Hannah VanderPoel is a writer and filmmaker in New York City. She works at MTV. Previous credits include Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, and HBO. You can follow her on Twitter @hanvanderpoel.
Years ago, a former roommate had a particularly acrimonious breakup with a man we’ll call Frank. They’d fallen hard and fast at first, and everything was sprinkles and roses for eight months. Until one evening over dinner, when Frank told her he wanted to be JUST FRIENDS instead of DATINGPARTNERTHINGS. But, Frank said, he did not want to lose the wonderful friendship they had. So he swore he up and down that they would be buddies, and he would henceforth make every effort to make things not-weird.
This roommate went home tearfully, got drunk, and then proceeded to spend the next six months doing what all naïve heartbreak victims do: she allowed Frank’s barrage of ‘friendly’ text messages, Facebook likes, and mass-emailed happy hour invitations to pour an enormous pile of salt on her infected, open flesh-wound of a heart. He had certainly made good on his promise of platonic kinship, and the more casual offers he dispensed the more the rusty knife in her hopeful little heart twisted.
Their strained relationship rotted quietly for a few months, occasionally bubbling over into a stank mess when mixed with alcohol. Each time it did, she’d melt into a pool on the bar bathroom floor/house party bathroom floor/apartment lobby floor and wail the same old wail: “Why is he [verbage implying sexual congress] that [noun implying a loose woman] and then being totally [adjective referring to Frank’s narcissistic lead-ons to emotionally crippled exes]? Are we even FRIENDSSS?!”
Born: My first acquisitions in this world are two stuffed bears, probably purchased by a friend or relative on the way to visit the maternity ward. One is named “Bunky” because that is what it says on the tag. The other has no such tag, so my parents call it “Teddy” by default.
Age Three: I have decided Bunky is a girl and Teddy is a boy. This feels natural as Bunky is small and Teddy is large, a conclusion which I now realize reveals volumes about how early heteronormative gender associations become ingrained in toddlers. They are my “kids,” and also somehow married (?). I drag them everywhere.
Five: Teddy’s fur rips after a particularly rough trip through the washing machine. My mother operates on him with a sewing kit. It is briefly unclear as to whether he will make it. I bite my nails and pace around the bedroom like an expectant father.
Nine: Both bears are almost* left in a motel room during a trip to Arizona. We have to go back to the room to investigate. Turns out they were in the suitcase the whole time. (*You cannot be “almost” left in a hotel room if you were, in fact, in a suitcase.)
Eighteen: Bunky and Teddy move to my new college dorm. I believe they are now retro enough that they’re back in vogue. Decrepit stuffed bears feel very normcore. I perch them right in the middle of my bed, on top of my pillow, and think nothing of it. It takes a while to make friends.
SUMMER. Summer. Summer. ‘Tis the season to be wed. To attend weddings. With weddings come RSVP cards. Those rectangular devils, with calligraphed Herculean query: chicken or meatless lasagna? Beef balls or vegetarian ‘arrangement’? What’ll it be, punk?
Wedding-havers are fools if they believe “vegetarianism” is the only worthy dietary limitation. There are lots of other mealtime requirements we’d like to see honored. Here are some of them.
The Breakfast Pizza-tarian Option
Whose wedding is it? The one where you’re important enough to be a bridesmaid.
Why you require a breakfast pizza-based meal: Because you are still hungover, and you’ve a mild sense of doom over your friend’s decision to settle for this on again/off again husband thing. There are some crises only breakfast pizza can solve; this is one of them. If you must give a toast, you might as well have toast.
Best consumed: With pause for neither conversation nor breath.
Wine pairing: Maalox, from a childproof dosage cup.
A few months ago, I overheard two girls on the New York City subway talking about a terrible dating trend amongst 20somethings: you go on a few perfect dates with the seemingly-perfect guy, he showers you with compliments and makes plans for future outings – and then, randomly, he falls off the face of the earth and you never hear from him again.
I thought, “HEY! THAT’S HAPPENED TO ME!” I consulted friends and sure enough, they were well acquainted with this ‘ghosting’ phenomenon. So I decided to make a video about it.
It’s time we put a stop to the epidemic. If you’re nursing a ghosted heart, this one’s for you.
