feel good with minimal money and effort, and i get a year's supply of vitamin C and chapstick.

skip the holiday party.

hey dude, forced merriment in the company of people who question your decisions and undermine your authority five days a week for 50+ weeks a year should qualify as a hate crime. i mean, okay sure: "thank you boss for buying well drinks and room-temperature snacks for everyone but if i gotta eat them in the party room of the only bar still taking reservations when you finally got around to it on december 21 while overhearing a third-tier assistant prattling on about what hair dryer she should ask santa for i'm going to kill myself." and if your neighbors invite you over to theirs? YOU AIN'T GOTTA GO TO THAT, EITHER. one of these days i really am going to write a whole list of the dozens of ways living in a charming old farmhouse is worse than living in a glamorous shoebox (what is installation? oh wait, it's "insulation?" why do i have an attic? and why the fuck does it need that!?) but let's start here: 1 even if you put the car in the goddamned garage and turn off the porch light, people always know when your ass is at home. someone knocks on our door every single fucking day. milkman, mailman, dog catcher, mister rogers, big bird: every day i die a little while one of these well-meaning neighbors rings the doorbell no fewer than three times as i hold my breath in the bathroom waiting for them to go away. then i have to tiptoe around making sure that no one spots me through one of our many windows. it's exhausting. so order your pizza before the party starts just in case their awkward, loner son is watching your house, gather all the provisions you need for the evening while it's still light out, then bathe in the blue light of the tv until you pass out surrounded by beer cans and a half-eaten fruitcake. 

go see a movie.
you already know i don't care about things like "leaving the house," especially when i might accidentally overhear conversations between regular people talking about things that are interesting to them, but i do make a weekly exception to go to the movie theater. i love going to the fucking movies. and i'm the perfect moviegoer: i never make noise or get out my phone, i never move unless i am in danger of a pants-pooping emergency, and i never see the twist coming and therefore respond to every single one with a childlike sense of awe and wonder. i was the only asshole in the theater who didn't realize that bruce willis was dead in the sixth sense according to the informal poll i conducted in the lobby after the movie. i never know who the murderer is, or what the aliens want. i also love a movie full of loud shooting and good punching but if there are a lot of bad guys or the plot involves complicated military tactics or complex mathematical strategery then i tap right out. i mean i'm not dumb, but i saw arrival twice and next time you see me if you want a laugh please ask me to explain "non-linear time." 
samantha irby's top four shooting, kicking, and punching movies of 2016
the accountant
deadpool
marauders
hell or high water
this small town robbed me of seeing both lion and miss sloane, but i did get to helplessly cry through moonlight so that's something. and sure, you could just wait two months and watch all this shit on the couch on your pajamas, but microwave popcorn < movie theater popcorn. less likely to murder your heart, for sure, but also way less delicious.

these are tough days for a lot of people. don't feel bad if you can't suck it up and put a smile on to make other people feel better at that ugly sweater party you didn't even want to go to. it is perfectly acceptable to sit in bed watching hulu on your laptop enjoying an extra day off work rather than putting real pants on to fake holiday cheer at your aunt's house or wherever. not everyone is a goddamned teacher, sometimes that one precious day off from retail misery is the only light at the end of the year tunnel. IF YOU DON'T WANT TO RUIN THAT SPECIAL DAY LISTENING TO YOUR BOYFRIEND'S PARENTS ARGUING THAT IS OKAY. and don't let anyone tell you that hanging colored lights from your coatrack isn't as good as the real fucking thing. it's yours, goddammit. and at least you didn't have to cut it down yourself while hillbillies gawked and pointed at you. bah humbug.

click here to preorder next year's hottest stocking stuffer.

