The Hocus Pocus 2 trailer dropped and our reproductive rights have been taken away, so now it’s official: forget “hot girl summer,” this year I’m having the summer of the witch. I’m not going tanning, taking a “bikini body bootcamp” class, or paying for a trip to Cabo (who can afford it with inflation, amirite?). No—this summer, I’m embracing my inner magic witchy nightmare girl. This summer, I’m becoming a witch.
As an actor, I learned that you can create a character either inside-out (how does the character think?) or outside-in (how does the character look?). I’m going outside-in. Famous witch Daniel Day Lewis (The Crucible) would often wear his character’s clothes all the time to help him get into the character’s headspace. Since I fell off my hairdresser’s schedule due to having no childcare in the summer (thanks, again, America), my hair is getting wire-like and gray. My wise friend told me that since she was in a similar situation and gave up dying her curly locks, letting it assume its natural white, she has only grown more powerful, so I have decided to do the same.
Does it even need to be said that we are no longer bothering with body hair removal? Unless there’s a heat wave, of course. Or if you don’t like it. And while skin care is a must, makeup is purely optional. Hard pants are banned forever. No exceptions.
While your witch-forward fashion icon might skew more Fairuza Balk in The Craft, I take my 90s inspiration from Practical Magic. I don’t go for Sandra Bullock’s tragic beauty, though, and certainly do not emulate “hang onto your husbands, girls,” top-of-her-sexual-prime Nicole Kidman, either. I don’t even want to be sweet-as-pie Dianne Wiest. I’m going full Stockard Channing. Give me a thick smokey eye made from the ashes of the patriarchy and big floppy hat. Let my hair curl with the salty sea air and let me wear my full Victorian garb as I tend to my voluptuous garden. I will more likely utter a chesty tequila-laden curse than a compliment any day.
Now to the witchy behaviors. Did you know that crows are very social and smart creatures? I’ve started leaving trinkets for the crows in my neighborhood—shiny objects—so they are attuned to me and will do my bidding, Moira Rose-style, when the time comes. I have a couple neighbors who I think might not like me and I have some ideas of how the crows can help my cause. Don’t worry about it. Nothing illegal.
May I also suggest you stop speaking to the cats that frequent your doorstep in such an infantilizing way? Give them the respect they deserve and carry on a normal conversation with them. Soon they will become your familiars and can sneak into all sorts of places you cannot and tell you secrets.
Call up your “hot girl crew” and form a coven. Instead of a traditional book club, learn some basic spells. Dance naked under the full moon to your Spotify Witchy Woman playlist (mostly Stevie Nicks) and howl with the urban coyotes that live in the woods nearby. You’d be surprised how freeing it is.
You don’t need to give up men altogether. If, like me, you are cursed with wretched heterosexuality, you can still date, love even, but guard your heart, precious witches, and keep a non-digitized journal recording your moon sickness dates. If you do get possessed by an ex or deceased lover, be stocked and ready for an exorcism or at least an emergency appointment with your therapist or astrologer.
I know there was some talk of Golden Girls summer, and respect to those ladies, but it’s not enough, holy ghost of Bea Arthur, and times have changed. In order to enact some real change around here, we need to get our sexy boooooook (spoken in Bette Midler’s voice from Hocus Pocus), consult your tarot cards, and start hexing. Also please make sure you’re registered to vote and it wouldn’t hurt to call up or write your representative. Curses optional on that one.
Take care out there, witchy wonders.
Image: Laura Herrera / Stocksy.com
*You’ve been added to the Group Chat “Holiday Ho-Ho-Hos”*
Danielle: I finally get to see my girlies!! So, where are we drinking?
Natalia: Hold up, there’s a few spots we need to avoid
Rachel: Pour House!!
Natalia: ugh, that’s one we have to avoid
Natalia: I slept with that one bartender that one time and that creepy guy from high school is always there
Rachel: Which guy?
Rachel: fuckin Stephen
Rachel: But for real, i’ve always had good luck there
Danielle: define “good luck”?
Rachel: free drinks!!
Natalia: oh, haaha
Natalia: speaking of, where’s our patron queen of drinks, Andrea?
*Andrea has been added to the Group Chat “Holiday Ho-Ho-Hos”*
Andrea: ooh, hey everyone! We’re all going to be back in town? (except Danielle who lives there, of course, haha)
Natalia: we’re goin to get weird….everywhere except Pour House
Andrea: cuz of Stephen?
Rachel: cuz of Stephen
Danielle: ANYWAY, I only do classy these days, so how about…rooftop beach bar? Hello Betty???
