Now that spring has finally sprung, that means wedding season is officially underway! For those of you who are still too
college young to understand what wedding season is, I’d advise just ditching all of your friends now and getting out while you still can. Trust me, it’s better this way! For those of you who do know all about wedding season, then you know this is the time of year when you must forgo all of your free time, vacation days, and any savings you may have managed to build up in favor of lavishly celebrating a couple whose great love story started with the groom sending the bride a “u up?” text 6-8 months after drunkenly hooking up with her at a bar. See what I mean about getting out while you still can, kids?
Now, don’t get me wrong—wedding season can sometimes be fun (there’s always the open bar), but as someone who has never attended a wedding and/or wedding season event with a date, trust me when I say that this godforsaken season can be pretty treacherous to navigate at times. Luckily for you betches, I’ve developed a “Stop, Drop, and Roll” safety method but for, like, attending anything wedding themed as a single AF person. Since I’m more of a show not tell type of person, I’m going to throw a few scenarios at you and give some tips as to how to handle said scenario. These tips might go against basic wedding etiquette, but let me tell you they are absolutely essential when you’re out there in survival mode. You’re welcome.
Scenario #1: Someone Asks If You’re Dating Anyone
Survival Tip: Be more vague than a Poosh article.
I recently attended a friend’s engagement party and was asked no less than 15 times by various people at said party if I was “dating anyone.” And before you ask, no, apparently bringing up the guy who ghosted you in the winter of 2016 doesn’t count as “dating” anymore. I’ve never felt more personally victimized tbh. This is always a fun scenario because in theory asking about someone’s love life should be a harmless but fun question. In theory. But that theory goes completely out the window when the question is posed at an event where everyone is paired up like Noah’s freaking Ark and you’re the last sad muskrat on earth. Like, do these people think you would just show up to an event dateless if you had any other alternative?? Like I haven’t been out here propositioning the guy who asks for my spare change outside of Starbucks every morning for this very occasion?? Sighs. That said, if someone does dares ask you this question just know that the key to getting out of that conversation alive (and with your dignity still intact) is to be vague AF. Like, vaguer than Kourtney Kardashian’s instructions on what she does to get ready for a big night out. Say something along the lines of “I’ve been playing the field, just keeping my options for now!” and then run like hell for the booze. Works every time.
Scenario #2: Someone Tries To Give You Dating Advice
Survival Tip: Smile, nod, and haul ass to the open bar.
I’m going to bring up this engagement party again because it’s still fresh in my mind. I didn’t follow my own advice at one point in the evening and made the mistake of mentioning to the bride’s older relative that I wasn’t seeing anyone at the moment. She then proceeded to tell me that the reason I can’t find a boyfriend is because my Claddagh ring is facing the wrong way! As if a ring, which I bought purely because I saw Buffy Summers wearing one so I wanted to wear one, has the power to make men stop ghosting me. I didn’t have the heart to tell the old biddie that the general energy I put out into the world is somewhere between “burn it all down” and “break up with your boyfriend ‘cause I’m bored”, and it probably has nothing to do with the way I wear a ring on my finger. But, if it’s not Aunt Edna trying to give you dating advice, then it will certainly be someone else so you should prepare yourself for this scenario. My advice is to smile, nod, and then haul ass to some corner of the party where you should proceed to chug whatever drink is in your hand. Being proselytized to is always more fun when you’re drunk!
Scenario: #3: The Bride Tries To Set You Up
Survival Tip: Be mature about it. Hide in the bathroom.
I’m going to warn you right now, whether it’s at the engagement party or the actual wedding, the bride will try and set you up with the only other single person in attendance. This didn’t used to happen in my early twenties when more of my friends were single, but now that we’re all pushing 30 *shudders* and I’m the last one in my friend group to stay single, it happens A LOT more. And before you say “oh, but that’s so great of your friend to hook you up like that!” let me just tell you that they aren’t setting me up with a guy who I might be compatible with. No, they’re setting me up with any dude who has a pulse and a bare ring finger. As if we’re the only two pandas at the zoo and everyone is waiting for us to mate. There’s two ways to handle a scenario like this. One, you can lean tf into it and give the guy a chance (or, at the very least, a drunken makeout sesh). Or two, you can hide. The second method is my personal favorite because it combines two of my strengths: avoiding confrontation at all costs and drinking alone in bathrooms. The second part is optional, but highly encouraged.
Scenario #4: You Make Out With The Bride’s Younger Brother
Survival Tip: Deny, deny, deny
Speaking of drunken makeouts, what are weddings if you don’t dishonor your family name at least once by hooking up with a relative of the bride or groom in plain sight of the entire wedding party? As a single person at a wedding, it’s kind of your duty!! I’ve been introduced as the “blackout friend” at a wedding season event before, and you know what? You can’t be offended if it’s true. There’s definitely been times where I’ve made out with people at weddings and had zero memory of said makeout until the next morning when the savage animals I call my best friends reminded me in between dry heaves and wishing I was dead. They’re so sweet. The key here is to deny, deny, deny. Even if your friends present you with photographic evidence of said makeout (seriously, why am I friends with these people?) never stop denying it happened. You don’t know her. End of story.