Friday, December 9, 2016

winter beauty tips for the salty and willfully shut-in.

here is my average tuesday morning: 
830a wake up and think about going to walgreens.
840a try to convince myself that if i go to the gym for 40 minutes going to walgreens can be my reward.
845a debate wearing pajamas to the gym, realize these are the pajamas i wore to the gym yesterday so who cares.
850a plan what one item i am going to purchase at walgreens so i have a reason to go back tomorrow.
851a fruitlessly search for socks and shoes appropriate for moderate exercise in public surrounded by strangers.
853a remember sensible skechers are downstairs by the door where i kicked them off yesterday in an endorphin-fueled post-exercise wave of rage and disappointment.
854a consider going downstairs.
901a fuck working out and fuck walgreens, too.

i don't have anywhere important to go these days, so i don't really have a reason to have clear skin. i hated customer service for the many, many years i was doing it but at least the thought of arguing with some idiot as they stared in abject horror at my blackheads was motivation to occasionally use one of those congestion-clearing masks. the daikon farmer at the night market doesn't give a shit about my oxygenated pores, and neither does the lady sweating next to me in cardio hip hop groove oldies party or whatever it's called. does the guy at the starbucks drive thru who insists on putting one of those open whipped cream lids on my unsweetened iced tea care that i used a smoothing primer? how about the UPS woman, do you think she can tell the difference between the peachy nude lipstick i was wearing yesterday and the pinky nude i put on for no reason today!?

the answer is no. no one gives a shit about my hyperpigmentation or whether or not i'm using a brow pomade. and sure, maybe definitely no one cared about my liquid blush before? but at least i had half an hour on the train every morning to show off its perfect application to uninterested commuters who wished i would just die so they could take my fucking seat. i have a lot of time on my hands right now and sure i could be using it to read to old people or pack boxed lunches for veterans or some other useful thing, but until someone tells me where to go to do those things i am instead going to read excruciatingly detailed descriptions of beauty products on my computer then order them and pay for expedited shipping so that i can put them on my face in the vain hope that the bored teenager at the bagel shop will look up from his cream cheese long enough to ask, "wow, is that mac mineralize skinfinish!?"

head. i have written extensively and in disgusting detail about the raging monstrosity that is my scalp, and i recently tried a bunch of new shit because i don't go anywhere anyway so it doesn't really matter if i break out in a huge, nasty rash all down the sides of my face. first i tried lush superbalm. it's pretty easy to use on a shaved head, but i don't know if i'd have the patience otherwise. it's a paste that you smear on your gross parts, then you let it sit for 20 minutes before washing it out. i didn't love it, but a tiny tin cost $22 so i'll holler back in three years when i finish it. my barber sold me a bottle of kérastase bain exfoliant hydratant months ago but i just got around to using it and meh. on one of my daily trips to walgreens i gazed wistfully at all of the jewel-toned, tropical-scented bottles of shampoo for people who aren't total garbagemonsters to the unsexy shelves teeming with medical shampoo and got myself a bottle of nizoral, and that shit is a miracle.

shoulders. i'm 36 years old and my skin is changing. i always thought that "change your skin routine as you get older!" was a myth perpetrated by the beauty industry to get regular people to care about shit like "serums" and "night cream" but i am living proof that time turns your skin into an unpredictable asshole. in 1998 i could put anything on my face; now i get worried that if i get rained on i'm going to be an itchy, miserable mess for a week. i am the idiot who buys the overpriced new cleanser that is supposed to do a new fake thing for your face even though she still has a half-full bottle of an overpriced old cleanser that is currently pretending to do an old fake thing chilling on the edge of the sink. i am the gullible moron that commercials are made for, especially the ones with british-sounding voiceovers. (see: my many jaguars.) but i can't play the game anymore because my face stays on injured reserve, so i can't just go slopping creams on it on a whim. back when i was mainlining pizzas every day i could put all kinds of trash on my face but now that all i do is drink water, eat roasted quash, and listen to music i obsessed over in middle school i've switched from 137 assorted toners and lotions to one tube of first aid beauty cleanser and one tub of first aid beauty ultra repair cream because they are gentle and fragrance-free and don't make me break out in burning, welt-y hives.

