As Featured on News Cult: Why It’s OK to Fail

Failure is our middle name. It’s the one thing we’re successful at. And generally, we’re taught that failure is bad, and we should avoid it and be ashamed of it. But I actually think there isn’t anything that’s more human than failure; and that’s why we shouldn’t run away from it, but should accept it. Embrace it. Failure is a flaw, and more than anything else, humans are imperfect.

Imperfection is hard to come to terms with–I often find myself debating what the meaning of ‘imperfection’ even is. Like, is to be imperfect to unknowingly and unintentionally make mistakes and fail? And if so, is the caveat that you have to learn from those failures and not repeat them in order to maintain the title of “imperfect”? And if you don’t, you’re no longer imperfect, but, rather, malicious, or evil, or at the very least, intentionally “bad”? (In which case we’re SOL because we’re experts at making the same mistakes repeatedly). I don’t get it. But every time I find myself coming to the same confused lack of conclusion, I remind myself that maybe that’s the point–maybe not knowing is the point. Maybe not knowing is imperfection and imperfection is not knowing. Not knowing what to do, what is right and wrong, what is good and bad. But just going through it all regardless.

All this is to say that imperfection, including failure, is natural and a painfully inescapable part of the process of living. And maybe the less we fight against it, the less we’ll fail. Think about it–if you’re drowning, and kicking and desperately grasping, you lose strength and breath more quickly than if you try to remain calm and get your head above water. If you’re failing, stop resisting it so much, and you may find that good things follow. I hate to get all zen because I am by no means a calm person and generally get like Charlie Sheen bad when anyone tells me to calm down, but I kind of really believe that an accepting, serene approach to things is the way to live.

Not to mention that failure is a great way to build character. It’s such a cliché, but you learn so much from failing. Like I learned that physics is the Devil’s magic when I failed the test I spent endless hours studying for and totally thought I fully comprehended in my Advanced Physics class my junior year of high school. And when I got caught stealing a shot of my dad’s expensive whiskey when I was 15, I learned to always go for the vodka because you can more easily replace it with water. Or like when all of my relationships failed I learned to never date again and welcome the reality prospect of dying alone.

See, failing is super normal, nbd, and you really gain more from it than you lose. And also whose standards are we following anyways? Who decides what is success and what is failure? Like, my doctor and society at large may say I failed at my diet, but another possibility is that I succeeded at not losing weight. Or just because your state government says you have to pass standardized testing doesn’t mean you’re not smart enough if you don’t. Remember a little someone named Einstein who failed 4th grade? Or at least that’s what I’ve heard but haven’t actually fact checked? Need I say more? Ok I’ll say more: another great example is vision tests. 20/20 seems like an awfully subjective number to me..

The point is, it’s really OK to fail–whatever that means for you. Sure, there may be certain boundaries here. Like, maybe saying that you failed to not pull the trigger isn’t the best excuse to get you off the hook for shooting someone. But short of extreme cases like that, failure is subjective and fluid and uncertain and just the way it goes. So settle in, stop fighting it, and get ready to fail. A lot. And then fail some more. And then pass on your failure genes to your children, and your children’s children. Unless you fail to conceive. Which, like, isn’t really your fault except that you have weak sperm and/or a really hostile uterus and I don’t blame your nonexistent child, I wouldn’t want to spend 9 seconds, let alone 9 months, inside of you.

Featured on News Cult: http://newscult.com/?p=69881

As Featured on News Cult: The Best Things About Fall

Fall is upon us. Which means lots of good things. Namely:

1. More excuses to stay inside

And do nothing. This, obviously, is the sole purpose of cold weather. Of course we do this year round anyways, but when fall rolls around, we dare people to tell us we’re depressed and need to get out more and we should try exercising! and maybe need to see someone about this and this isn’t normal and why don’t we get out of bed it’s a little concerning.

2. Warm beverages

Cider, pumpkin spice lattes, hot chocolate, hot toddy’s, Everclear in your morning coffee–you name it!