So there you have it. Your survival guide for being single AF during wedding season. For those of you who are about to embark on this journey, stay safe out there, but more importantly—and I cannot stress this enough—stay drunk! Xo.
Images: Giphy (4)
Thanksgiving—or, as I like to call it: Dinner in Hell—is nearly upon us, which means soon not only will you have to pretend to like your mother’s gluten-free stuffing, but you’ll also have to put up with the black cloud that descends upon your family dinner table once a year in the form of your nosiest and most racist relatives. Gotta love the holidays! There’s nothing quite like trying to shove a second slice of pie down your throat while also having to explain to Aunt Sally that, yes, you’re still single and
getting ghosted by a guy who works at Radio Shack thriving. Luckily for you betches, I may have found a way for you to come armed to the emotional waterboarding party with some crazy material to f*ck with your Aunt Sally and any other relative who likes to hold the rolls hostage until you divulge your five year plan. And it comes in the form of 1950s dating advice.
Yes, 1950s dating advice. You see, the other day I was messing around on the internet and avoiding answering any emails that would require me to actually do something to earn my paycheck, when a friend sent me the most hilarious and batsh*t article I’ve seen in awhile (shout-out to @ Sweetest Betch You’ll Ever Meet for always coming through with the best internet trash!). Apparently, a woman randomly found a women’s magazine from 1958 with a cover story on “129 Ways To Find A Husband.” The 1950s dating advice ranges anywhere from “mildly frowned upon” to “I’m calling the goddamn police,” so naturally all 129 pieces of wild advice was posted onto the internet for the public to judge and ridicule. I encourage everyone to read the article in its entirety because it’s absolute GOLD, but since I don’t have all day to sit here and individually mock every piece of advice, I’m just going to list my favorites, mmkay?
“Read the obituaries to find eligible widowers.”
I know this seems aggressive to start out with, but this was literally #6 on the list. NUMBER SIX!! I don’t know what’s more suspicious: that ladies back in the day were showing up to other women’s funerals dressed like they’re about to sock hop right over their competition’s dead bodies to sleep with their newly singly husbands, OR that there were enough funerals happening for this to be commonplace advice. Either way, I’m
disturbed afraid to ask my grandma.
“Dropping the handkerchief still works.”
Here I was thinking Elle Woods was ahead of her time, when really betches have been perfecting the bend and snap since 1958. I prefer to emotionally masturbate over texts my ex sent me at 3am instead of using dating ploys that might physically and emotionally put myself out there, but, hey, to each their own.
“Wear a Band-Aid. People always ask what happened.”
Lol clearly the person who wrote this has never spent any time with the New York subway system. I’ve literally seen people sitting in their own feces ride from Bushwick to Midtown without a single person asking them “are you okay” or even “do you need me to call you an ambulance,” let alone actually hitting on them. I’m just saying.
“Don’t room with a girl who is a sad sack and let her pull you down to her level.”
First of all, I am the sad sack in the group and I find that statement personally offensive. I may or may not have earned the nickname “Moaning Myrtle” from my friends because instead of blacking out and taking home a hot stranger, I prefer to black out and request the DJ play “Wrecking Ball” while weeping into my vodka cran. BUT THAT DOESN’T MEAN I DON’T KNOW HOW TO HAVE A FUN TIME, OKAY.
“Go to all reunions of your high school or college class. There may be widowers there.”
Jesus. Again with the widowers. Though, if we’re being honest, this does feel like the most relatable piece of advice. Not the widower thing, but the part about the reunion being a good place to
make a romantic connection get laid. But instead of trying to bang the hot widower, it’s more like you’re trying to bang the hot boyfriend of the girl who told you gold hoops were her thing.
“Don’t be afraid to associate with more attractive girls; they might have some leftovers!”
Okay, wow. Reading this doesn’t at all make me want shove my head in an oven. I guess the people behind this list are trying to say that attractive people will be able to set you up with guys?? Lol. I don’t have one friend, attractive or otherwise, who has set me up with anything less than 2018’s Quasimodo. PLEASE.
“If he’s rich, tell him you like his money—the honesty will intrigue him!”
This is assuming that you can find a single, attractive guy whose net worth amounts to more than a six pack of Bud Light. Considering the last eligible man I encountered was the human equivalent of a crumpled bag of Doritos, I’m not optimistic that those men are even real. BUT assuming you can find one, then Venmo yourself $1,500 when you’re putting your number in his phone. Just to show him you’re serious!
And, finally, my personal favorite….
“Stand in the corner and cry softly. Chances are good that he’ll come over to find out what’s wrong.”