i mostly bought these $80 sunday riley face oils because i was bored and my cool friend brenda likes them and i wanted the top of my super cool, modern dresser to look like it belongs to the kind of instagram girl who goes to brunch on weekdays and ferments her own beer. the bottles are gorgeous but the product smells like the healthy kind of salad and you have to be the kind of person who doesn't just throw herself in the general direction of the bed around two am if you want to use them properly; these shits are for people who are intentional, people who carefully wash their faces before dabbing on oil and then have the self-control to sit awake as they sink in so their pillowcases won't get ruined. i used these bad girls a couple of times and ruined an entire set of bedding before deciding that fussing with a glass bottle and a slippery dropper required more work and coordination than i was ever going to regularly achieve, plus i got a huge bottle of life-flo liquid cocoa butter at the health food store for $14 and it makes my face v soft and glowy but when people ask how it looks so good i lie and say it's due to "getting a good night's sleep." (wow o wow do i hate the liars who perpetuate this myth i could sleep for ten uninterrupted days and still wake up looking like someone took a cheese grater to my forehead.)

knees. i wish magazines wrote articles about, i don't know, unseemly beauty products. like, what is the most effective disposable razor for if you just have to take care of a couple chin whiskers that started popping up after you got off birth control a few years ago? or which is the best deodorant for unshaved armpits that are prone to dermatitis? if i wake up too late to both shower AND make it to where i need to be on time, which body powder can i sprinkle in my underpants so dogs don't follow me down the street all goddamn day!? this is why i couldn't work in advertising, because i'd want to write real life ad copy. (also why: i barely graduated high school.) for instance, my nars audacious lipstick ad would read: it was 32 real american dollars and sank into all my lip cracks in an unattractive way, thank goodness i bought it with a gift card. or for that too faced cocoa powder foundation picture above? idk if it works but it smells like dusting a swiss miss cocoa packet across my cheeks so i wiped it off after five minutes.

i am 36 years old and all of a sudden i am SO VERY SENSITIVE to everything beautiful and worth living for and it's bumming me out. i had to stop wearing perfume a few years ago, and it tore out what was left of my heart to pack up my jo malone french lime blossom and tom ford black orchid and give them to people whose sinuses don't catch fire the minute the perfume cap comes off. i haven't been able to wear mascara since i was 25 without risking my eyes tracking blackened sludge down my burning cheeks. i started using gel blushes and cheek stains because no matter how much benadryl i take at night coupled with zyrtec during the day i am itchy and sneezy and every other gross dwarf tasked with helping snow white get her man. other than some exceptionally good lipsticks i'm not having any fun at all. deodorant: dove unscented. body wash: aveeno fragrance free skin relief. body moisturizer: eucerin calming cream. HAVE YOU KILLED YOURSELF YET OR SHOULD I CONTINUE. 

what. is even. the point. of trying to stay alive to see my 37th year if this is how i gotta do it!? no creamy clouds of scented foam to lather up with in the shower, no sumptuous lotions heavily-fragranced with some scientist's interpretation of "freesia fields" or "pomegranate passion," no dabbing a little cologne behind my ears to impress upon a roomful of strangers that i care about myself enough to buy designer perfume. is this what it feels like to be a man, the utilitarian scrubbing of parts before inserting one's body into clothes that have been put through a cycle of tide free & gentle and tumbled without dryer sheets before walking outside with no vaguely skin-colored spackling paste to cover your inflamed, textured cheeks and unlined runny allergy eyes!? BUT EVEN DUDES HAVE HAIR POMADES AND OLD SPICE NOW. 

toes. so i'm trying to temper my addiction. first of all, shit is expensive. i had stockpiled a bunch of gift cards and coupon codes but the last place i had an in-person conversation was the quaint, adorable post office in which i tried to mail a package yet inadvertently ended up starring in a horror movie called "chatty small town postal worker," so what is even the point!? i guess i could get up in the morning and put lipstick on in the unlikely case i decide to ever open the door again when someone knocks on it after those two young mormons tricked me a couple weeks ago. i had no idea that this was even a real thing, young men in v-neck sweaters and black ties going from door to door asking people whether or not they feel connected to a higher power. i only opened the door because they waved at me through the window, and i was expecting to politely decline their offer of gallon-sized drums of novelty popcorn or let these adorable, clean-shaven teenagers use our phone to call their parents, not for the brown-haired one to ask whether or not i have a relationship with jesus. 

