Although I probably would have skipped it a la Physical Education.
But now that I’m 22-almost-23, struggling with adulting like any millennial worth their salt, and patiently waiting for my copy of ‘Investing in Your 20s and 30s for Dummies’ from the library, I’m wishing high school had done more to prepare me for the simple facts and tasks of everyday life.
I’m not one of those students who begrudges time spent learning about the French Revolution (still some of the most interesting shit ever), Trig-PreCal, or even Socratic circles (although I do question whether spending hours copying definitions from the back of the Trig textbook was really a good use of my time, Mrs.C!)- but some old school advice would have been excellent.
Here’ my wish list for an ideal Home Ec course (required for every student, regardless of gender):
- Financial management and planning: paying bills, budgeting, saving for big expenditures and retirement, investing in your 20s and 30s as well as later in life (don’t worry, there’s a For Dummies book for that one too).
- Cooking: I’m a chef par excellence, but in my opinion everyone needs to know a bit more than how to make a sandwich. It’s especially important in a low-income community (like mine) because cooking and eating at home is so much less expensive than eating out- and buying ingredients in bulk to make dishes from scratch is less expensive (and healthier) than processed foods.
- Cleaning: Would make college life with roommates, dorm-mates, and those guys across the hall who share your bathroom much easier.
- Comprehensive European-style sexual education: Beyond the American basics, prudish even in liberal Massachusetts (we are descended from the Puritans, after all), I want discussions on navigating relationships, domestic abuse, masturbation, and sexual compatability (and let’s be honest- there’s an ocean of sexual or sex-adjacent topics that it would be good for teens to know and that they’re not going to get bored learning about).
- Parenting: Different styles and philosophies, keeping your baby happy and healthy, the basics of childcare so that both parents can partake equally (and so that people can consciously choose how to raise their children rather than falling into the patterns of their parents).
- Sewing/mending/handiwork: The benefits of knitting should be mysteries to none and everyone should be able to mend their own pocket holes/reattach their own buttons.
- Basic handy(wo)man stuff
- Diet and Exercise
- Navigating the workplace: From writing a decent email to networking to successfully advocating for yourself.
- And let’s just throw in basic massage technique, because there is nothing a hard-working adult needs more than a massage!
What am I missing?
An aside on physical education in high school, only to excuse/redeem myself: Throughout high school I was working on recovering from anorexia so exercise was pretty touchy. My activity amount was under review by my doctor and parents, but unchaperoned exercise was off the table. Instead of giving up the physical exertion that gave me happiness and my life meaning (weekly riding lessons, hours or significantly active volunteer work, and more-than-weekly dance classes), I got a doctor’s note to excuse myself from high school PE. Which also enabled borderline OCD me to get a higher GPA by taking a higher proportion of honors and AP courses.
After a short hiatus that coincided with finals period and stress and projects, I am back in the US of A and home in Boston where there are cats and vegan food and gardens that need working it.
And a smallish backlog of links.
I hope you had a lovely Saturday. I took a forty minute detour to claim a vegan cinnamon roll, visited the Louvre’s special Delacroix exhibition, and ate a pizza (also vegan).
Keep an eye open for an upcoming ‘best vegan pizzas in Paris’ post. The sequel to the Boston edition- we’ve relocated.
So here’s what’s happening on the interwebs, carefully avoiding the trend for snorting condoms.
- The city of lights from the sky
- I’m fantasizing less about these outfits and more about the swoon worthy descriptions of spring weather
- Body glitter is now the only appropriate use for the Kira Kira filter. I am entranced.
- What happens when you add illustrations to those random snippets of overheard conversations
- I would stay here– books and beds are the only things I need in life
- For it to really be Paris he would have an accordion
- Infernal Affairs and The Departed– for me The Departed wins because Boston, but I have yet to see Infernal Affairs (it’s been on my list SO LONG) so that’s not worth much. It does look excellent, doesn’t it?
- If you’re a Royal Wedding fan, maybe you want to enter this social media contest to suggest its defining ice cream flavor?