Funnily enough, this is actually my
strategy for dating state of being after 1am, and I can’t say that it’s gotten me anything other than a wide f*cking berth from the male gender. Except from the bouncers who like to come over and tell me I’m “killing the vibe.”
So there you have it, Aunt Sally. I’ll be doing my part this year by crying in the corner more often. Now, can you do your part and stop tagging me in Facebook posts about when you should give up and freeze your eggs? Thx.
Images: Shutterstock; Giphy (4)
Contrary to what this bipolar weather is telling us, warmer temps ARE allegedly on the way. That means that it’s time to give those pasty white limbs of yours a nice little bronze glow if you don’t want to blind everyone at the first day party of the season. So, if you’re opting for a spray tan to revive your post-hibernation skin (or you’re just feeling really inspired by Jersey Shore’s recent reunion), it’s important to know how to prep for a spray tan to get the most out of your bronzing session.
To avoid looking splotchy and all of the other not-so-well-known airbrush faux-pas, we consulted with the ultimate bronze betch: Heather Shaw, spray tan connoisseur, tanner to the stars, and owner of Heather Airbrush Tanning. Heather has two salons: one on Sunset Boulevard in West Hollywood, and a brand new NYC spot at 12 West 27th street in NoMad (open Wednesdays and Thursdays from 9am to 8pm). That means she’s the betch behind some of the best looking tans from coast to coast.
She told us everything you need to know about how to prep for a spray tan.
Before The Spray Tan
Betches: How long before the spray tan appointment should you shower/exfoliate/shave?
Heather Shaw: You should shower/exfoliate/shave with 24 hours of your appointment. If you have sensitive pores that are easily irritated by this preparation, do this prep earlier. Otherwise, right before the appointment or the morning of works.
I also suggest completing all other beauty services prior to your tanning appointment (if you can): nails, wax, eyelashes, hair, massages, facials, etc. It’s not mandatory, but don’t get a tan and go straight to a pedicure appointment and put your feet in the water. It’s a more common mistake than you’d think. If you’re getting your nails done after your tanning appointment, wait until the color has had time to develop (3-6 hours), shower first, and opt out of the extra sea salt massage scrub.
Any products that you should stay away from pre-appointment? (lotions, perfumes, etc.?)
Yes. Come fresh. No lotions, oils, makeup, deodorants or perfumes. Oils act as a repellant to the tanning solution because it is water-based. If you’re coming straight from work and you didn’t have a chance to shower off your morning moisturizers, you can wipe off any remnants of beauty products with a baby wipe. If you want to tan your face but keep your makeup on, the product may not develop completely or evenly. Try to wash makeup off prior to tanning application for maximum results.
What should you wear to the appointment?
It’s best to have dark, comfortable, loose-fitted clothing to change into after the appointment. Flip flops are best, but for those that have to wear shoes and socks, try to remove them when you get home.
Sunless tanners develop by science of oxidation, so they need oxygen to breathe and develop evenly. Ideally, no tight jeans or yoga pants with tight inseams immediately after application. Also, no bra for at least an hour. The tight elastic bands can suffocate the product, resulting in an uneven development.
However, disclaimer: I’ve had clients break all the above rules and still get away with a great, natural looking tan.
During The Apointment
What should you wear during the appointment? Can you go completely nude?
Most girls tan nude because they want to get rid of tan lines (and look skinnier). For those that prefer a tan line, I suggest a solid string thong. If you wear hanky panky lace bottoms, be sure to fold the material in half so the tanning solution doesn’t penetrate through the lace and give you a lacey tan line that looks like a skin disease. (Yes, it has happened.) It ruins any illusion of the airbrush tan looking natural.
Industry standard is that men wear something minimal for the tanning process. Boxers, briefs, speedos—or a professional tanning garment for the “no tan line” effect—basically, a sock with a drawstring.
How should you stand/position your arms/legs?
When facing the back, if you’re like most girls, you get a little bikini “smiley face” at the top of your thighs if you don’t relax your knees or lift your hips (aka your bum). Be sure to do one or the other so the technician can tan this natural crease (Basically, slightly squat).
Keep your hands out of the way when your legs are being tanned so they don’t catch overspray and discolor your palms (prayer position works great to keep your shoulders relaxed and your hands safe).
Thoughts on wearing hair nets? Disposable underwear? etc.
Hairnets = yes. Disposable underwear = no. Unless you want bronzer in your hair, wear a shower cap (especially for clients with lighter hair tones). But if you don’t wear a shower cap, it’s not the end of the world.
I’m blonde and do a million tans a day without wearing a shower cap. However, when I get a blowout, tanning solution certainly washes out of my hair. So, with that being said, I might also suggest that the technician wear a shower cap if they’re taking clients back-to-back in an enclosed space.
I’m not a fan of disposable underwear. They’re so thin and flimsy, and the tampon string size bikini line they create looks cheesy and un-natural to me. I’d suggest going nude over wearing them.
After The Appointment
How long should you wait to use any products? Shower?