Andrea: Hahahahhaa, clASSy….clASSic Dirty Dani!!
Rachel: Dirty Dani!!! what a throwback!
Danielle: FUck off
Danielle: no dives
Andrea: that means no nose-dives into skate-rat trash either, Danielle
Rachel: Danielle loves her skate rats
Natalia: I mean, Travis Barker types are all the rage rn…
Rachel: I mean, Danielle does think she’s Kourtney Kardashian, so it tracks
Andrea: @Rachel are you saying she’s the least interesting to look at?
Danielle: ugh, FUCK off
Danielle: that was my thing, like, 10 years ago
Danielle: just because I still live in SoCal still doesn’t mean I’m just stuck in a shitty rut singing karaoke at Larry’s Beach Club and fuckin shitty psych rock guys who bite their fingernails, think trucks were meant for grinding, and live in a cheap shithole apartment but never add money to their savings account cuz “life’s a beach!!”
Andrea: So…..how’s Larry’s Beach Club?
Natalia: They have good karaoke
Danielle: It’s a dive, though, for sure
Andrea: I’m down for a dive, honestly
Andrea: it’ll be nice to be in the laid-back beach vibes. NYC is crazy.
Rachel: omg, DC is nuts, too!! I feel you!!!!
Natalia: San Francisco has been pretty chill
Danielle: it gets wild here…
Andrea: YOU get wild there, hahaha
Rachel: so, what are we going to sing for karaoke??
Andrea: Sk8er Boi
Danielle: FUck you
*Danielle has left the Group Chat “Holiday Ho-Ho-Hos”*
Andrea: But seriously, didn’t she get a urinary tract infection like 12 times from different MGK lookalikes?
Natalia: I think that’s on her for not peeing???
Andrea: whatever. I’ll see you at Larry’s on Christmas Eve
Rachel: I really am gonna sing S8er Boi though cuz that song rocks
Images: Studio Firma /Stocksy.com
Are you tired of being alone during the holidays? Do you wish your life was like a made-for-TV movie? Full of love, laughter, and Christmas magic? Well, you’re in luck! Follow these foolproof options to live your life like a rom-com and you’ll be Decking the Hallmark as the klutzy main character in no time!
“Christmas Inn Love”
Step 1: Inherit an old inn from a long-lost relative and move to a small town with big Christmas traditions.
Step 2: Butt heads with a rugged, flannel-wearing stranger at the local diner.
Step 3: Begrudgingly accept help from said rugged stranger after learning that he is the only handyman in town. As the two of you work to restore your inn together, he’ll also “restore your heart.”
Step 1: Buy a small bakery in an ambiguous urban city.
Step 2: Have your sassy best friend/business partner enter you both into a local baking competition.
Step 3: Get off on the wrong foot with a fellow sexy and single baker in the competition. Reluctantly team up with the aforementioned sexy baker after each of your respective sassy best friends get food poisoning right before the semifinals.
Step 4: You’ll be “baking love” before your cake has a chance to cool!
“Return to Santa”
Step 1: Be a high-powered businesswoman who cares more about her career than Christmas. Your holiday tradition should include eating Chinese takeout while you work late at the office, crunching numbers, and avoiding phone calls from your sister who wants you to spend the holiday at home with her kids.
Step 2: Go into work on Thanksgiving Day even though your office is closed.
Step 3: Realize that the files you need are in the back filing room on the very top shelf. Discover that the step ladder is broken and make the terrible decision to climb the metal filing cabinet by pulling out drawers strategically and scaling the wall. When you reach the top shelf and find the file you need, lose your balance and fall 10 feet into the arms of the building’s sexy mail guy who happened to also come in on his day off and heard the commotion.
Step 4: Shaken up, you let the gallant mailman make you a cup of hot cocoa. You find out his name is Nick and you’re instantly attracted to him. As you sip on your perfectly made beverage, the two of you work together and clean up the messy filing room, laughing all the way.
Step 5: He invites you to get out of there and have a makeshift Thanksgiving dinner with him. Uncharacteristically, you agree. There’s something about his twinkling eyes and button nose that you just can’t resist.
Step 6: As you walk the streets of your nondescript metropolitan city together, you realize that you’ll never find a restaurant that’s open on Thanksgiving. So you grab a bag of chips and a bottle of cheap champagne from the only store that’s open and go back to his place, where he makes a feast out of leftovers and junk food. You laugh, drink eggnog, and share a romantic kiss by the fireplace before excusing yourself to use the bathroom.
