Yes, you feel immediately terrible .003 seconds after thinking these things, but sometimes you just can’t help it. And sometimes you just wish that you could say it out loud.
1. “Sometimes I just wax/shave because I like the way it feels, and it happens to dovetail nicely with the patriarchy.”
2. “Quitting your job and just marrying a rich dude kind of seems like a life hack.”
3. “I am just not offended by this misogynist commercial/song/comedian, and do not have the energy to force myself to be so.”
4. “This Robin Thicke song is actually kind of catchy.”
5. “Damn, dude, sometimes I do dress for guys’ approval — I’M SORRY, OKAY?!?!”
6. “I wish I could be just one notch prettier so life could be one notch easier, and I will invest time and money attempting to make that a reality.”
7. “Cooking and re-organizing knick knacks all day seems like it actually might be pretty sweet.”
8. “I cannot hear that girl over her chipped-to-hell nails.”
9. “Sometimes I just want to forget it all and open up a mommy blog about naming my children Hudson and making cake pops with my initials written on them in frosting.”
11. “Damn, I actually do wish I looked like the women in the magazines.”
12. “[Sings along aggressively to lyrics about throwing money at hoes.]“
13. “This dude grinding on me does not respect me in the least, but whatever, I’m too twisted to care.” *Continues to grind whilst spilling vodka cranberry on self*
14. “Christoph Waltz looks like he knows his way around a good spanking, and I am 100 percent on board.”
15. “I identify with Betty Draper in some ways.”
16. “[Reblogs unattainable fitspo]“
17. “I make fun of girls who spend their lives on DIY Pinterest, but only because I am bleeding internally with jealousy at their feminine, effortless lifestyle.”
18. “There is a realness to the Sugar Daddy life that honestly seems much more appealing than slogging it out for this Master’s/corporate grind.”
19. “Sometimes living with guys is just easier, and has nothing to do with girls being catty, and everything to do with the fact that they steal your shirts/conditioner/tampons AND NEVER REPLACE THEM. DAMN.”
1. Make enough coffee in the morning for you to share it.
2. Get excited when there’s a special awards show on TV.
3. Refill the ice trays.
4. If they have a pet, feed Fluffy on nights when they’re stuck late at the office.
5. Do your dishes in a timely manner.
6. Wash the one cup they left in the sink when you’re doing your own dishes rather than leaving it to teach them a lesson.
7. Splurge on the high quality toilet paper when it’s your turn to buy supplies.
8. Go with them to confront the upstairs neighbor who is training tap-dancing elephants so at the very least, they’re not alone when the door is slammed in their face.
9. Help them move that piece of furniture they got on Craigslist up three flights of stairs and through a teeny pre-war door.
10. Help them craft articulately firm e-mails to your landlord when the hot water disappears.
11. Discovers new recipes that they’d enjoy, and make enough for the both of you to share.
12. Never leave the water pitcher in the fridge empty.
13. Reserve all judgment on those mornings when you encounter a stranger leaving the bathroom and heading back to their bedroom.
14. Help clean the apartment on an ongoing basis, and not just to save it from being condemned as a toxic waste zone.
15. Consult them on furniture or artwork purchases for common living areas.
16. Surprise them with little treats in the fridge you’ll know they’ll love for no other reason than just because.
17. Don’t just pay rent on time, but turn in the check before they even have to ask.
18. Stay up a little later to give them a pep talk or to listen to them talk out their problems.
19. Respecting that certain, sacred times of the day and night are reserved for their shows and never shall you ever interrupt them during that time.
20. If you borrow an article of clothing, return it washed and in a timely fashion.
21. Ask if it’s okay to have a friend sleep on the couch, even for a night.
22. Remember your key so that they don’t have to to return home and let you in.
23. Respect that there will always be a few things in the fridge that are absolutely and completely off-limits, but share a bottle of wine or a couple beers every now and again in the spirit of friendship.
24. Be there for them when they are heartbroken.
25. Leave notes and inside jokes around the apartment to make them smile.
26. If you’re ordering from Seamless, ask if they’d like something to eat, too.
27. Asking how their day was when they come home, and actually meaning it.
Because pedophiles are people too, and they deserve at least a sliver of the attention we afford to 20-somethings. Also, there’s like a 60% chance they’ll end up on TV (re: Dateline NBC)!
1. To achieve that dry-looking, scabrous skin so common to pedophiles, you’ll want to lay a pepperoni pizza flat on your face for 10 minutes RIGHT before going to bed. Don’t touch it, just let it soak. Then remove the pepperoni slices and rub them on your t-zones.