i almost burst out laughing i was so caught off guard. with who now!? idc what anyone does or believes in but you gotta try and keep it up off my porch, brethren. when i tried to excuse myself elder brad launched into a passionate defense of faith in the modern world (LOL WHY) while the black dude stood there mute, smiling. "blink twice if he kidnapped you," i whispered to elder demetrius and he shook his head in the negative. mavis was bustling around in the bowels of the house behind me, and this same bitch who won't even let me enjoy a secret spotify playlist without asking a hundred times what's on it (ain't nobody gotta know how many post malone songs i've downloaded) all of a sudden has no goddamn interest in who i'm talking to at the door for seven real minutes!? THIS IS WHAT IT MEANS TO SHOW UP FOR YOUR PERSON, OKAY. i don't need you to pay my phone bill, i need you to fucking shout "omg the [something flammable yet not  actually life-threatening] caught fire!" so i can shrug at these dudes and not feel guilty for slamming the door in their faces and run to throw an imaginary towel over hypothetical flames. i'm polite, though, so i patiently listened to them like i might actually be considering joining an organization that actually requires i KNOCK ON STRANGERS' DOORS ON A SATURDAY AFTERNOON IN MY GOOD CLOTHES before telling them that they were at a lesbian house where women kiss each other on the lips and have earnest conversations about new yorker articles.

i don't read that boring-ass shit but anyway tarte's tarteist creamy matte lip paints are the absolute best and maybe the reason that, even after my refusal to join their happiness love cult, they offered to help bring the firewood stacked next to the door into the house is because i was wearing one at the time. or maybe they wanted to murder me, idk.

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

bitches gotta read: girls like me.

so how is everybody feeling? quivering in despair and actively avoiding the news!? great!!! my answer to that question for the next four years is gonna be "married to a lady in a red state." everything is trash, the earth is hurtling recklessly toward the sun, and everyone i like keeps getting kicked off project runway so what even is there to keep living for. BOOKS, I GUESS. if i was more organized i would have a ranked and compartmentalized list of everything i read this year from "worth incurring the overdue library fines for the time it will take you to finish" to "only to be read during desperate trips to the toilet" but, alas, i am not. also i'm not even sure how many books i read this year even came out this year? i'm really good at scouring all the lists and reading all the descriptions then spending an afternoon lovingly picking up and putting down hundreds of books in the bookstore like i'm not gonna buy them all anyway, only to stack them in towering piles around the crib just so i can admire their beautiful, glistening spines. days/weeks/months pass, during which i don't read anything longer than an email, and then suddenly it's december and the new end of the year booklists come out and i'm like, "wait, what did i read again!?"  anyway here are a few i actually finished and loved in the year of our lord 2016:
"shrill" by lindy west.
"the mothers" by brit bennett.
"problems by jade sharma.
"the association of small bombs" by karan nahajan.
"all the birds in the sky" by charlie jane anders.
"a hundred thousand worlds" by bob proehl.
"we love you, charlie freeman" by kaitlyn greenidge.
"girls on fire" by robin wasserman.
"so sad today" by melissa broder.
i know i read a lot more than this but i'm lazy and you don't care that much. i also bought piles of books that i'm stoked to read but unless i throw my tv in the trash and disconnect the internet how on earth am i ever going to have time to read!? not to mention my healthy appetite for gripping courtroom dramas i'm too ashamed to add to my goodreads and the dozens of YA books i download and immediately forget about!? in addition to my food journal (LOL) and my daily exercise log (BAHAHAHAHA) maybe i should set a timer and force myself to keep track of how many minutes i devote each day. i already know that i'm never going to do that but it feels good to pretend that i might?