3. Halloween

A socially acceptable reason to eat a (XL) pillow case of candy.

4. No need to shave our legs

Leggings Pants on leggings pants on leggings pants on leggings pants.

5. Thanksgiving

In other words, an occasion on which to fall into a food coma after consuming endless carbs. Which to us is just a regular Friday night, but on this glorious day we can do it around other people without pretending to worry about their criticisms.

6. Carving pumpkins

Great way to get out your aggression. Like, you get to stab something repeatedly and it’s considered a family-friendly activity.

7. Shorter Days

“Sorry, the sun goes down at 5:30, so I can’t come to your birthday party/dinner/baptism/concert/wedding/bar mitzvah/baby shower/funeral tonight.”

8. Cozy clothes

Translation: sweatpants. Again, nothing new for us, but thanks to the harvest season we have a sturdier defense against other peoples’ judgments.

9. Black Friday

Because you know where the majority of people will be–Walmart, Kmart, all the marts–and therefore where NOT to be.

Featured on News Cult: http://newscult.com/?p=69836

As Featured on News Cult: Self-Help Books: Let’s Discuss

But like we can all agree lol though right

We are in need of help; that’s been established. But the question is, what kind of help? Therapy? Alcohol? (Always) A Dr. Phil intervention? Or can we help someone help ourselves by way of self-help books? Honestly I’ve never felt like there’s been a discussion here–I’ve always LOL’d at self-help books and then moved on to my next self-destructive and/or self-loathing task. But I feel like several people I respect have used them in a non-ironic way and take them seriously, so maybe I need to take a step back and reevaluate. Oh god… they’re already getting to me.

But I mean seriously, aren’t self-help books a little cult-y? Like I feel like Tom Cruise walks around with a library bag full of them on the shoulder of his 2nd assistant, 24/7. And in between jumping on couches and denying his sexuality, he just has his 3rd assistant read them out loud to him. And he’s probably written them all, too; or had his 4th assistant ghost write them all. That’s the other thing–they seem self-indulgent to me. Who thinks they’re qualified enough to write a self-help book? Clearly, a narcissist. Who isn’t capable of maintaining a real profession in psychology or a related field. Self-help authors are like motivational speakers: they’re diet therapy. They’re the University of Phoenixes, the Kirkland Signatures, the You’d Think It’s Butter!’s.

But maybe I’m being too harsh. Maybe self-help books really can be valuable and serve a purpose. I feel like the more desperate you are, the greater lengths you’ll go to. So if your life is falling apart, hell, you’ll try anything. Even if that means buying a book entitled Who Moved My Cheese?: An Amazing Way to Deal with Change in Your Work and in Your Life by Spencer Johnson, M.D. (Aggressive move with the question mark-colon, Dr. Johnson–I daresay I commend you). And I guess I shouldn’t be judgy–like, whatever works for you. Why should I knock self-help books just because I think they’re cheesy, opportunistic, and absurd, if they improve people’s lives who don’t know any better?

But also, what if they’re not really helping people who think they’re being helped by them. Like what if they’re just training a bunch of sociopaths? Because let’s be real, people who are overly “spiritual” are just fucking weird and nobody wants to get stuck sitting next to them on the plane because then they’ll ask you if they can read you one of their tantric poem trilogies and you’ll be like “ok” because you won’t want to be rude but when it’s all over you’ll end up feeling like you’ve just had sex with Sting.

All I’m saying is that maybe people shouldn’t be in control of their own help. Maybe psychologists, and social workers, and drugs mental institutions exist for a reason. I mean when I hit rock bottom, I just eat a bunch of nachos and cry on my bathroom floor, so I don’t really get the need for self-help books. Besides the fact that they create jobs. Maybe that’s the whole point. Maybe they’re a government scheme, like prisons, to employ a bunch of hacks. In which case, we better watch out or the Mexicans are going to take over and start writing ALL the self-help books. Or, sorry–all the libros de autoayudas(?).