Step 7: Get lost on the way to the bathroom and stumble across a room full of mail. Check the envelopes and realize that every single one of them is a letter addressed to Santa. Confront him about it and get him to confess that he’s not just “Nick the Cute Mail Guy” he’s actually Nicholas Clause Jr. aka the Son of Santa AND his official mail carrier.
Step 8: Tell him that he’s delusional and say that you’re leaving. As you try to storm out of his apartment, he throws himself into the crackling fireplace. You scream as you watch him disappear through the chimney. Moments later there’s a knock on the door. You open it and there he is, dashing as ever, completely unscathed by the fire. He asks if the two of you can talk…Numb, you open the door and he takes your hand and sits you down on his knee. He tells you of his life and about his magical childhood in the North Pole. How, when he got older, he needed to go out and explore the world, which is why he became his father’s official letter carrier. He says he’d always dreamt of living in your Unnamed Urban City (which is actually Vancouver) and working in a vague corporate environment which is why he decided to base his operation out of a magical mailroom in your company’s generic office building. He explains how he uses chimneys to transport himself around the world, collecting letters to Santa. He asks if you’d like to come with him. You do. Together you travel via chimney across the globe. Along the way you fall madly in love—not just with his spirit, but with the spirit of Christmas.
Step 9: Go to his parents’ house and be proposed to in a romantic mail-themed way on Christmas after Santa’s back from delivering presents. The elves will sing and you’ll live happily ever after with your sexy mailman husband and the world’s best in-laws.
Warning: If he proposes to you on any other day besides Christmas, you can forget about getting a wedding sequel. Remember, the Hallmark of a good relationship is one that revolves entirely around Christmas.
Step 1: Be born and raised in a small town in Middle America where everybody knows each other. It’s important that you’ve spent your entire life in this town, so if you’ve ever moved, I’m sorry but this advice isn’t for you. Why don’t you go back to “Baking Love” where you still might actually have a shot at love, spinster.
Step 2: After a lifetime of small-town Stars Hollow bliss, you decide to reopen your family’s old bookstore. Ideally, your name is something like Paige Turner, but I’m willing to be flexible if you name the bookstore something equally kitschy.
Step 3: Get roped into helping your best friend since childhood throw the town’s 100th anniversary Christmas Eve Ball.
P.S. If your town doesn’t have a tradition dating back at least 100 years? Good luck finding love.
Step 4: Discover your dead father’s secret manuscript hidden in a stack of old books at the back of your impossibly quaint store. Read it from front to back in one sitting and dramatically wipe away a single tear as you whisper, “It’s a masterpiece, Dad. A masterpiece.”
Step 5: Send it off to the top publishing house in New York or London and then receive a phone call that your dead dad’s book is a hit and that the fancy publishers want to rush to get it out by Christmas. They have a few notes, so they’ll be sending one of their very best agents down to you so you can make the final edits by their Christmas Eve deadline.
Step 6: Butt heads with the impossibly handsome big-city publisher, preferably named Read, with whom you have undeniable sexual chemistry.
Step 7: Deny that sexual chemistry. Fight him on every single edit he tries to make to your father’s book. Tell him that he doesn’t understand the book because he doesn’t understand the meaning of Christmas.
Step 8: Resolve to show that city slicker the true meaning of Christmas. Tell him that if he wants you to approve the changes to your dad’s book he has to help you with your volunteer duties for the town’s Christmas Ball. You’ll develop the feels as you deck the halls and soon you’ll share a steamy kiss followed by a brief commercial break.
P.S. If you don’t get him to understand the true meaning of Christmas by midnight on Christmas Eve, you will be cursed from here until eternity.
Step 9: Receive a troubling call from the publishing house that leads to a simple misunderstanding between you and your bookish beau. You’re left in the lurch when he leaves town with your book and your heart.
Step 10: Star in a melodramatic montage of you looking sad as you sell books to your attractive and happy customers while a jazzy Christmas song plays underneath. Your best friend will bring you hot cocoa and tell you to forget about the book and the boy, but you just can’t.
Step 11: Depressed but dressed, you show up at the Christmas Eve Ball to fulfill your volunteer duties. Stare longingly out the window at the town gazebo.
Step 12: Be swept off your feet when your publishing paramour appears at the coat check with the first edition of your father’s book and it’s everything you wanted it to be and more. The reviews are in and they say it’s the best story ever written about Christmas since the Bible. With the misunderstanding solved and your father’s legacy preserved, yule head straight for the mistletoe and live happily ever after.
Disclaimer: If your dead dad’s book isn’t about Christmas, you will die alone.
If none of these ideas worked for you, well sorry but you just don’t have main character energy. Don’t worry, though. You can always throw yourself down a flight of stairs in front of a men’s class at Equinox! I’m sure you’ll get invited to a Christmas or two!