I would wait a minimum of 2-3 hours to shower, but the most common suggested time for a client that wants more developed color would be about 6-8 hours. That is, unless you’ve been tanned with an “express” product where you can technically shower within 1-2 hours. Personally, I’m not a fan of the express products. They are so oversaturated with bronzer that you leave the appointment looking like you’ve just been dipped in chocolate (you should not be seen in public).
I prefer a more natural application with delicate bronzer so you can get dressed and go about your day instead of having to hibernate before your first shower.
If you use a darker product with a higher percentage of DHA (aka dihydroxyacetone, the active ingredient that interacts with amino acids in dead skin cells to produce a brown color change), you can shower sooner because it will develop faster. , I wouldn’t wait longer than 24 hours to shower. Editor’s Note: Ya nasty.
If you get your tan in the evening and wish to sleep in it, don’t sleep nude. Sweat and movement will leave bronzer remnants in your bed. Although it washes out, I would suggest wearing comfortable loose-fitted clothing to bed, then rinse the product off when you wake up.
As for beauty products and makeup, you can wear powders and eye makeup right away, but I don’t suggest using any face lotions, creams or sunblock until the product has had a little time to develop. You chance kaleidoscoping the tan before it’s had time to develop. The face usually develops quickly, so for some clients, they wash their face after 1-2 hours, then apply a full face of makeup for going out.
Any products you should stay away from to make sure the spray tan lasts longer?
YES: glycolic or salicylic acid, acetone, and most acne or bleaching cleansers/exfoliators. Tanning solution only develops on the top layer of skin, so it’s only going to last as long as the top layer of skin lasts on average 7-10 days. Any activity that exfoliates or removes the top layer of skin will result in a potentially splotchy looking fade. Use all-natural products in the shower and avoid cheap cleansers.
Any products you should use to make sure the spray tan lasts?
Use all-natural, water-based moisturizers and drink lots of water. Dehydrated skin is the #1 cause of an uneven fade.
Can you workout the morning after a spray tan?
Yes! But shower FIRST. Don’t go to SoulCycle wearing bronzer sweating from head to toe (not a good look).
Can you still get tanned by the sun with a spray tan?
Yes! Tanning products don’t protect from UV exposure, so maintain sunscreen applications. Using a natural, oil-free SPF is best.
Any other tips/tricks to know?
Take quicker showers, and avoid steam rooms, saunas, and long visits in the hot tub . Most clients get away with swimming in pools and the ocean on vacation, but chlorine is a strong chemical that can make the tan fade sooner than expected if you have prolonged exposure.
If you like to work out, don’t wear the tightest sports bras that pull and tug and take the tan off with it. Wear bralettes or more breathable activewear.
Lastly, airbrush tanning is an art. Do your research and hire a good artist. Someone who understands the subtle details involved in a natural application so you don’t end up with overly tanned hands, feet, wrists, ankles, and armpits. At the end of your appointment, detail the inside of your palms, wrists, and cuticles with a baby wipe to remove any potential overspray.
Images: Giphy (3), Unsplash (1)
One of the most debated topics of our lifetime is whether or not blondes have more fun. While that answer is yet to be determined, there’s no question that the damage and maintenance that blondes have to put up with just to maintain their hair color is literally zero fun. But since it’s spring, you’re most likely itching to lighten your locks so your “beachy waves” (that didn’t actually come from the beach) have that sun-kissed look. Your colorist is most likely stocking up on bleach and tubes of blonde dye as you read this, because no one in their right mind uses Sun-In anymore. But before you try to take your darker winter hue to platinum blonde in one sitting à la Kim Kardashian, it’s important to know how to bleach your hair. Because you’re, like, a smart blonde who doesn’t want to fry off their precious strands.
1. Condition, Condition, Condition Before (And After) Your Appointment
Since stripping color from your hair is also v drying, prepping with hydrating and nourishing hair masks pre and post-appointment is important. Hydration, as per usual, is king if you want to learn how to bleach your hair. Reach for a powerful mask that will repair and protect, like Christophe Robin’s Regenerating Mask with Rare Prickly Pear Seed Oil. The mask smells like a legit pear (in the best way possible), and it’s intense. The mask repairs, nourishes, and moisturizes hair while adding shine and protecting it from further breakage.
2. Don’t Have Absurd Expectations
Listen, bleach is harsh on your hair. It raises the strands’ cuticle scales, allowing loss of moisture and elasticity. If you’ve been coloring your hair black with box dye from Duane Reade all winter long, it’ll be even harsher on your hair. The point is, don’t expect for your colorist to be able to take you all the way platinum in one salon appointment. If your colorist is worth a shit they’ll understand that, so it will take a few sessions to take darker hair to a lighter color. Like Aristotle or Ja Rule or some sports guy said, “trust the process.” Aka, be patient with the lightening process so you can maintain healthy, hydrated hair.