2. Find a pair of spectacles that look CVS-manufactured. Then bump up your prescription three notches so that your eyes give off a threateningly magnified and bulging effect when you lay eyes on your prey.
3. Wash your hair no more than twice a week, optimizing its stringy appearance and oil intake.
4. Wherever you go, travel in a windowless van.
5. You’re in the car a lot, driving across state lines to see the untouched body of a virgin boy—use it to your advantage! Open the sun roof and let your scalp burn. It will create this awesome itchy, flaky effect.
6. Pants-wise, either wear a pair of grey, stained sweatpants that highlight your boner or tight dungarees that hike up at your crotch.
7. But regardless of the type of pants you’re wearing, they MUST be four inches too long on you. This ensures that you trip and fall after Chris Hansen has let you go and the cops start to run after you.
8. Throw on your best pair of dirty, white tube socks and white, hospital-looking sneakers.
9. I can’t believe I even have to dictate this one, but always, always, ALWAYS keep candy on your person.
10. Make sure your lips are always chapped by constantly licking them and never applying chap stick. Eventually you will (hopefully) cause a deep crimson rash to form around your mouth as if you drank too much orange soda.
11. Your facial hair should have the coarseness of pubic hairs and should be sporadically strewn across your face, even bleeding down onto your neck and Adam’s apple. Ingrown hairs should adorn your cheekbones.
12. Try to keep your nails as uncouth as possible. Avoid cutting them with a nail clipper; instead, let them break off and become jagged, uneven edges. And of course, there should always be dirt lodged deep under your nail plates.
13. Pairs Hilton had her dog. Tupac had his bandana. You have Mike’s Hard Lemonade. Embrace it.
14. When attempting to ensnare your prey, use uncomfortable- and ominous-sounding words like “dear,” “child,” and “pussycat.”
You always wonder how you might react: calmly, a stony demeanor; screaming, rivulets of tears streaming down your face; praying, “Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee…” There I sat, seat 21D—the aisle seat which is clutch for airplane travel—as smoke poured into the cabin through every vent onboard. I pushed the home button of my iPhone and saw that it was just before 2 p.m. CST. My hands were numb but I pushed the shortcut to my mom’s cell phone. No service at 30,000 feet. “Call me ASAP,” I wrote, and pushed send. Delivery Failure.
Minutes early a thud had reverberated through the fuselage. Turbulence makes me queasy but not uneasy and I didn’t look up from the game of Solitaire I was intently, though fruitlessly, playing. The BANG and flash of light two minutes later gave me pause, however, and as I looked over the cabin to the wing at row 18 another flash lit up the plane. The engine was on fire. Smoke filled our cabin and women and men alike gasped and began pawing at the ceiling waiting for the oxygen masks they had been cheerfully told were located above their heads.
Boarding only half an hour earlier I had watched a man stand in the aisle and watch a mother struggle with her bags and her infant son without offering his assistance. Air travel is a drag: the name of the game is sitting in semi-conscious apathy until landing. The stewardess skipping you during beverage service is the ultimate insult. Life happens in a stupor as a metal tube hurtles passengers at 750mph through the sky and they wait to be able to click Airplane Mode off upon landing.
The smoke in the cabin dissipated slowly but that didn’t stop the middle-aged African-American women two rows behind me from ripping their life preservers out of plastic and huffing as they filled the yellow tubes with air. A baby cried as his mother clutched him to her chest, rocking back and forth, prayers slipping through her lips. A man in the last row began praying out loud, calling on his Lord, telling God that today could not be the day he met his maker. All air travel etiquette abandoned: phones buzzed and rang as my fellow passengers reached out to those they love. Paralyzed, I studied my phone, not a tear in my eye, willing Verizon to send a text message, trying to reach my mom and my best friend from my aircraft as it sunk.
As stewardesses ran up and down the aisle my phone buzzed. “What?! Okay, it’s fine. They’ll get y’all taken care of. I love you.” The plane lurched: limping on one engine, smoke still lingering above our heads, we sunk to 25,000, 20,000, 18,000 feet. One hand on the shoulder of the elderly man across the aisle and one hand grasping the leg of the Ethiopian women to my right, I closed my eyes. Calmly positioned in 21F my seat companion began to explain aerodynamics. Middle-aged and bearded, wearing a picnic-plaid button down, he reminded me of someone I know and trust. He began to detail, precisely, why we were going to land at Dallas-Fort Worth unharmed. Shudders shook the Ethiopian woman’s body but we both listened quietly as he explained that planes could fly on one engine; that Texas had a plethora of straight highway to land on; that the situation was simply out of our control.