i have a confession to make: i started a humans-actually-sitting-in-my-living-room-eating-snacks book club. we put together fancy cheese trays and there was a chopped up log of spicy sopressata and a bunch of vegetables (eyeroll) and pie, and a lovely group of women came over on the friday after thanksgiving to eat our overpriced port salut while silently judging our interior design. oh and also we talked about "the mothers," which some of these broads didn't like as much as i did, causing me to get irrationally defensive and throw each and every one of them out of my caucasian home while hurling cats at their heads like that lady on the simpsons. no i didn't but it was like they were criticizing my child or something, which is why i should only ever do things by myself, in a dark room with the blinds closed, where no one can see or talk to me. can't wait to do it again in a few weeks! we're reading "long division" by kiese laymon who i am actually in love with so i'm super excited to die from a heart attack if someone isn't feeling it!!!

the rules
1 we are never going to meet in real life. that would require a bra and zippered pants and probably an expensive uber and no one is doing that. you don't have to worry about tasha's dairy allergy or that rebecca doesn't like champagne. no cleaning the cat box or vacuuming the drapes or hiding the dirty laundry in the oven so your company doesn't realize what a huge slob you are. just you in your house glasses and gravy pants sobbing into your six pack of beer, the way john green intended. getting together with people you don't live next door to is hella stressful. plus, a bunch of old bitches sitting around talking about fictional teenage romance is lame. OR IS IT THO.
2 we are never going to discuss this, ever. i mean seriously. i'm going to derive pleasure from knowing that people i might possibly enjoy spending time with if i ever could bring myself to meet new people and i are falling asleep and drooling on the same book we'll probably never finish. maybe we'll talk about it on twitter or something. but even thinking about organizing that is a daunting task and i'm already exhausted. mariyam suggested making a facebook group, but is that dumb? the internet is so hard sometimes. (ETA: there is a group! it's called bitches gotta read! and it is full of rad people who aren't irritating! come find us!)
3 we are never going to shame each other about not reading the fucking book. this is the beauty of never having to meet or talk about it: i ain't gotta come up with "thoughtful questions" and you ain't gotta pretend to remember what happened at the end of chapter seven while a bunch of wine-drunk bitches you don't even like that much wait expectantly for your answer. i'll read the books for sure, but that's only in case i run into one of you at the co-op and you decide to ask how much the ending moved me.


brief internet synopsis:
Fifteen-year-old Shay Summers is trying to cope with the death of her father, being overweight, and threats from a girl bully in school. When she falls in love with Blake, a mysterious boy online, insecure Shay doesn't want to tell him who she is. But with the help of her two best friends, as well as an assist by Kermit and Miss Piggy, ultimately Shay and Blake’s love prevails. Girls Like Me is a fun and fresh poetic take on teen angst, social media and online anonymity, and high school romance.

idk if this is gonna be good but the protagonist is a fat girl and the author is a black girl so when my homie emailed asking if i'd read it i was like SIGN ME UP, BRUH. it's written like poetry and god knows i am too dumb to understand real poems, but i'm going to try to read it anyway. right after i finish all this other shit. cross your fingers that i don't catch wind of any csi: miami marathons. *cue the who*

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

trick or treated.

i stood in the doorway and adjusted my shiny witch hat as i watched him approaching. dressed as, shit i don't know, a mummy? maybe a tampon!? his confident gait belied his young age. i shifted the large metal bowl i once ate an entire box of dry quaker oat squares out of against my hip, arranging its contents so that the most delectable candies were prominently displayed on top. i went to target last week, before all the good shit was sold out and i was stuck giving out smarties and circus peanuts, and i spent thirty motherfucking dollars on good shit. not candy corn, no good and plentys, and none of those shriveled little tootsie roll turds: there would be no retaliatory egging at this scary old witch's house. scattered throughout the packs of skittles and starburst were brightly colored rubber spiders and glossy vampire fangs. you know, because this is the cool house.

without so much as a "trick or treat!" he bounded up our stairs and accosted me on the porch, tailed closely by a handful of friends all dressed as satan or maybe drake but what the fuck do i know about what kids are into, breathless and vibrating with the kind of energy i can only assume accompanies being allowed to use one's pillowcase outside of the house. "ugh, what are these teeth for?" amenhotep sighed in disgust, plucking a neon pink pair from where it had been nestled between a full-sized reese's cup and the good kind of m+ms to hold in front of my face for review, as if he'd found a used condom or a bottle of xanax in the bowl.