Images: Jovana Rikalo / Stocksy.com; Giphy (4)
Just when you think he’s gone for good…’tis the season to once again be Pete Davidson. And with the holidays approaching, Pete is under more pressure than ever to create
meaningful memories photo ops with his significant other. Presently, that significant other just so happens to be the one and only Kim Kardashian. Apart from their staged kiss on SNL and a few paparazzi shots at Knott’s Scary Farm, we haven’t seen too much of the couple since their first night on Aladdin’s magic carpet. What we do know of their relationship has been only speculation from Pete & Kim frenemy-fans. Where do they go on dates? What do they do together? What do they say? Do they even say anything or do they just use emojis? God, do they even use emojis? Are they celebrating Thanksgiving together? Has he met her kids? Does he know she has kids? Do not fret! All of your questions are about to be answered in this very real story of exactly what the very real Pete Davidson and Kim Kardashian are up to this very real holiday season. So without further ado, may we present: The 12 Dates of Krismas.
1. On their first date of Krismas, in an act of sincere vulnerability, Pete Davidson takes Kim Kardashian on a romantic stroll around (you guessed it) Staten Island’s Freshkills Park. Kim can’t help but think that “Freshkills” would be a great name for a Skims x Yeezy collab. Wait. Should she answer one of her 300 voice notes from Ye? She looks over to the mysterious Pete, who is now chasing frogs in the swamp. She shakes her head, no. Pete is too good to let go: he’s so tall.
2. Pete still doesn’t feel like Kim truly “gets” who he is: 28, childless, and totally without life-preserving instincts. So, he treats her to the most humbling experience 2021 has to offer: a Lyft. Kim is surprised by how fun it is not to know what that smell is or who their driver is or if they’re vaccinated. Dates with Pete are always exhilarating! They’re dropped off at Coney Island and they spend a dreamy night getting lost in the fried food, roller coaster rides, and dizzying lights of it all. Pete can’t believe how funny Kim actually is and Kim can’t believe how tall Pete is. The night is straight out of a movie. “Requiem for a Dream,” suggests Pete. “No, Uptown Girls,” Kim disagrees. It’s their first fight.
3. The next day on his lunch break, Pete meets Kim at her Balenciaga fitting. Predictably, she’s wrapped head-to-toe in black. Pete mistakenly makes 10 too many Death Eater jokes so she sends him out to grab salads. He comes back with limp Sweetgreen. If that’s not bad enough, there’s bleu cheese on top. It takes everything in her not to cry. Why does she put up with this? Pete shuffles back to work, a complete and utter embarrassment of a human graffiti tower.
4. On the fourth date of Krismas, Pete spends his 12 hours of allotted SNL weekend meeting Kim in Los Angeles. On the plane, he Googles “Kim Kardashian’s favorite restaurants.” He feels a slight tingle of satisfaction not typing “West” at the end of her name. A popular Middle Eastern restaurant, Carousel’s, pops up and he books a reservation. Paparazzi hound them when they enter, but Pete remains unfazed. She compliments his ability to stay calm in the storm. It takes everything in him not to mention that the paparazzi was twice as severe when he was with Ari. After all, this isn’t his first Kate Beckinsale. Instead, he smiles widely as they bond over their love of bread baskets and ice water. Then, Kim reminds him not to smile so widely and he complies. It feels like love.
5. After several shared FaceTimes on the importance of branding, Pete realizes the only way to impress Kim is to double down on his own brand. So, he takes her back to Staten Island. Again. This time, they reenact the dance from My Best Friend’s Wedding on the Staten Island Ferry. Unfortunately, Pete’s plan backfires. Rather than him becoming the Dermot Mulroney to her Julia Roberts, Kim begins to consider that maybe they’re both just
friends famous. She wraps her arms around his waist, the highest part of him that she can reach, and cranes her neck to look up at him like he’s the ninth floor of Bergdorf’s. Instantly, her doubts dissipate. He really is so tall.
6. On the sixth date of Krismas, Pete taps into his romantic side and plans an intimate night on the town—just the two of them. Channeling his inner Mr. Big, he books a carriage ride in Central Park. Pete brings his favorite Staten Island sandwich for the ride and they cozy up under a Barefoot Dreams blanket he bought, mistaking it for Skims. Thankfully, Kim doesn’t take the insult personally. Instead, they bond over the tragic loss of both their fathers. Pete explains that his father, a firefighter, died an American hero. Kim explains that her father, too, died. Well, anyway, it feels like destiny.