Featured on News Cult: http://newscult.com/?p=69611

As Featured on News Cult: The Best Comebacks

The haters gon hate, right? So we have to be prepared to hate on their hate. And hating is our specialty. With that in mind, here are the best comebacks to use in response to any insult or slight. #allpurposehating #wehateyourhatealldayerday

“Would you speak to your mother that way? Actually wait don’t answer that your mom’s probably a cunt.”

Somebody’s panties are in a twist. It’s like you’re wearing a thong. Are you wearing a thong? Is that what’s stuck up your ass?”

“Don’t you have a Sizzler buffet to destroy or something?”

“Well it just so happens that I hate me, too.”

“You’re someone who sells his or her body for money!”

^^follow up with: “And for not very much!”

“If I had a penny for every time I didn’t care about what you were saying, I would have at least one penny–for right now, this moment.”

“Have you always hated women or did your dick only recently shrink?”

“I’d rather get trapped in a stickup with Ben Carson than be here, with you.”

“If you were a cheese, you’d be Velveeta.”

^^follow up with: “Only you could ruin cheese!”

“You’re the worst. Like clearly it’s your fault Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner broke up.”

“Your mom is TERRIBLE in bed.”

“You’re like the red Starburst. No one wants you.”

“I prefer ‘cottage cheese thighs.'”

“If I were a busboy, and your waiter asked me to take an order of bread pudding with ice cream to your table of 6, I would assume it was for you.”

“You put the WHORE in HORRible.”

“Sorry, what was that? I can’t hear you over the endless stream of bullshit you’re spewing.”

“Blow me while falling off the tallest building in your vicinity and being offered the senior discount when you’re 40.”

“If you were a stripper, you’d get the 1 PM Tuesday shift. But only in towns with pop. < 22,000.”

“I just don’t understand why you’re being so rude. Did I offend you by asking a perfectly reasonable question? Did it hurt your feelings when I pointed out the inconsistencies in what you’re saying? Do you feel personally attacked by the fact that I hold you accountable? You’re acting like I rape-pillaged your mother while talking smack about your poorly designed website and taking a shit on your protein shake regimen.”

Featured on News Cult: http://newscult.com/?p=69099

As Featured on News Cult: How to Motivate Yourself to Get Out of Bed in the Morning

Getting out of bed in the morning  continues to be the biggest obstacle in my life, so I don’t really have answers here. But I have some ideas, born purely out of desperation. Here they are.

1. Convince yourself there’s a spider in your bed 

Literally the best way to light a fire under any ass at any given time in any given space.

2. Pretend you have something to get out of bed for

Like a life purpose? I mean we know those don’t exist, but just fake it. Pretend like your job is actually meaningful, or you have people you love (LOL). Or your pet! That’s the one true purpose you actually have–to be your pet’s life partner.

3. Keep the silver lining in mind

If you share your bed with someone, getting out of it in the morning means you get to get away from that person. 

4. Set an appropriate alarm

Don’t set a pleasant, calming tone, or a song you like. Set the worst possible noise you can think of. And then put it all the way across the room so you have to get out of bed to make it stop. E.g. record your nails across a chalkboard, or your mother’s nagging voice, or your boss asking you to do anything. And then loop it. There’s nothing more horrifying than waking up to your boss saying on repeat, “Can you write that report for me? I asked for it 4 weeks ago.”

5. Sleep until the last possible second

So you can get as many hours as possible, and will then be less tired so it’ll be easier to wake up. To make this easier, I suggest you sleep in your clothes for the next day, leave your breakfast for the morning by your bedside so it’s readily available to eat when you wake up, and go to bed no later than 8 PM.

6. Remind yourself of the consequences if you don’t get up

You’ll be fired from your job for not showing up, you’ll probably get bed sores from laying in bed all day and eventually your skin will just meld with the sheets, your parents will become concerned and suggest you get “help”–all things we don’t really care about, but would prefer not to be bothered with.

7. Remember what’s on the other side of your covers

FOOD. And COFFEE.