3. Prepare To Invest In Color Preserving Products
Bleached hair is extra porous, making it susceptible to brass, fading, and dullness. If you want to maintain that bright $400 hue, opting for color preserving purple shampoos and conditioners is key.
4. Virgin Hair Processes Faster
Just like the first time you had sex, the first time you bleach virgin hair, things will happen really fast. But seriously, virgin hair processes the fastest, so if you haven’t previously colored your hair, expect for the appointment to take less time than you might expect. Speed is great when you learn how to bleach your hair, but maybe not so much for that other first time. The best part? Bleaching your virgin hair will probably be a lot less awkward then when you lost your virginity to your chemistry lab partner in your parent’s basement.
5. Be Gentle With Your Hair Post-Appointment
As mentioned, bleach is extra harsh on your hair. So lay off being super aggressive with hot tools and brushing in the days following your appointment, because that’s when it’s most susceptible to damage.
6. Just Like You, Maintenance Can Be A Real Bitch
If you have naturally dark hair and you want to go super blonde, you should know that there will be times between hair appointments where your roots will be very obvious. If you’re down to rock the whole Courtney Love heroin-chic look circa 1993, then have at it. But if you’re a psycho OCD betch like myself who can’t stand the sight of regrowth, you should think twice before committing to going super blonde.
Images: Shutterstock; Giphy (6)
Betches may receive a portion of revenue if you click a link in this article and buy a product or service. The links are independently placed and do not influence editorial content.
Your eyebrows can completely change your face if they aren’t done correctly. This is why we spend so much on waxing, threading, and fuck-all else to try to look like sultry beauties and undo the damage of 2002-era sperm brows that will never grow back. Especially if you have chronic RBF (same), get your eyebrows looking good so you don’t look so angry and get rid of that fucking unibrow. Styling your brows is actually based on a formula that anyone could follow. So save your money and do this shit yourself to shape your brows from now on.
To shape your brows, follow these guidelines. Just hold up your eyebrow pencil (or whatever) to see the straight lines. Then, you’re gonna take a bunch of measurements. The first measurement is how far your eyebrows should go in. We used to be so afraid of unibrows (tbh, fair) that we severely overplucked, and our sad eyebrows now start waaay too far apart from each other. For the chic brows we see everywhere now, your eyebrows should start lining up from the outside of your nostril.
If you have a giant schnoz that Daddy wouldn’t pay to fix, please adjust accordingly.
Pluck everything in between these lines. If your eyebrows don’t meet these lines, this is where you need to fill them in. It may seem unnatural at first, but let this part grow out to make your brows look thicker and fierce.
The next measurement is where your brows should arch. If you’re looking straight ahead, it is a line from your outer nostril to the outside of your iris to your brow. This is should be the highest point of your arch. You can make it subtle or dramatic, but this is where it needs to go. After this line, your brow should start sloping down, lest you look evil or perpetually surprised.
The last measurement is where your eyebrows should end. I had disgusting Gwen-Stefani-in-the-90’s brows in high school, so I have to color mine in to get the end bit of it. Ugh.
This is from the outer nostril to the end corner of your eye and up to your brow. Wherever that meets, that is where your brow should end. Unless you’re Chewbacca, you probably don’t need to pluck beyond this point, but if you need to fill it in, we have some options. Now that you know where your eyebrows are supposed to go, if they don’t quite make the cut, you can use either a brow pencil or brow powder. And because I assume you’re utterly helpless if you’re reading this article, I’ve taken the time to select some of the best brow products for you. I know, I’m such a good friend.
Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Wiz
The Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Wiz is the best pencil I’ve ever tried. It’s waterproof, highly pigmented, and doesn’t smudge off to make you look like a dirty homeless person halfway through the day. When filling in your brows, use short, quick strokes to mimic hair and then use the little brush on the end to blend out harsh lines. You especially need to blend the inner side of your eyebrows (where they start) to make them look natural.
If you want a more subtle brow, get yourself an eyebrow powder. Do NOT use eyeshadow. Eyeshadow is supposed to blend, meaning the second your nasty forehead oil begins, your eyebrows will straight-up melt.
Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Powder Duo
This brow powder is also waterproof, smudgeproof, and creates a more natural brow if you don’t need a lot of coverage. Just make sure to use a brow brush to smudge out at least the start of the brows. Use a clean mascara wand or something like this:
Sephora Collection Classic Double Ended – Filler & Spoolie #208
Lastly, if you want your brows to be dark, thick, and straight-up bulletproof, use a gel pomade like this:
Anastasia Beverly Hills DIPBROW™ Pomade
You will die with perfect eyebrows, as this shit never comes off.
Now you have no excuse to walk around with sad little spermy brows. Get out there and get your shit together.
Images: Author (3), Sephora (4)
Betches may receive a portion of revenue if you click a link in this article and buy a product or service. The links are independently placed and do not influence editorial content.