7. Running out of ideas, Pete becomes a feminist and suggests Kim make the plans. Kim Googles “italian food for normal people.” She texts her second assistant to book them a private table at Pizza Hut. Alternatively, her assistant suggests they order it in. Cute! They spend the night nibbling on New York’s Pizza Hut and watching JoJo Siwa videos so Kim can have something to bond with North about. Kim graciously comments that the Cinnabon® Mini Rolls taste just like Italy. Pete returns the favor by asking Kim to tell North that he also loves JoJo Siwa. Later that night they get a DM from North—she now despises JoJo Siwa.
8. Feeling like there’s already some tension, Kim arranges a Meet-and-Greet with North. North’s schedule is far too busy for a full-on trip to the Big Apple but generously, North agrees to a half-hour Zoom with Pete if he’ll donate to her favorite nail technician’s charity. Pete spends the day arranging a backdrop fit for an eight-year-old. He hangs his Harry Potter posters in the back and clears all the smog out of his room. Kim comes over later that night. They enter the Zoom excited but North is ten minutes late. Regardless, when her face finally does pop up, Pete greets her with a happy “Hey, Nori!” North instantly exits the zoom.
9. On the ninth date of Krismas, Kim sleeps through her alarm and misses the date. Pete saves $12,000 that day. It’s a win-win.
10. Making up for lost time, Kim agrees to spend some time with Pete’s best friend. So, Kim and Pete go to his mom’s house on Staten Island. Pete smokes a few joints while Kim courageously proves that celebrities eat Cheetos too. It might just be the clouds of smoke, but Kim is starting to really picture a future with the comedian. If her mom can date a nobody, why not her? After all, she can probably convince him to quit that little skit show he does and move to LA full-time. Pete loves how smart, successful, kind, generous, thoughtful, and caring Kim is. Kim loves how tall Pete is. She leaves Staten Island more smitten than ever.
11. Everything’s coming up Pete! After 10 dates, it seems like Pete has everything it takes to become Kim’s
fourth assistant boyfriend. But it’s almost Krismas, and that means Pete is going to need a suit. Kim mistakenly accepts an invitation to join Pete at his local Big & Tall. Mortified, Kim calls in a favor. Riccardo Tisci agrees to courier some custom Burberry suits over. While Pete is in the dressing room, Kim sneaks the suits on the rack. Two minutes later, Pete just so happens to discover some great new suits and bonus: they’re tagless! “That means they’re free,” he jokes. The 15-year-old sales clerk nods in agreement, clutching her signed Lip Kit.
12. The 12th date of Krismas finally arrives. It’s the night of the annual Kardashian Christmas Eve Party, and Pete couldn’t be more excited to meet the family. Kris Jenner, of course, is first to greet them. She hugs Pete tightly and autographs a cocktail napkin, thinking he’s one of the Make-A-Wish guests. Kendall, being the tallest, is actually able to make eye contact and sees things in Pete’s eyes she’s certain Kim has never clocked. Kylie uses all her strength to lazily wave from across the room, keeping her distance. Khloé snidely remarks that Pete’s really not *that* tall. But then, Kourtney, in all her glory, innocently suggests that Pete kind of reminds her of Travis. And it is in that exact moment…amongst the Calabasas elite… that Kimberly Noel Kardashian West finally remembers who the hell she is. Instantly, a security guard escorts Pete off the premises and Kim exhales a deep sigh of relief.
Alexa, play “Thank U Next!” It’s Krismas Eve and Kim is back (only on Hulu).
Images: DFree, Asatur Yesayants /Shutterstock.com
Everyone’s back in town for the holidays, and you know what that means: ex sex texts. Exsexts, if you will. But even if you don’t receive the preemptive “You gonna be in town?” messages, that’s no guarantee you won’t end up in the wrong place at the wrong time and then doing the wrong thing, naked (or not), in your childhood bedroom. And it’s hard to think of something more wrong than that.
How will you navigate the treacherous Turkey Day time, toeing the line between drinks and dick, bars and bros, nostalgia and NOPE? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered.
Avoid Your Local Haunts
This may seem like a given, but when you’re three rum and cokes deep and your best friend says you should “Drop by the Golden Tee, for old time’s sake!”, you’ll probably forget your old haunt is the graveyard (dive bar) where your ghosts (of partners past) get ghoulish (shitfaced). And it’s not Halloween anymore, hun, so stop starring in your own hangout horror show. Unless you think these ghosts are buying—apology appletinis are definitely “of the season.”
