Tag Archives: my work

Dear Fancy: The Deep Cuts

So, as you may know, I have an advice column called Dear Fancy, formerly of the Hairpin, now on Jezebel. This piece of advice got cut from a recent column since this kind of advice is found in myriad places over the internet, but I thought readers of Chronderlust might enjoy it! Let me know what you think in the comments.

Dear Fancy,

I just started dating this amazing guy who I met on OKCupid. When people ask how we met, I get a little embarrassed to say “online.” Should I come up with a meet-cute story or is it socially acceptable to say “we met on the internet” these days?

Signed,

OKStupid

 

Dear OK,

In an informal poll of my highly fun and extremely sexually desirable friends, I found that about 100% of the ones who aren’t dating/married to someone they met either in school or as friends who blossomed into Something More have tried online dating and had some success with it. I also found that approximately 92% of them were somewhat embarrassed by this. Pretty much everyone does online dating (including me!), but we’re all a little secretive about it.

Look, dating is weird in general, and it’s the last facet of our lives we consider mildly embarrassing to do online. Unlike selling your handmade fingerpuppets on Etsy, you’re writing up a description of yourself and picking out your best pictures, tacitly saying, “Hey, largest bar in the entire world, I’m really looking to find someone to love me, even though I’m not perfect.”

That’s scary, but it’s also incredible. You have access to tons of people who could be great for you who are also looking for the same thing. This means you don’t have to settle for the only guy in your social group who isn’t taken by default, and that is a luxury no previous generation of inhabitants of Spaceship Earth have had. Embrace it.

You met a great guy your friends didn’t know already, and if it weren’t for the magic of the interconnecting series of tubes, you probably never would have gotten the chance to do so. Most couples who don’t meet online have super boring stories (“she was in my algebra class” or “we hated each other in high school and he kind of grew on me in our mid-twenties”), so let go of the rom-com ideal of locking eyes with a hot bus driver as you get splashed by a huge puddle on the way to a job interview and searching for each other all over Cleveland. Tell the truth and grin about it. When someone asks how you met, say, “We met on Tinder and I couldn’t swipe right fast enough. I mean, look at him.” I guarantee you that person will say, “Oh! My sister met her husband on JDate!” and not, “What’s wrong with you?”

Yours in Love,

Fancy

Book Club: How to Build a Girl

This week, Cosmopolitan asked me to interview Caitlin Moran, the Times of London columnist and author of several books about contemporary feminism. It was so much goddamned fun I don’t even have a word for it. Funny, self-effacing, profane, and simultaneously very polite. we spent a fun hour chatting about her newest book, How to Build a Girl, the first in a fictional trilogy.

How to build a girlWhile I’m deeply tempted to say this is not a book for kids, it completely and totally is. Sex, masturbation, rampant teenage horniness, drug use, negligent parenting, partying with and like rockstars: the Parents Television Counsel’s top concerns are all here, and it encapsulates perfectly how uncool, lonely, and weird you feel as you figure out who you’re going to be when you grow up. How to Build a Girl tells the story of a young girl from a big family in an industrial town in England in the early 90s. Poor, chubby, and friendless, she embarks on a journey of self-improvement and self-discovery that mirrors Moran’s own. After winning a poetry contest as a preteen, she realizes that being a good, incisive writer is her ticket out of loneliness, poverty, and her not-great Midlands hometown.

I was a pretty uncool preteen who didn’t have a lot of friends and was a little bit chubby. Like our heroine, Johanna, I won a writing contest at the age of twelve and started writing record reviews for money at about age sixteen. Like her, I grew up, figured out how to dress myself, made friends, and became a writer. How to Build a Girl, coupled with Moran’s other, non-fiction books, is something like an “It Gets Better” project for self-loathing, awkward kids. What I appreciated about Moran’s Johanna is how little time is spent feeling pity for her being a loner. Indeed, it’s positioned as a great way to have time to read, listen to cool records, and dream about your awesome, fun-filled future. The book’s arguing the virtue of playing a long game, which is the number one thing I wish I could tell my twelve-year-old self. Twelve year olds, if you are reading my blog: You are not going to be a loser forever and I am living proof of this. After all, I get to interview women like Caitlin Moran for money, and the boys who didn’t want to kiss me and the girls who made fun of me are pretty boring humans who still haven’t read Moby Dick or gone to Africa or worn dark purple lipstick.

It’s refreshing to see a novel about a teenager that deals with teen sexuality frankly and directly. Other than Forever by Judy Blume, I can’t think of another book that is so unflinching. I’ve been watching reruns of Buffy the Vampire Slayer of late, and it stands in stark contrast to How to  Build a Girl. On the one hand, you’ve got virginal Buffy Summers who literally takes her boyfriend’s soul away the first time they Do It (which only happens after two seasons of boring will they/won’t they buildup). On the other, you’ve got Johanna masturbating in her twin bed, trying desperately to offload her first kiss on anyone who will have her. Once she manages that, she never, ever mentions this boy (“The Kisser”) again, mostly because it just wasn’t that big a deal. One of these things is a lot more realistic a depiction of how you feel as you figure out your own sexuality, and it’s not the one with vampires.