As a gym-goer (you cannot visit this site without being a member of a gym that costs almost as much as your monthly rent), you’re surely aware of the CrossFit-ization of our once-great nation’s fitness fanatics. This is largely bad, because it’s caused many a dork to delude himself into thinking that exercise is a sport in and of itself, despite their newfound quadriceps making them no better at hitting a baseball or sinking a free throw than they were back when they were getting picked last for grade school kickball. There is, however, one silver lining: the rise of “functional fitness,” i.e., exercises that actually get you in better shape.
Now, everyone’s living that #squatlife, even novices. Which is great! But for people just starting out, it’s sometimes wise to work up to an exercise before loading up a couple hundo’ on the olympic platform and deadlifting until you shit out your own colon. Those people can gently introduce themselves through modified exercises, colloquially called “modifiers.” This is also great , but the problem is that not all modifiers are created equal. I’ve put together a list of popular “functional” exercises, the most common modifiers, and better alternatives for people who want to get Khloé Kardashian’s bod without the ass injections.
Before there was such a thing as “plank,” everyone else knew it as “the top of a fucking push-up.” With your body taut, feet together, and your hands underneath (and roughly as wide as) your shoulders, lower yourself until your chest jussssst touches the ground, and push back up (hence the name!). It’s a great way to build strength and endurance in your chest, shoulders, and triceps, and it involves core and stabilizing muscles in ways that machines and even free weight exercises don’t. Unfortunately, because God knew damn well that men would be insecure as hell, he blessed us with naturally superior upper-body strength that makes these a breeze—but lots of women might find them difficult.
Bad: Partial/Kneeling Push-Ups
I don’t mind knee push-ups, which I’ll get to in a second. The bigger problem is that I’ve noticed some trainers/online fitness idiots recommending women instead do push-ups on their feet, only going “as far as they can,” i.e., about halfway. This is bullshit. You wouldn’t do half a squat, half a bicep curl, or give half of a hand job and declare it “the same as the real thing,” would you? I sincerely hope not, otherwise you are WEAK and/or bad company in uncrowded movie theaters.
Better: Elevated Push-Ups
The key with push-ups is that they get harder the smaller the angle between your body and the ground gets. Ergo, instead of doing 15 half push-ups and fucking off to the juice bar or whatever, find a way to elevate your hands. Every gym has some of those aerobics platforms for old ladies that you can stack about 18 inches high. If that’s still too hard, grab a weight bench or even a low wall and perform the motion with good form. As you get stronger, lower the platform. Kneeling push-ups should actually be your last step on this journey. Basically, if you can perform 15 or so push-ups at your current level of assistance, it’s time to lower your angle. There’s still a decent jump from kneeling to actual push-ups, in which case it’s totally fine to start out on your toes and drop to your knees as needed to finish the set.
Ah, squats. They’re the foundational exercises for every THOT who gets fired from Panera and decides they’re going to start a #fitspo Instagram—and tbh, they should be foundational for everyone. Resting a weighted bar across your shoulders as high up as your trapezius muscles will allow, stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and toes pointed slightly out. Drop your butt back and down, feeling as though there’s a string pulling your head upward as you drop your ass as low to the ground as possible. Get the crease in your hips at or below your knees before extending from your heels back to full height. It’s a MONSTER exercise for your entire lower body, but not everyone is ready to step into a squat cage with all those meatheads flexing and milling about. Plus, even just the 45-pound bar can be a lot for newbies, and a lack of trapezius muscles can make it uncomfortable.
Bad: The Sled/Leg Press
This is that big contraption where you lay down in a recumbent position near the ground, using your legs to push the weight out and away from you. You feel like an absolute GOD on this machine, because even fairweather gym-goers can put up solid weight. The problem? It fucking sucks. For starters, it’s the opposite of “functional”—of course you can push a lot of weight when you’re braced against something solid, but do you envision a situation where you’ll ever be lying on your back and have to leg-press a Toyota? I sure hope not. What’s worse, it can genuinely and sincerely fuck up your back six ways from Sunday. Do you want to spend the rest of your life walking around like that? Hell no.
Better: The Hack Squat
I’m tempted to include dumbbell squats here too, because there’s nothing wrong with those as exercises on their own. But if you really want to prepare for the squat cage, the hack squat machine is your friend. It’s that machine usually located somewhere near the leg press that looks like a medieval torture device, except it’s anything but. Load on an experimental amount of weight, settle your shoulders into the cradle, and use the levers to unlock it. Making sure you place your feet so that your knees don’t extend too far out over your toes, lower yourself as low as possible, just like a real squat. The beauty is that it does a much better job of simulating the movement, and if you get stuck it’s easy to lock the machine and bail out (plus, everyone’s too busy herniating their spines on the sled so it’s always open). It’s kinda tough to determine how much weight you’re pushing because of the angle, but I’d say that if you get to a point where you can do 8-10 good hack squats with 100 pounds on the rack, you’re ready to move to the cage.