"oh, um...?" i stammered. i hadn't gotten a chance to rehearse before dusk had fallen and screaming batmen and runny-nosed pikachus had come stampeding up the stairs before i'd memorized all my lines. i had only prepared to: 1 exclaim "happy halloween!" with something resembling enthusiasm while waiting interminably long for kindergartners to make the agonizing decision between a snickers and a milky way 2 glare menacingly at the greedy monsters attempting to take more than one candy bar at a time and 3 quickly dip back inside the foyer to grab an unwieldy snack sized bag of unsweetend diet popcorn should some pale, bubble-wrapped child require one due to his allergies. "they're just fun halloween teeth? you know, for fun!?" i groaned internally and silently wished for a meteor to strike the house.

apparently satisfied with that answer, i leaned against the door frame for support as ramses inspected nearly every piece of name brand, expensive candy i had to offer, longing for a simpler time, the olden days of nightclubs circa 2002: wedged in a corner away from the bar between a sexy cat and a sexy burn victim, my "costume" little more than a pair of devil horns worn with my regular clothes, drinking too many corpse revivers and el diablos way too quickly. it's not even eleven o'clock and already two (!!!) hilarious geniuses have asked if i'm benny the bull and since the knives in here are too dull to effectively cut my wrists open the long way i am choosing instead to attempt suicide the old fashioned way: listening to a hot dude who doesn't want to fuck me ask a bunch of questions about the friend i came here with.

after what felt like an eternity tutankhamun finally settled on a hershey bar, just as my arm started to go numb from the effort of patiently holding ten pounds of free candy aloft for a child i had never met to choose from. he reconsidered the teeth and reached in the bowl to snatch them back. i ushered him away from my goddamned house and noticed the candy line had stretched down the block. "all that time for a fucking hershey bar!?" i grumbled under my breath, seething in the direction of his hastily wrapped bandages as he trampled the flowers in the front yard. the teenage mutant ninja turtle next in line widened his eyes in a combination of awe and horror at hearing the f-word out of the mouth of a responsible adult. "sorry about that kid, he's picky," donatello (is that the orange one?) apologized on behalf of his friend xerxes. "and this isn't exactly the best candy." he shrugged before depositing three individual twix and a nestle crunch into his mother's reusable grocery sack. i was gobsmacked.

michelangelo (raphael?) wished me a perfunctory "happy halloween" as he hustled down the steps to meet up with the rest of his crew. imhotep turned to thank me for my disappointing offerings to the gods of all hallows eve and pointed to the jack o'lanterns rotting on the ledge in front of the house. "those are gross!" he called, waving festively, off to feast on the insecurities of the sensible mom handing out raisins and toothpaste and bibles next door. i dumped the candy out on the driveway then slammed the door in the crying face of a tiny little doc mcstuffins before shutting the blinds, turning off every light in the house, then dousing it in gasoline burning the whole thing to a smoldering ash. i sat in my good chair the dining room, face pressed to the window as the flames licked at my skin through my cheap, flammable clothing, scowling as 47-year-old trick or treaters fought with squirrels and raccoons over discounted novelty chocolate, their greedy eyes flashing in the towering firelight. 

living is a mistake, and so is buying a house. not having to think about halloween is one of the many primo benefits of living in an apartment. no having to fix my own toilet, and no having to rake myself over the emotional coals trying to figure out which bag of assorted candy i am too sophisticated to eat will be the most pleasing to the carloads of other people's goddamn kids banging on my fucking door begging for food to prevent them from throwing dog shit at my car. next year this crazy cat lady who never leaves the house is giving out apples. with razor blades.