It was as sudden as the explosion of our No. 1 engine: the passengers aboard Spirit Flight 165 became a collective, vulnerable entity. Race, gender, economics, religion, age: none of it mattered anymore. A mother of two gently handed her infant son to her seat companion as he slept. No one screamed or cried. Relationships formed instantaneously as the waiting game began. Could the plane survive? Would the compression system blow? Was the pilot capable of landing our damaged plane safely? Hands of different colors and ages interlocked across the aisles until the call came to assume the emergency landing position. With a wink the man in 21F turned his face into his folded arms. I gulped one breath and did the same.
The wheels bounced once, again, and finally stuck as we skidded onto the tarmac at Dallas-Fort Worth International. An hour after departure we were once again safely on the ground. Clapping, cheering, whooping, hollering! Relief laced with incredulity filled the cabin, prayers began in earnest, and I felt the first tears trace a switchback down my cheek.
Through a haze of adrenaline, tears, and phone calls to my worried and protective mother I re-booked myself onto the replacement flight though the very thought of flying was enough to heartily replenish the tears on my damp cheek. A fellow passenger offered me tissues and I silently stared at my phone, willing the time to pass, willing the plane to arrive, willing myself the courage to board it. Suddenly sock-clad feet appeared in my line of sight. My best friend’s mom had talked her way through security and was standing in front of me, still holding her shoes, arms extended. Sobs came blubbering up through my body as I collapsed into her embrace, but for the first time since the engine had blown out of the wing it seemed as though the terror might finally be over.
Sitting on the tarmac at DFW, the fire trucks, the tow in to the gate, and disembarking the plane are all a blur. But the man who had previously ignored the young mother carried her bags into the terminal and hugged her as we all made way to our new gate. The man in 21F escorted my seatmate onto the gangway. A service man in uniform assisted a handicapped woman from the plane. It’s an odd part of the human existence, but tragedy in joint experience incites a comradely spirit: as the initial terror settled into deep-seated fear human kindness, goodness, and humanity prevailed.
I swear to god, if I read one more article about the Top 10 Things you learned in your twenties, I’m going to pull my hair out.
At first, these lists were invaluable. The first season of Girls was like a giant Top 10 list for the post-collegiate, modern New Yorker trying not to get robbed in Bushwick while simultaneously contributing to the gentrification slowly spreading down the first 16 stops of the L-train. And I was right there with you guys. I wrote articles celebrating Lena Dunham’s genius. My parents convinced me to let them help me pay my rent when I got fired from my first big-girl job because I was “only twenty-two.” Every Facebook status update from my first year living in Manhattan had some kind of an allusion to dollar pizza and pitchers of Yeungling at Bar Nine on Thursdays. And I probably spent 88% of my time complaining about not knowing what I wanted to do with my life while eating falafels and wondering why my boyfriend broke up with me. (I’ll give you a hint: he was twenty-six, and I was a whiner. Case closed.)
Now, I want to grab every 20-year-old writing these blog posts and articles about how hard it is to live at home with their parents and not know what they want to be when they grow up, and shake them. I want to yell at all of them to get a fucking job and stop being so spoiled. So here’s my list:
A New Top 10 List for 20 Somethings:
1. Get a fucking job.
2. Move out of your parents’ house. I know you’re broke. I know you can’t afford a broker fee, and that you don’t want to live with the 50 Shades of Grey double that messaged you back on Craigslist. I know you don’t have a guarantor. But please, for the love of god, find a way.
3. Having a hobby isn’t illegal. I still think I’m going to make it big writing memoirs and being a stand up comedian. But also, I like food. I have a day job so that I CAN facilitate doing the things I love.
4. YOLO is not a thing.
5. There’s this magic button on Facebook that allows you to hide status updates from anyone posting maternity photos or “I Said YES!!!!!” with images of their 16 carat Harry Winston engagement rings. Use it. It’ll make you a happier human.
6. Take a class. Yoga. Writing. Improv. Anything. Continue expanding your mind. I guarantee you’ll have a lot less to complain about if you’re studying something you love WITHOUT the downside of midterms.
7. You are Beyoncé. Start acting like an independent member of society.
8. Learn how to see yourself in a positive light without humble-bragging.
9. Stop feeding into the whole “Millennials are so full of anxiety” stereotype. Just because it exists doesn’t mean you have to follow the flock and whine all the time. We get it. The job market sucks, you ignore more calls from Sallie Mae than your ex-girlfriend, and your useless diploma from film school is hanging above your Star Wars sheets at your mom’s house. I’m sorry. That really sucks. But we’re gonna get through it.