If I had a little(r) sister, I would give her this book so hard (my sister is too old for this to be the revelation it would be to a teenager). It celebrates the self-determination that you have as a preteen and teenager, instead of treating that unformed state as something feral that requires taming. If you know a teenage girl, I think it’s important for you to look at her and say, “if you don’t like who you are, just make a new you. Work hard, be kind, and focus on the future. Draw a new face on top of your face if you want to.” That’s what I did, and that’s what Caitlin Moran did, and that’s what Johanna does. I’m excited to see where the next two books take her, and I can’t wait to give this book to the next uncool teenage girl I meet.

Fantasy Life Update: I’m Published!

Uh, yeah, I took a screenshot of the brief moment I was on the front page of Cosmopolitan. I'm very cool.

Uh, yeah, I took a screenshot of the brief moment I was on the front page of Cosmopolitan. I’m very cool.

In the last couple weeks, I’ve gotten a couple pieces of great news for my freelance work. Little bitty ole Chronderlust led to my new column on the Hairpin, Ask A Fancy Personand a job as the society reporter for Charleston City Paper. Someone passed that along to an editor at Cosmopolitan, and I had my first piece published there this week! I couldn’t be more excited about these fun things I’m getting to do and write about. Thanks so much for reading Chronderlust, and keep your eyes peeled for more of my writing around the web and in print! I wouldn’t get to do any of this if you weren’t reading this here.

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My New Project!

Hi! I’m working on a neat new project with some of my cool friends. It’s called A Spoken Dish, and it’s a place for you to share your food stories, memories, recipes, and cultural experiences! I love to hear from you, so please follow us on Twitter, like us on Facebook, and contribute!

You Should Know How to Do This: Being in a Wedding Party

It’s summer (or, more accurately, “a weekend from March through October”), so everyone and their brother is getting married. If you’re 19-35, you likely have at least three scheduled throughout the season. If you’re 19-35 and a Southerner, you’re…well, you’re probably not reading a blog because you’re at a wedding right now.

This is me as a bridesmaid, age 19.

This is me as a bridesmaid, age 19.

I’m not going to write a post about how to be a wedding guest, because if you DON’T know how to do that, you’re probably also the person writing the insane comments about how Obama is a reptilian alien sent to destroy us at the bottom of Slate articles.

If you’re actually a monster, here’s how you do it: you RSVP according to their wishes and on time. You bring a date or your children if your written invitation specifically says that your others (significant or otherwise) are invited but you don’t ask if you can otherwise, and you certainly do just wing it. You send them a gift from their registry or to the charity they’ve named or you give them cash to avoid anything like this. You show up on time to their wedding and you do not make a spectacle of yourself or complain at any time. THAT IS IT. You just arrive, act polite, send a gift, and then go home. If your girlfriend has to stay home, you can dance with available flower girls and aunties and everyone will think you’re sweet and you’ll have fun anyway. If you can’t afford to get a sitter, you can’t afford to go to the wedding. If you think everything on the registry is tacky, maybe reevaluate who your friends are because maybe they’re gonna stay tacky.

But I digress.

Continue reading

Fantasy Life Update: Moving to Charleston

charleston

My front yard, maybe?

Friends, I have a lot of news for you. I’ve accepted a new position as the American South commissioning editor for the History Press, and I’m moving to Charleston, South Carolina in a few weeks to start my new job. I couldn’t be more excited– helping people write books about the South is absolutely my dream. I’ve never lived near the ocean, either, and I’ve always wanted to, so I anticipate a lot of time spent down at Folly Beach, too.

What does this mean for you? Well, I’m still eager to help you with any design work you want done, I’ll be blogging from 600 miles east of where I am currently, and I’ll be actively looking for people who want to write works of non-fiction. In short, it’ll be me with a different driver’s license (I KNOW.). I ask only for your patience in the coming weeks- things might slow down a little bit while I’m moving, but I’ll be back as soon as I can!

Do any of you know anyone in Charleston? Got any great recommendations or good leads? Want to write a book for me? Get at me. I’m excited about this new chapter and I’m grateful for your support.

Tea Party Tuesday: Swamp Sencha

Well, friends, it’s that time of week. Time to turn our attention to our livers. After last night’s shenanigans after the game, the poor dears probably need a detox. Never fear, green tea is here!

Tastes less cloudy than it looks!

Tastes less cloudy than it looks!

Sencha is the crappy tea you get in the teabags that are 100/$3 at the grocery store! The one I’ve brought you today is a much nicer version of that taste you probably already like. It’s a Japanese green tea that is made without grinding the tea leaves at all. It’s got a little caffeine to it, but probably something along the lines of 1/4 of the caffeine a cup of coffee might should have.

Allegedly, this will lower your cholesterol and increase your brain functions (you will suddenly remember that your girlfriend’s favorite flowers are peonies! crossword puzzles will be easy even on Sunday!), and can decrease your risk of certain kinds of cancer. I actually bathe in this stuff every morning.*

You can get the one that I drank this morning for $16/2 ounces. It’s a superior product by far– you don’t have to be an expert to taste the difference between this and the stuff you drank at Benihana,

*not true