- The unstoppable rise of veganism, about which I have mixed feelings (more people want to eat my cinnamon bun but more places sell vegan pizza).
- The benefits of a plant-based diet for health and the environment.
- Congrats to Yale and congrats to Nathan Chen.
- An interview with my favorite makeup artist
- A follow up on the Orientalism inherent in Wes Anderson’s Isle of Dogs, and in the broader world of American cinema (with a very interesting segment on 2015’s Met Gala theme).
“It’s Japan purely as an aesthetic — and another piece of art that treats the East not as a living, breathing half of the planet but as a mirror for the Western imagination.” And perhaps the only thing that will lead to a more fair, just, and equal portrayal of Asians in cinema and pop culture is the spending power of that huge sector of the world population.
- Turkish Rondo in finger snaps
- Molly Ringwald reflects on the problematic legacy of John Hughes movies in the era of #MeToo
I’m mid-viewing of There Will Be Blood and mid-studying after a kind of abortive trip to Paris. Never trust weather.com when it predicts no precipitation. Always bring your umbrella. Because if you don’t it will rain in the morning and snow in the afternoon.
- The top Welsh names in Wales. There’s something intriguing about Welsh names- from the enigmatic (to me) spelling and pronunciation to the Lord of the Rings- vibes. Not to mention names like Angharad and Gwilym- characters from one of my favorite films, How Green Was My Valley.
- Speaking of movies- an enjoyably extra idea for creating memorable movie nights for the family- themed invitations and menus.
- Remembering Hubert de Givenchy, a brilliant couturier and the designer most associated with Audrey Hepburn‘s rise as a sartorial star.
- This movie looks insane-in-a-good-way. Also excited to see Lakeith Stanfield in another role post-Get Out.
- I would watch a Jared Kushner musical.
- A visually beautiful article about the production of roses for Chanel No. 5. Via my Mom. (Also, I’ve been to Pegomas just this year!)
- Am I the only person who’s thought about what I want done with my body when I eventually and inevitably kick the bucket? This natural burial ground in Tennessee is actually closest to what I’ve imagined. Except god forbid my final resting place be Tennessee.
- Surprise surprise: A huge MIT study finds that fake news stories are much more likely to spread and go ‘viral’ than real news stories on Twitter. Kind of expected but no less scary for that.
- Having never been married and having no children of my own, I can’t realistically vouch for any of this advice- but I do like it.
- The mysteriously adorable allure of maternity overalls.
- Are intimately subtle, barely there perfumes having a renaissance?
- Taking down the single versus spoken for binary. “Does the idea that people have to “love” — or simply feel any specific way about being single — give the concept of romantic attachment too much power?”
- This French food waste law is changing how grocery stores approach excess food.
My life is dark and full of terrors but also pretty good. I’m still getting over my stomach bug/food poisoning, my landlords are creatures from the black lagoon, I have an exam tomorrow and an exam on Friday and I am NOT PREPARED (Constance the Perpetually Unready) but I had a lovely time in Spain and Malta over my break.
What can you do?
I woke up at 3 am for my flight back to France and I’m a mess trying to gain the energy to shower and study, but today is Oscar Day and I have some time-sensitive links that should go up. And also procrastination.
- The Personal, First: My Dad broke the world record in indoor rowing for AK amputees over 50 years of age. If he wasn’t officially the coolest before (he was), he certainly is now.
- The perfume oriented:
Scents of place: brains can navigate based solely on smells.
A short short for Diptyque’s fiftieth anniversary and their two new releases.
Hermes is getting in on that sweet sweet Arabian market.
A dream job and a dreamy fragrance collection.
Immortalizing the scents of people and the scents of places.
- Very excited for Love, Simon. Especially after this review (from one of my favorite youtube critics).
- The Scrunchie Renaissance: the much maligned accessory that made a resurgence last summer now has a prominent background role in Oscar-nominated I, Tonya and costs boatloads of money at Balenciaga.
- Dick’s Sporting Goods, in the wake of the Florida shooting, will no longer sell assault style rifles. Good on DSG for not living up to its name.
- Positive Self Talk, an illustration by Mari Andrew.