I probably don’t need to explain pull-ups too much: grab onto a bar/rings/the skid of the helicopter with which terrorists are trying to abduct the president, and pull yourself up until your chin reaches or passes the bar. There are any number of hand positions you can use to make the exercise easier or harder, but that’s not the point. The problem is that I would wager most men can’t do more than one or two pull-ups, to say nothing for how hard it is for most women. Honestly, you may never be able to do more than one, if any. But that’s ok! It’s still a goal to work towards.
Bad: Lat Pull-Downs
This is the rig usually found on the end of a larger cable machine: a seat with pads to hold your knees in place, with a pulley above with a bar that you pull down to your collarbone (or behind your head, if you’re feeling spicy). Like a lot of modifiers, there’s nothing inherently bad about it—it is, in fact, a great way to strengthen your lats, and your lats are a big part of a pull-up. But it does fuck-all to simulate a pull-up, and that’s what we’re after here. We can do better.
Better: Assisted Pull-Ups
There are two mechanisms for this, and they’re kind of a progression. The first (and easiest) is a machine specifically designated for assisted pull-ups: select an amount of assistance to counteract your own body weight, either step or kneel onto the assist bar/platform (depending on the design), and get to pull-uppin’. Even in machine form it’s better than a lat pull, because you’re moving your body through space. It’s also closer to how your body actually moves on a bar, i.e., no excessive leaning back like you see people do on the lat pulls. The second option is to use a pull-up assist band (or collection of bands) on a by-God pull-up bar: attach the band according to the instructions, rest your knee or foot in the loop, and do pull-ups as the elastic gives you a little boost. This is just like doing real pull-ups, because your body can swing freely just as it would with no assistance at all. Real talk, if 6-8 band-assisted pull-ups are as far as you ever get, you’re still doing better than 90% of the population. No shame in that game.
If squats are the NY style pizza of exercises (iconic, foundational, and unimpeachable), then deadlifts are Chicago deep dish—similar yet a little different, but no less important. With an olympic bar at your feet, stick your butt out and squat down as far as you need to grab it with extended arms. Then, keeping your chest high and your back straight, again feel that string pulling your head up as you push through your heels back to upright. The bar should ride jusssttt in front of your shins, and finish on your thighs. It’s not entirely un squat-like, but a) you aren’t squatting as deep, and b) because the weight is in front of you, it works the back of your body more—specifically the glutes, hamstrings, and lower back. It does, however, present similar challenges to squats: big scary weights and the people who use them, and discomfort (this time, in the form of potentially skinning your shins with the bar).
Bad: The Hex Bar
If you’ve ever worked with a trainer, you may have used this device. A closed hexagon with extensions for barbells on either side, you step into it, reach down and grab the handles, and then do your deadlifts that way, avoiding unpleasantness like the olympic platforms and skinned shins. Easy, right? Wrong. While the hex bar is great for big dudes who want to do shrugs, it’s no good for deadlifts because you’re not doing a deadlift at all—because the bar moves the weight from in front of you to in-line with your center of gravity, what you end up doing is a glorified dumbbell squat. A fine exercise, but not what we’re after here.
Better: Stiff-Legged Dumbbell Deadlifts
I’m breaking the theme here because this doesn’t exactly mimic an olympic deadlift, but remember what a deadlift is supposed to work: the hamstrings, glutes, and lower back. The only reason a regular deadlift involves the quads is because you have to squat down to pick it up without fucking up your back, but there’s no need to do that to hit the core areas. Grab a couple of reasonably heavy dumbbells (IDK, in the 20-pound range to start?), and stand with them in front of your thighs, palms facing in. Let the air out of your knees (i.e., don’t lock them out, but don’t bend them either), and bend from the waist, moving your butt out and back and keeping your back straight, feeling like your chest is high. The dumbbells should track pretty close to your legs the whole time, as they would if you were doing these with a bar. To start, you might want to do these sideways in front of a mirror—watch yourself, and as soon as you see your lower back start to round, that’s as far as you can go. You’ll be able to go deeper as your hamstrings stretch and get stronger, but for now take it slow. You should feel your quads brace as you go down, but on the way back up you should feel a deliberate pull from your glutes and hamstrings. I think if you get to a point where you can do a few sets of 10 reps with 35- to 40-lb dumbbells in your hands, you’re more than ready for the bar.
This girl actually goes a little too far, note how her back starts to round.
Whether you just got home from work or you’re too hungover to open the door for your Seamless guy, making it to the gym isn’t always priority number one. In fact, most of the time, it’s pretty much last on the list, if it’s even making the list. There’s no better feeling than getting a sick workout, but getting there is obv the hardest part. It’s like how you know having friends would enrich your life, but following through on plans is almost impossible in all circumstances. Here are some ways to get off your ass and get to the gym when you’re just not feeling it:
1. Put On Workout Clothes
As soon as you wake up, put on your sports bra and your favorite Lulu leggings. By starting off the day in your workout clothes, you’re more likely to go than if you were to put on jeans and make yourself change later on. Betches tend to wear workout clothes everywhere we go anyway, so it shouldn’t be that hard. I mean, there’s always a chance we’ll make it to the gym anyway, so might as well wear our SoulCycle tanks to brunch and a movie just in case.