8. Don’t forget that you will be able to get back into bed eventually

The end of the day is the light at the end of your tunnel. Grasp it tight, and hold onto it as your beacon of hope. Think about how you’ll get home from work, immediately strip down to your underwear, plop into bed with a glass of wine and a burrito, plus a box of cereal, and a pie, and pretend the day you had didn’t just happen.

Featured on News Cult: http://newscult.com/?p=69077

As Featured on News Cult: Strip Clubs: Let’s Discuss

**EDS NOTE, GRAPHIC CONTENT**Dancers perform at Mons Venus down the street from Raymond James Stadium, site of Sunday's NFL Super Bowl XLIII football game, Wednesday, Jan. 28, 2009 in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

The last time I discussed this topic with someone, he told me to fuck off and his best friend Internet trolled me hard, so historically it has not been a peaceful one in my experience. But, not one to shy away from a subject just because a couple of psychos can’t handle it, I’m here to talk about it again. I think it’s a complex, important issue that warrants exploration; as Macklemore says, “there’s layers to this shit, player.”

On the surface, the conceit of strip clubs is ostensibly straightforward: they predominantly exist as a place for men to go see naked women. Presumably because they are sexually stimulated by naked women. And because they want to get together with their bros and bro it up while they’re being sexually stimulated (anyone else seeing homoerotic undertones here? Hmm, I wonder why that particular theme is missing from the strip club narrative…). And at strip clubs men are paying to see a certain type of naked woman. Meaning not their naked wife or girlfriend in their bedroom, or bathroom, or shower, or while she’s giving birth. And barring a pimp/ho situation, the women who are stripping choose to strip–they don’t have to be there and they like how much money they’re making. Seems simple enough, right?

Well it’s not. I hate to kill your hard-on, but strip clubs are about more than men going because they like boobs, and women stripping because they feel like it. They’re about the systematic oppression and objectification of women. Here’s why: while most female strippers are probably technically choosing to strip, meaning they’re not literally being forced to, they’re choosing to strip in the context of a society which promotes the objectification of women as not only acceptable, but preferable, desirable, and profitable. I’ve said it 1,000 times before and I’ll say it infinity times again: we don’t live in a vacuum. Meaning that our decisions cannot be solely independent of external influence and pressure. If a stripper popped out of the womb proclaiming “I’m going to strip!” then maybe I’d concede your point that strippers have as much agency as their patrons and society at large. But we all know that’s not what happens.

What happens is that girls are raised in this society and culture, which bombards them, via billboards, film, television, magazines, music, and advertisements, with the message that they need to look sexy for men, and be attractive to men, and their worth, as it’s dictated by men, lies in their physicality and sexuality. So they learn that if they succumb to this objectification, they’ll get ahead in life, personally and professionally. Enter: stripping. A job that pays you to sell your body, and pays you a lot. And reinforces the idea that if you look and act a certain way, you will be admired.

If stripping wasn’t such a lucrative job, I bet a lot of strippers wouldn’t be doing it, and it wouldn’t be so lucrative if our sociocultural model didn’t promote viewing women as sexual objects–lucky for us, two of the things we as a society hold dearest are material wealth and the subjugation of women. So strip clubs are part of a nice, self-sustaining cycle of oppression. It’s pretty fucking straightforward. Don’t feed me your bullshit lines about how strippers like to strip, and want to strip, and there’s nothing exploitative about it; zoom out and look at the bigger picture. When tested against the hard and fast truth that our society overwhelmingly exploits women, all the hot air leaves your argument and it deflates. Of course women are going to choose to strip if it’s the easiest, fastest way for them to get the money and validation they’re taught to desire and value above all else.