- Another video from pop Culture Detective! This time on the widespread media trope of ‘stalking for love‘, wherein invasive, coercive, manipulative, and otherwise inappropriate behavior is presented as an endearing aspect of courtship.
- Am I Gay or Straight? On giving yourself the power and permission to be who you are.
- And a toe-dip into tonight’s Oscars:
How Rotten Tomatoes may have radically skewed the Oscars’ Best Picture Race: The demographic ratings trends of the films over time is really fascinating. Also I feel the need to look up past years’ best screenplay winners.
Hollywood stylists are killing red carpet style, an not in a good way. I also blame the internet, which is usually a good move.
I haven’t been posting much/at all this past week because I’m traveling and on break and in Spain (and tomorrow I’ll be meeting my parents in Malta). But this evening I’m being antisocial and hanging out in my basement room, and I have a few links to dispense with.
A links post with a one day delay. I’ve officially started on a two week break (but can’t get too excited because we have two exams the week we get back) and I’m debating whether I should go to The Catacombs today or take a joint trip to Maison de Balzac and the Monet Marmottan Museum. It’s a rough life full of hard choices.
- Yara Shahidi was on Stephen Colbert, is turning 18, having a voting party, and is an amazingly well-spoken individual. I know it’s a cliche to say this, but we need more people like her in the world.
- In spite of my issues with The Shape of Water, I do think it’s a bit unfair to sum it up as ‘the film where the woman has sex with a fish’. That being said, someone designed a dildo inspired by Fish God. You can find anything on the internet and this is why we don’t deserve nice things.
- The inspiring knitwear of Prabal Gurung’s Fall 2018 collection.
- The Obamas’ official portraits have been unveiled at the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery. They’re both pretty amazing, both from an historical and artistic standpoint.
Buuuut: here’s a counterpoint and a deeper reading.
- Wisecrack on how Monty Python shaped modern comedy (via postmodernism, the comedy of the absurd, and political satire).
- A thought-provoking personal essay about an ‘accidental wedding dress’ and accepting that life rarely/never comes with the closure of a settled and final happy ending.
- Similarly, this comic on the numerous ways to fill your heart and live a meaningful and love-filled life.
- A surreal video of a very fluffy doggo swimming underwater.
- The Louvre has created a Valentine’s-inspired Pinterest board. I’m particularly in love (no pun intended) the Antonio Canova’s sculpture of Cupid and Psyche.
- I’m not planing on watching the newly reimagined/animated Peter Rabbit film ever, but there’s been a bit of a kerfuffle about a scene involving food allergies. I don’t think there’s much to be upset about but part of the reason I am steering clear of the film is that even from the trailer it struck me as being crass and mean-spirited. And I wasn’t even a Beatrix Potter kid.
- And… a Disneyland social club is being sued for using ‘mafia-like’ intimidation tactics. What even is this world and what are people? Watch out for the White Rabbits or you’ll be swimming with the… flounder?
- Reaffirming my goal to spend less time on my phone and computer.
- I didn’t cry at this animated short, but I won’t lie- it did give me the feels.
My links are 3 days late and I haven’t been posting but GUESS WHY !
I’ve been on a field trip.
More details coming soon.
- “We all harbor the knowledge, however covertly, that we’re going to die, but when it comes to small talk, I am the angel of death.”- What to Say When You Meet the Angel of Death at a Party, by Kate Bowler (a woman struggling with Stage IV cancer)
- Game Over, Man looks terrible. But I kind of want to see it. ‘So bad it’s good’ potential?
- Speaking of ‘So bad it’s good’, do I need to watch the Oscar-nominated Boss Baby? Wisecrack just did a video on it’s ‘accidental’ philosophy, which I found really interesting.
- Some pretty jewelry– I’m particularly attracted to the thin gold chokers.
- I Had to Break Up With My Career Coach
- A hysterical survey of the problematic history of black actors dying (often first) onscreen. And congrats to LL Cool J!
- There is no snack more appropriate for the Me Too Generation than a chip that tells women to eat more damn quietly. Good job, Doritos.