2. Book a Class
Classes are expensive AF and they usually don’t let you cancel, unless you literally put on an Oscar-winning performance over the phone while trying to explain the deathly illness you woke up with. Booking a class makes you accountable for actually going to work out, so pay for the credit and book front row. You might start regretting it on Sunday morning when you can’t even see straight and have a spin class in half hour, but you’ll be happy about it in the end. Probably.
3. Make Plans With a Friend
This is another trick to keep you accountable, but make sure you’re making plans with a friend who will actually encourage you to go to the gym- not the friend that will FaceTime you in bed with a bag of pretzels to say she’s bailing too. Find a friend that’s slightly psycho about the gym, and make concrete plans to work out together. Not only will the workout suck less, but you’ll also feel bad about being too lazy to show up because someone’s waiting for you.
4. Make a Playlist
There’s nothing worse than showing up to the gym just to start scrambling through random Spotify playlists and ending up in some Taylor Swift HIIT Pop category because you weren’t prepared. Make yourself a sick playlist beforehand that you’ll actually be excited to listen to. Plus, it might make you stick around the gym a few minutes longer if you have good songs to listen to. Just make sure you remember your headphones. I mean, no one should have to listen to heavy breathing and awkward panting while working out.
5. Bribe Yourself
There’s nothing like a good bribe to get yourself to the gym in the morning. Whether you’re punishing yourself with the whole “no social media until after the gym” rule or you’re just planning a bomb post-workout meal, bribing yourself to work out really works. Like, it’s a bribe. If it worked in high school when our parents got us a car for doing well on our SAT’s, it can work now too.
6. Have a Plan
Showing up to the gym without a plan is a mistake for so many reasons, but having a plan will also just motivate you to go. If you know exactly what you’re going to do once you get there, you’ll be more likely to get your shit together and make it to the gym so you can get through the workout you planned for yourself. Think about it. If you show up without a plan, you’ll just end up wondering aimlessly from machine to machine, counting down until it’s been an acceptable amount of time before you leave. Show up with a legit plan, whether you write it in your phone or just have it in your head.
7. Tell Everyone
Everyone pretends they don’t pay attention to social media, but then again, we all took a work-from-home day to follow the Rob and Chyna fiasco, so people are obv paying attention. Posting about your plans to work out might be the key to actually working out. I mean, no one hates that annoying gym selfie girl more than us, but sometimes, you gotta take your shit to social media if it means going through with it. Like, if 105 people already viewed your Snapchat story, you’re in too deep to bail now.
READ: The Hangover-Proof Full Body Workout
By now, you’ve probably figured out that this weekend is the season premiere of Game of Thrones. Whether one of your roommates is randomly obsessed with it or you’ve been pretending to care so your hookup thinks you’re cool, the time has come once again for you to pretend you give a fuck about dragons and horses and shit. It will be unavoidable, and you will hate your life. Here’s what you need to do so you don’t feel like an absolute idiot for the next ten weeks, apart from just buckling down and binge-watching all the episodes in one night.
1. Read The Wikipedia Page
Learn some of the characters. Not like all of them, oh God no, but just a few that you could throw into a conversation if you really get cornered. Daenerys is the badass chick with the dragons, and Tyrion is the really short guy. Cersei was hot but she got a fugly haircut, so we don’t love her as much anymore. Jon Snow is hot and came back to life. Sansa is annoying AF. Got it? You’re doing amazing sweetie.
2. Prepare Another Topic Of Conversation
Naming a couple characters is useful, but don’t be afraid to change the topic if you get in over your head. For example, there is never a wrong time to talk about Beyoncé’s twins, and your coworkers will no doubt have plenty to say about her name choices. Other safe topics include sports (if you’re into that kind of thing), Russia, and The Bachelorette. Who cares about dragons? Let’s talk about Dean’s favorite kind of dinosaur!!
3. Distract Yourself
That should cover things when people are talking about the show, but what if someone makes you actually watch it? If you have to go to a watch party you should be okay, just because the other people there will have their eyes glued to the screen so you can text in peace. If someone makes you watch an episode one-on-one, pick a couple songs you really like so you can just play them over and over in your head. It’s practically like going to therapy, you’ll love it.
4. Prepare Your Excuses
This brings us to the most important thing: if someone finds out that you don’t watch GoT, you must have a solid excuse ready to go. Here’s our recommendation: “I realllllly want to watch it, I just want to give it the time and attention it deserves, and I haven’t gotten around to it yet.” That way, you’re not making it sound like you don’t want to watch it, you’re just saying that you were too busy in the last six years to literally find any time. Sounds right.
So stay strong this weekend betches, and don’t let anyone peer pressure you into watching a show that makes you want to carve out your eyeballs with a large sword. We’ll get through this together.