Change Your Instagram Photo to nEXt with the EX Crossed Out
This will send a clear message and not make it seem like you’re considering sleeping with your ex at all, no matter how many apology appletinis he purchases on your behalf. It also doubles as a cute homage to the MTV show your hometown friends will remember fondly and your Chronically Online™ younger friends will pretend they didn’t binge watch when they were home sick from school. It will also provide you and your girlies’ attitude for the evening: next drink, next bar, next awkward encounter with your best friend’s ex, reminding you that everyone is someone’s ex.
Only Wear Sky Crocs
Not only will you appear blasé, unconcerned, and unfuckable, you’ll be walking on air—literally (metaphorically). If you haven’t committed to being 100% undesirable, you can opt for the high-heeled version, but remember: you will be drinking and you will fall down. Just try to make sure you don’t fall into your pick-canopied childhood bed with your ex who probably won’t have a condom because he “hasn’t been excited about anyone since you” and “can pull out without ruining your pink bedspread.” Right.
Oh, Boy, What Else… Maybe… Start Your Period?
Doesn’t the body have a natural response to shutting down your ex or something? Won’t you just start bleeding so you have no choice but to deny your ex the back-in-town booty? Oh, wow, you were on your period last time you were in town and that’s where the giant stain on your childhood sheets came from? Because you… oh — you fucked your ex while on your period in your childhood bed. Well, disregard this, then.
Y’know What? Fuck It—Fuck Him
Look, you’re an adult. You know the repercussions and if you’ve been thinking about doing it this much, well, then, why deny yourself? You’re rarely in town and it doesn’t have to turn into “a thing” if you don’t want it to. You’ve been going to therapy and establishing healthy boundaries in the other sects of your life, why can’t you do it here, too, Janelle? Are you afraid it will turn into “a thing”? Or are you more afraid it won’t? What do you really want here? Do you want him to take responsibility for his wasted life puttering around your hometown and the way he discarded you for greener pastures, a.k.a., younger pussy, because he hasn’t dealt with his traumas and is afraid to delve into the core of his problems and instead regressed into a 24-year-old (literally)? Well, uh… just know he’ll probably never change. And he’ll probably recognize the stained sheets in your childhood bedroom. So.
This holiday season, enjoy your old stomping grounds, even if you do end up fucking your ex in your childhood bedroom. Hopefully it wasn’t as dry as your dad’s turkey dinner or as sour as your sister’s cranberry sauce.
Images: Boris Jovanovic /Stocksy.com
Sometimes, being single feels like a 24/7 scarefest—like you’ve been given a free ticket to the most terrifying haunted attraction on earth (where the attraction isn’t even mutual). If solo and dating experiences were inspiration for a nightmare-inducing display, what would it look like? ENTER IF YOU DARE/DATE.
Blind Date Hayride
The torture begins on a daunting and uncomfortable hayride around the property. You’re alone, until a curious mystery man arrives—the nephew of your aunt’s best friend’s brother’s cousin. Since you both are still alive in 2021, they thought you’d be a great match! You quickly learn he is 24, thinks the earth is flat, and can’t stop talking about his “crazy” exes. You reluctantly contribute to the troubling dialogue by saying, “I guess finding a good partner is like finding a needle in a haystack.” He doesn’t get the idiom. Your aunt texts you 15 times in a row on Facebook Messenger to see how the date’s going, sending chills down your spine. Watch out! Despite your apparent lack of interest, he still goes in for a kiss. You jump up and find a spot on the hay bales furthest from him. As you sit, something sharp stabs you in the back of the thigh. Congratulations, you’ve found the needle in the haystack. Sorry, no refunds.
The Interrogation House
As you walk into this dark, cacophonous den, you’re immediately confronted by frightening friends, grim family members, and gruesome internet strangers who have teamed up to hurl hideous questions at you from every direction. “How are you still single?” they scream. “Whatever happened with that one guy?” they hiss. “But what if you die… alone?” someone resembling your mom whispers creepily from the corner. Then, like footage from a Netflix cult documentary, they surround you and begin to chant: “Are you even seeing anyone right now?” It is evident they want to adopt you into their posse of procreators, future divorcées, and people who fight about leaving the toilet seat up. You have to do something now or they will perpetuate the interrogation. “Yes! I am seeing someone!” you shout. “A therapist!” The haters gasp and scatter away like roaches. Whew, that was close. Unquestionably, you have made it out alive. This time.