Since there seems to be no end of the patriarchy in sight, I propose we start hosting “dress ins”–protests at strip clubs where we go in, storm the stage fully clothed, and refuse to move until women are valued for more than their bodies. We’ll have female poets, artists, authors, lawyers, doctors, musicians, teachers, social workers, etc. who can talk about their jobs and life passions and what it really means to be valuable as a person, and open discussions about feminism. And we’ll knit clothes for the strippers. It’ll be the strip club-goer’s worst nightmare: having to appreciate women for their minds. Actually, that’s what we should all dress up as for Halloween–intelligent women who defy objectification. It’ll be the scariest thing most men have ever seen.

Featured on News Cult: http://newscult.com/strip-clubs-theyre-really-not-sexy-think/

 

As Featured on News Cult: What to Do When You Can’t Sleep

If you’re like me, your body and mind are in desperate need of sleep but can’t get it. You are to sleep what a starving child in India is to food. The only difference is they probably get plenty of sleep. Because their bodies are too malnourished to have the energy to sustain being awake. But still, we’re a little jealous. Like, given the choice, we would probably rather be them. 

So when you can’t sleep, which is always, here’s what you can do. 

Review your blacklist

Fuck counting sheep–count the people who you’re going to take down once you’re well-rested enough to hatch sensible revenge plans. Run over the list of people you abhor like a pedophile hates the thought of having sex with adults–the people who’ve wronged you, pissed you off, slighted you, or just generally would do better not existing–and fantasize about all the ways you could have vengeance. Whether that’s reporting them and their tax evasion to the IRS, or fucking their mother, or meticulously plotting their demise over a carefully thought out ten year plan such that The Hand that Rocks the Cradle has nothing on you–pick your poison (or actually it would be their poison since they’re the ones going down).

Watch TV

Or a movie. Doctors say this is bad for you because it’s too stimulating to your senses, which makes it even harder to fall asleep. But they’ve clearly never seen The King’s Speech. Or anything on Home Shopping Network.

Do your taxes

If you’re like me, you always get an extension and put them off to the last minute, so why not spend the time you would but can’t be sleeping doing something you have to get done? You’ll be so confused and perplexed by them that you’ll completely forget you can’t sleep, and before you know it it’ll be 6 AM and you’ll have made no progress but hey! it’s officially time to start the day so good news now you can’t sleep even if you’re finally tired enough and you have a whole entire workday ahead of you so if that’s not winning then I don’t know what is.

Drink

Because that’s always the answer.

Cry in a ball on the floor

As you know, this is my go to. There’s no problem, including sleep deprivation, that can’t be solved by commencing fetal position on the floor and just expressing yourself. Carpet, hardwood, tile, linoleum–whatever is available, we’ll take it. We can lie down in the middle of traffic if that’s the only option. Which we might do, depending on how things are going any given day. 

Scroll through Facebook

So you can feel really bad about your life in between the engagement, wedding, travel, and “I’m happier than you and have more friends than you and am better looking than you and generally have a better life than you” photos.

Read

Something that will put you to sleep. I’d recommend the Bible. Or the instruction manual for your Vitamix. Or that email from your aunt you’ve been putting off for 3 weeks because you just don’t really like her.

Call your mom

If you can’t sleep, why should she be able to either?

Think

About all the things you’ve done wrong, ways you’ve failed, everything and everywhere you want to be that you’re not, the missed opportunities, the things you feel guilty about, the things you don’t feel guilty about but should, how your sister is far more accomplished than you and is just generally more stable and your mom has 14 photos of her and her boyfriend on the fridge and just one of you as a child and like it’s not even a good photo of you, she totally caught your bad side and you just had really chubby cheeks as a kid which is something else to think about too, because you never really outgrew them.

Featured on News Cult: http://newscult.com/?p=68622

As Featured on News Cult: The Politics of Body Hair: Let’s Discuss

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It’s interesting how our culture politicizes even the most natural parts of humanity. Whether that’s pregnancy, sexuality, skin color or body hair, I’m not sure how or why things got that way–where every bit of a person’s body is open for scrutinization and up for interpretation–but they did, and we can’t escape it. I want to talk about the politics of body hair because I’m just fascinated by the fact that it’s such a small, minor, normal thing, yet has huge sociocultural and gendered implications.