10. Never, ever, make another Top Ten List again. Unless you’re David Letterman.
It had been a long campaign but finally the companions arrived back at the town of their birth, Sandpoint. The relief on the townspeople’s faces was overwhelming and the clear pride they felt was something beautiful to behold. Surely, these strapping men couldn’t be the same unsure boys that left the land of the birth a mere three months ago? Surely no transformation could be this fast or total.
“Guys, hold on a second, I have to do something real fast.”
That was me. I’d been playing D&D via Skype using Maptools for the last few months with a couple of childhood friends. We all live in different cities and this was the best way to get together and we did it every Sunday from 5 in the evening until roughly 11 at night. It was a great way to keep in touch and it was a great way to keep imaginative childhood habits alive. Every Sunday I was excited to “play.”
“Ok,” George said. “Let’s just take five then.”
I went into the kitchen and opened the fridge. Behold! Two bottles of white wine donated from my neighbor who’s a liquor distributor. He’s liquor flush at all times. I am the grateful receiver of that overflow. I chose a bottle, Chardonnay maybe? I don’t recall. I open it. I pour a glass. The five minute break comes to an end and we reconvene. The adventure begins in earnest.
Two hours later, I’m having an amazing time. Everything is funny. The roleplaying banter is at an all time high. Characterization of my fighter is really coming along. We’ve built up some back story out of nowhere. Everyone is happy. I go to pour myself another glass of RPG fuel and lo the well is dry.
“Guys, hold on a second, I have to do something real fast.”
“Ok,” George says. “Let’s take another five minute break.”
I open the fridge and see that it’s going to be Reisling this time. Usually not good to end the night with a sweet wine because it gives me indigestion but what the hell, I’m a 10th level fighter and I just picked up the Great Cleave feat. I cannot be stopped.
About another hour into playing and I start to get tired and George and Brad start to notice my speech isn’t what it was just a few hours ago.
“Eric, are you drinking?” This is George asking me this. For some reason I lie even though he’s known me since I was 12 and will absolutely know that I’m lying.
“Nah dude. I’m just getting tired.”
It was after the second half of the second bottle that things started to get pretty choppy. I hadn’t really eaten much for dinner because I hadn’t been hungry before we started playing. I’d pretty much just been noshing on cheddar for the last few hours to fight the pangs. It was also at this point that the culmination of our entire evening occurred. Some background.
In this campaign we were fighting Frost Giants and in this particular campaign world (Pathfinder) these Frost Giants were the descendants of slaves who had been also been experimented on with cruel magics to both make them more maleable and more powerful. As a result, what had been a wise, gentle, and creative race only 1,000 years ago was now one of the more brutish and cruel races in the world. We’d been fighting them the last two playing sessions and I’d already killed probably 20 of them on my own but when a group of them approached the gates of our home town of Sandpoint and began attacking the main gate I just didn’t have the heart to really go out and fight them.
George was noticeably annoyed.
“It’s not their fault,” I insisted. “They’re not really like this. They’re just trying to do right by their people and we went and invaded their land and took some of their stuff and they want it back.”
Imagine that slurred horribly as the evening’s game time is coming to a close and George’s wife is expecting him to sign off and come to bed. George was patient though, he was.
“Well Eric, there’s nothing you can do about that right now. They’re at the gate and the magic used to change them 1,000 years ago is way more powerful than anything the group is capable of. You’re going to have to kill them or they’ll kill you.”
I insisted we try to speak with them, reason with them, remind them who they are in their core. In reply, I get a boulder thrown at me while I stand atop the town battlements.
“This is so unfair to them. It’s not right!”
George gets over his patience. He has them break the gate down. They kill two lesser town guards, 1 hit die peeps with no importance whatsoever.
“Well, now they’re killing your townspeople so what are you going to do.”
I just know he’s going to force the issue by bringing my fighter’s love interest onto the scene any minute or something equally implausible. She’s only third level. She’d be dead in seconds. I go down off the battlements. I tell the Frost Giants that I’m sorry. I kill one while Brad’s wizard kills the other two with a fireball. There they lay, two are burned to a crisp, the third is disemboweled.
George and Brad say good night and log off. I get up, realize how drunk I am and go throw up in the toilet. I have to call in the next day. George fills me in on what happened because I can’t remember a good chunk of it.
“You were really relating to those Frost Giants last night, man.” He laughs. “To tell you the truth though, I knew where you were coming from.”
“Yeah, I really felt like we should have freed them somehow.”
Two months on into the campaign we do free them, all of them. It’s glorious. Unfortunately we killed like 500 of them in order to free them. I didn’t drink anymore when we played. I just get too worked up.