The App Trap
The ding your phone makes when you get a dating app match blasts through the halls at a deafening level. As you cautiously step into a large theater, you’re immediately bombarded with seizure-inducing flashes of distressing profile pics and devastatingly cursed bios. Beware of the barrage of hair-raising suitors—the horrifyingly dull Jim looking for his Pam, the astounding sophistication of someone who’s fluent in sarcasm, the “bad boy” who is literally just bad at everything, and, most disturbing of all, an onslaught of unsolicited fish pics. Then, out of nowhere, thousands of small nieces and nephews appear, lost, searching for their owners after being used for a photo. What in the Children-of-the-Corn is happening right now? Be prepared to be assigned a compatible match whose bio says nothing except: “ask me anything”! (Here’s a question: Why?) This is actual hell. You may think it’s time to go when you see an EXIT sign that reads: “No one new around you!” but you cannot leave until you update your settings and lower your standards. Shudder.
The Domestic Dungeon
You enter an apartment that appears similar to yours. For a moment, you feel at ease—then, in the spot where you get eight hours of uninterrupted sleep, you notice the eerie silhouette of a body. The large, dark shape is on your side of the bed, hogging all the sheets, making an evil noise (a “snore”) that makes you want to scream. You run to the bathroom to hide, but the door is locked! Nooooo. Someone is on your toilet right this second—using your Squatty Potty! A loud noise clammers behind you. The mystery shape appears in the kitchen and starts pounding your variety pack of White Claws, leaving only the grapefruit ones behind. The horror. You have lived alone for too long to handle this wretched invasion. You ask it to leave, but the six-foot-tall (well, probably closer to 5’10”) monster claims you’ve been dating for five weeks and this is fine. Hurry, end things now—before it uses your toothbrush or makes an ass imprint in the couch!
Image: BONNINSTUDIO /Stocksy.com
Do you smell that? The slight scent of cinnamon in the air—which, by the way, is feeling much crisper? Fall is officially here, and for many people, that means things like pumpkin flavored coffee and wearing throw blankets as scarves. But for the girlies who colored their nails with black Sharpie in middle school and called themselves goth and haven’t updated their personality since, it’s the beginning of spooky season! There are plenty of ~terrifying~ activities to indulge in, like haunted houses and the like. But that’s all just so overdone. Prove you’re really about that life by tackling one of these truly harrowing tasks.
An Escape Room With Your Parents
Just picture it: You’re locked in some themed room, with a bunch of vague puzzles to solve and a time limit. If the ticking clock wasn’t stressful enough, you’ll also have to answer questions from the people who gave you life about if this activity fits in your (non-existent) budget and why you’re not dating anyone, all while your parents bicker because your dad thinks he knows best and your mom feels he never listens to her. Meanwhile, you know how to actually get you all out of the room, if only your parents would shut up and let you speak for two minutes. If your parents are natural puzzle-solvers, or simply well-adjusted people, then you can borrow mine for this exercise.
Sit Alone In A Dark Room
It’s like the original escape room, but the puzzles are just the intrusive thoughts you’re constantly trying to keep at bay. If you can handle sitting alone in a dark room with nothing else to keep you occupied, there’s probably nothing that scares you. In fact, I’m kind of scared of you.
Go On A Road Trip Without GPS
Sure, you could get lost in a corn maze, but that’s just so passé. Turn that lost-in-a-corn-maze feeling into an immersive experience, complete with real danger, by setting a destination and trying to get there without a GPS. That includes your phone, obviously. I think you can use this old document called a map to get around? Nothing spookier than trying to use outdated tech!
Make A Doctor’s Appointment
By yourself. Without your mom’s help or encouragement. Even scarier? You can’t rehearse what you’re going to say beforehand, either out loud or in your head. Good luck!
Try To Spell ‘Definitely’ Without Looking It Up
Since I gave you that one as a freebie, now try the place you go to to eat dinner cooked by a chef and brought to you by a server. You can’t do it, can you?
Express A Genuine Emotion
Laughter is not an emotion. Covering it up with self-deprecation doesn’t count! Nervously chuckling at the end of a vulnerable emotion doesn’t count, either. And I know what you’re thinking, and no, you can’t blame mercury retrograde. Or your recent alcohol consumption, sleep-deprivation, or menstrual cycle. You have to let people see the real, uninhibited, excuse-free you. I would honestly rather pay to go to one of those haunted houses where I have to sign a waiver that it’s legally fine if they kill me.
Images: Russell Ferrer / Unsplash
Well, this is awkward. The designer pooch (that you pretend is a rescue) is totally f*cking up your vibe. You bought little Buddy last March, and now it’s almost July and is back, baby! Suddenly, having to leave brunch early to put kibble in a bowl is just not the move, you know what I mean? Who could have predicted this, aside from your mom who rattled off a list of all the hobbies and projects you abandoned as a child, experts who warned against people returning pandemic pups, your roommate who refused from the get-go to feed your teacup Yorkie Pomsky mix,and the lady at the pet store who asked, “are you sure”? Nobody told you that a dog is much more than an accessory to quell your boredom and help you rake in Instagram likes. Okay, so maybe your mom did say exactly those words to you before you signed the papers, but what does she know? She called flip-flops “thongs” for the better part of your childhood, after all.