First of all, we can all agree that body hair is natural. People can’t control their body hair–its thickness, texture, where it grows, how much of it grows, its color–any more than they can control how tall they are, or what gender they are born, or how much they eat. And obviously it serves some sort of evolutionary biological purpose. I don’t know, maybe eyelashes are supposed to protect your eyes from raindrops, or dust, or the end of a blow job. And maybe leg hair is supposed to be a shield against poison ivy, or any prospective suitors. Whatever it is, body hair is there for a reason. So it’s interesting that we insist on grooming and removing and waxing and shaving and cutting and molding it into something different–something unnatural.

Is that just because society decided somewhere along the way that certain styles and types of body hair are socially acceptable and others aren’t? It has to be, right? Body hair trends have changed over time in a way that only subjective, societally dictated trends can. Like in the 70s bush was all the rage, but now if you don’t get a Brazilian every 3 weeks you’re basically a leper.  God forbid you don’t shave your legs, or armpits–hairy arms? You should be quarantined! But noticing a trend here? Let me help you I AM–these rules generally only apply to FEMALES. What a SURPRISE. Sociocultural norms that oppressively define women? No way–get outta here! That can’t be!

Like, what else is new. It’s fairly straightforward–female body hair must look a certain way for women to be viewed as sexually attractive. And the times dictate what those ways are–it may have been bush in the 70s, and now it’s bare. But either way, the trends are female-centric and female-dominating. Sure, men may generally be looked at as kind of gross if they have a super hairy back. But in the heterosexual paradigm, men are allowed to have hairy legs, arms, armpits, even chests, and still be considered attractive. And body hair isn’t just acceptable for men, it’s encouraged. Especially facial hair. For example, beards on men are often considered a plus, especially in this age of Hipster invasion. If you’re a woman with a beard, though, or a moustache, then you’re not seen as a woman. You aren’t feminine enough, and therefore you aren’t sexy enough.

So you have to get to work to remove it. Make it nice and pretty, put a fucking bow on it, and then, and only then, can you be welcomed back into the physically attractive females club. And as much as I’d like to say I’m a warrior who fights this sexist hair removal mandate, I totally buy into it. But only for the sake of others. If I’m not having sex with or dating anyone, or wearing shorts or 3/4 leggings or a tank top, I don’t shave my legs or armpits, bleach my Greek moustache, put any effort into styling the hair on my head, or get a bikini wax. Because frankly I don’t give a damn when it’s just me. But if I’m having sex with or dating someone, or wearing clothes that show my legs or armpits, I shave and wax and groom and trim and bleach and blow dry. And it takes so. much. effort. Like, every time I shave my legs it’s such a feat that I feel like I never have to do it again. And then two hours later I’ve already got stubble.

And sure, there are exceptions to this–some men don’t care about female body hair, if not actually prefer more of it. But if I were a betting man, I’d say those guys are in the minority. And yet, I don’t have a solution. Besides openly defying the pressure to meet body hair standards. And the trade off there is then that you don’t get to partake in things that attractive/hairless people partake in–dating, having sex, being socially accepted. Which actually we don’t really care that much about anyways, so maybe we do just need to say fuck it–and let it grow. Because if someone isn’t going to want to be with us because of our body hair, they probably aren’t worth being with anyways.

So here’s my challenge to anyone, especially any women, reading this: think about why you groom your body hair the way you do. And if you come to the conclusion that it’s primarily because of external influences, stop doing it. Instead, do what naturally feels right and comfortable to you. And embrace that. Everything else will fall into place where it should when you accept yourself. Your TRUE self–which may be messy, hairy, and generally just not that put together–but you should love it anyways–and because of all of those things. And whoever you surround yourself with should love you despite and because of all those things too. Call me radical, unrealistic, weird, whatever–if you don’t like it, you can kiss my hairy, but empowered and self-loving, ass.

Featured on News Cult: http://newscult.com/?p=68316