Will there also be a super-crunchy ship so that we can all be alerted when a Real Man is eating?
I’m going to be honest, this is more of a rant/potential overreaction in response to a perceived injustice.
Perceived injustice in the form of something a friend/classmate said that I found both a) hurtful, b) thoughtless, and c) pretty damn problematic.
So definitely one of the lesser injustices in the world, but still something that raised a lot of feelings for me, which am now going to get off of my chest.
The remark was something along the lines of stating that pregnancy= peak femininity. At know time in a woman’s life is she more truly a “woman” than when she is with child.
Okay, my problems with that statement first, and then a list of ways I think we can be EVEN MORE FEMININE.
- A lot of women cannot, in fact, get pregnant. A lot of women feel broken, less than, and incomplete because they can not give birth to the children they desire (or that society has conditioned them to see as the defining purpose of their lives). Many women feel like failures if they have infertility issues.
I may be one of these women. For medical reasons, its quite possible that I won’t be fertile. I love children, and despite my fear of being a terrible mother and the pain of natural childbirth, having a baby is something I would really love to be in my future (witness my obsession with baby names, children’s books, and all manner of miniature person paraphernalia).
The takeaway here is- many women can’t have children and that doesn’t make them and less female.
- Defining the epitome of femininity as pregnancy- something kind of passive in that it is done to a woman by a man- is an issue for me. It’s a really reductive view of what it means to be a woman- i.e. to be a baby-making machine, an oven for a bun, a brood mare, (your analogy here). There is so much more to being a human woman than passing on your genes and prolonging the species. And I’m not talking about boobs either. It’s just such a dull view of what women can be. So biological, so without choice, so impersonal, so f*cking traditional and… medieval.
- Which brings me to I guess my last point, which is that society has conditioned women to see childbearing and motherhood as their final purpose, their definition, their ultimate test for hundreds if not thousands of years. It’s 2018. The idea of womanhood and femininity really needs to expand beyond basic biological processes to include all of the different things that womanhood and/or femininity (because anyone can be feminine, not only women- it’s a gender rather than sex thing) has to offer. There are so many different ways to be feminine. So many different life paths you can take. Deciding not to have children, being unable to have children, having an unconventional pregnancy or path to motherhood does not mean you’re not feminine or not a woman.
So here are some suggestions on alternative ways to reach peak femininity, that don’t involve getting knocked up. Or a penis. Or subjecting your body to drastic changes. Or a huge life choice that may or may not be what you want for yourself.
- Take female-specific multivitamins.
I have never felt more feminine that when popping a One-A-Day Women’s. Not sponsored.
- Watch a chickflick.
Do you self-identify as a chick? Is this a film you like? Then it’s a chickflick. Get it, girl.
You know, I can’t even do this anymore. I was googling ‘how to be feminine for more ideas that I could subvert, but they’re also a irritating, contradictory, and offensive that I can’t even complete this list.
Here are some favorites though:
- Speak softly/learn to be shy (but also cool and be outspoken)
No lie these four are all on the same list.
- Smell good.
Not like a smelly man.
- Don’t cut your hair.
After multivitamins, looking like Samara from The Ring has always made me feel particularly ladylike and attractive.
- Avoid arguments.
Well, failed that one.
But can we also just recognize that this disqualifies SO MANY AMAZING WOMEN WHO ARE KNOWN FOR THE THINGS THAT THEY’VE DONE AND THEIR OPINIONS AS OPPOSED TO THEIR LOOKS AND BREATHY VOICES?
Yeah, bye Rosa Parks.
And don’t even get me started on the angry black woman not fitting the ideal vision of femininity because I’m already going to explode.
- BUT DON’T FORGET: BE YOU AND LOVE YOURSELF FOR WHO YOU ARE
Yes, this is on the same list. Excuse me while I go jump in a lake.
I just looked at another list thinking of continuing but there’s so much more and I’m getting keyed up. It’s 8:30 am on Sunday and I’m calling it quits.
It’s funny how when there are huge systemic problems involved you can never actually success in getting your frustration off your chest because there’s just more and more and more and more.
Let’s just roll right in…