No denying it—this sucks. But just like any undesirable life event, you can use this to your advantage to increase engagement and build your brand. Here’s how.
Change Your Aesthetic
Any good influencer marketer will tell you that maintaining your brand is of the utmost importance. So before you do anything drastic with the dog, like archive the pictures you posted on IG (they’re getting such good engagement), ask yourself: what exactly is your brand, and why doesn’t little Miss Fluffikins fit into it? From there, you can make tweaks as necessary. It’s crucial to know your audience and be specific. Like, maybe your brand is
alcoholism going on all-day drinking benders, and having to dip out early so your dog doesn’t starve is messing with your party-all-day-and-night aesthetic. If it’s starting to feel like a buzzkill, no worries! Do you know how many bars are dog friendly these days? Literally all of them, depending on your level of ethics.
On the other hand, is your brand DIY home improvement projects and generally being a hermit, but you got an Australian shepherd? (Those eyes are just so cute, I get it.) It’s time for a rebrand—you’re really into running now. Sorry!
Is your brand unapproachable bitches with a penchant for destroying household objects? You really should have gotten a cat.
Overshare, Overshare, Overshare
It’s not 2016 anymore, and Instagram doesn’t need to just be a highlight reel. If you don’t know that vulnerability does wonders for engagement, you’re probably still using the filters that come in the Instagram app. (Valencia? What are you, 12?) Everyone knows dogs are cute and cuddly, but do they also know that dogs love to destroy personal belongings, especially shoes, if left unattended? Okay, so that’s also a common generalization—particularly the shoe thing. But, whatever, use it! Of course posting pics of your dog as a puppy is cute, but posting pics of him making puppy dog eyes in front of your chewed-up Golden Gooses is just as cute, in a “oh, you little rascal—do you people see what I’m dealing with? I’m such a saint for putting up with it” kind of way. (Nobody has to know whether or not your dog actually has a penchant for chewing up shoes, or if those tears were actually made by a pair of scissors. Let’s be honest, those shoes are hideous anyway.)
The caption here is even more important than the photo, so it’s time to flex your
exaggeration writing skills. Make sure you write a meandering personal essay detailing the trials and tribulations of being a dog owner. Of course, when he looks up at you with those big, brown/blue/two different colored eyes and you know this tiny furry creature depends on you to live, that’s how you know it’s all worth it. (Feel free to steal that line; I’m not using it.) Other vulnerable posts that are sure to rack up the likes: no-makeup (minus mascara, BB cream, highlighter, and a swipe of lipgloss) selfie with imaginary under-eye circles because “this one won’t stop barking all night!”; a puddle of yellow liquid on your plush white rug (said liquid may or may not be the bottle of sauvignon blanc you knocked over); lacing up your sneakers at 6am for your early morning walk (you went back to bed after you took the picture).
So you’ve milked your
mild inconvenience new best friend for all it’s worth, and your dog is still, like, an animal that requires care and not a barely sentient stuffed animal, as you anticipated when you adopted bought him. Bummer! Once you’ve used up all your sympathy cards, the only course of action left is to build up a sense of mystique. This means it’s time for Little Miss Princess Pupper to go on a vacation—literal or figurative, that part is up to you, and only you will know. This part is important! You can never discuss where the dog is going, or even acknowledge it went anywhere, leaving your followers to wonder, “wait a second, what happened to that dog she was constantly posting about?” Having all those people coming back to your profile, day after day, to see if you’ll acknowledge the case of the missing canine will be great for your engagement! So would the “what happened to the dog?? What r u hiding???” comments, if you could keep them up without ruining your brand. On the upside, deleting comments will only fuel more comments asking why you’re deleting comments.
Now, you might be asking, “but if I didn’t send the dog on a literal vacation, how is this helping me at all?” It’s simple: if someone or something isn’t being shared on social media, it doesn’t exist.
If there’s anything influencers have taught us in 2020, it’s that anything can be returnable—even children. If this creature with feelings and emotions just isn’t working for you, get rid of it, girl! Time to stop setting yourself on fire to keep other people warm—and yes, having to cancel a dinner reservation in the Hamptons that you’ve had for months to keep another living thing alive is basically setting yourself on literal, actual fire. It’s time to start prioritizing yourself, and only yourself. Self-care.
Images: Alexandra Tran / Unsplash