Mistakes! We all make them. Our errors range in breadth and severity. For example: maybe you try to drag race in your friend’s mom’s minivan in rural Wisconsin and then get banned from driving in the state of Wisconsin forever. Or maybe you decide to drywall a hole you accidentally made in your own apartment, and end up with your feet stuck to your bedroom floor. Or maybe you drink three delicious, delicious margaritas and email your ex-boyfriend from a bathroom stall in Brooklyn (you know, the one who ripped out your heart years ago and stepped on it—the ex boyfriend, not the outer-borough bathroom) suggesting that it’d be a swell idea to CATCH UP OVER COFFEE AT A TIME THAT IS CONVENIENT FOR HIM? And then when you’ve realized what you’ve done, your friends remind you that you’ve been drinking, would probably mistake a bag of mulch for a man, and might regret this?
Unfortunately you see that he’s already emailed you back, so you chortle self-assuredly in your friends’ faces and put your stupid plan into motion because alcohol? And also because you’re a giant weird baby?
You know, those kinds of mistakes.
Not saying you’ll find yourself in this position, because a mature adult like you would never do such a thing. I know I wouldn’t, not me, no sir.
But…in the utterly hypothetical event that you did wake up the next day to find yourself in this predicament, you might possibly find yourself en route to see a person who devastated you years ago and who you totally swore off for good.
In that case, here are a few conduct tips.
“No good marriage has ever ended in divorce.” -Louis CK
A friend recently went on a date with an older man she met online. She texted me glowing reviews from the bathroom, and prospects seemed good. Over coffee a few days later, she explained that a future was moot: “I mean…it’s not even that he’s older, I could deal with older. He’s divorced.” My friend is 25, never married. Immediately I ‘understood’ her aversion, in the way that people are wont to make exceptions for their generally-held principles when subjective ethos gets in the way. For example, as I human I know that it’s unfair to judge divorcees. As the individual person chatting with my specific friend whose personal idiosyncrasies I’m acquainted with and whose specific happiness I’m invested in, I’m willing to step off that soapbox and agree that yes – personality and attractiveness aside – the 38 year-old divorcee may not be her hottest prospect, because he has a history of fucking up. Fair or not, there’s something about the scarlet letter of divorce that prompts us to question someone’s entire functionality.
Summer in New York means parties on rooftops. On a Friday in June, I go to one. I meet a girl on the stairwell and help her carry up a tray of hotdogs. She’s got a jet-black pixie cut and is immediately friendly. I love immediately-friendly types. We walk up to the roof together and drink beer and proceed to spend thirty minutes talking about everything under the sun. We really hit it off.
Finally she takes a step back and stretches her neck far out over the Brooklyn horizon. “Man. I am rolling!” she says. “On what?” I ask. “Molly! It’s so good.” I’ve tried molly before, and I liked it. It makes you feel friendly. I did it once with an ex-boyfriend and we told each other we loved each other. In this moment, I feel slightly deceived. I suspect maybe this girl doesn’t know what’s she’s saying. There’s something impossibly intoxicating about believing your own well-intentioned untruths, a luxury that drugs afford. Whatever. I decide fuck it, why not believe? It’s a party and I’m an accessory to a high, and I will let the warmth wash over me. So we go on, feeding each other compliments like candy.
“You are so fun and glorious and lovely!” she chants to me. “You’re like, a gorgeous porcelain doll, I could just dress you up and put you in a window somewhere.”
I eat it up. “You too! You’re so beautiful and amazing and free, I wish I knew so many more people who could talk like this, who could just be open with each other.” And I mean it.
“Oh my god, me too. Can I just say, I feel like you are like…my person? You know when you just meet someone and think to yourself, ‘This person is for me, this person is my PERSON!’ That’s you, I knew instantly we’d get along, you’re great and I just fucking love you!”
“YES! I love YOU TOO!”
“We love each other!! This night is the best! I live for nights like this.”
We sit on the asphalt and roll around laughing and chatting and staring up at the smoky sky for a few hours, and then I take a 3 a.m.-train home sober.
At a party with my female friends a week or so ago, there was a lot of talk about nicknames. In an email friend chain, we’d circulated the recent column from The Atlantic detailing the trend for ladies to affectionately (or not so affectionately) nickname the men in their lives with stuff ranging from semi-cutesy (“Hot Deli Counter Guy”) to pretty darn demeaning (“Limp Dick McGoo.”)
[For the record: It is very mean to call a person you’re intimate with “Limp Dick McGoo”. You should not be dating someone named this. If you find yourself referring to the person you’ve elected to spend romantic time with as “Limp Dick McGoo”, please consider that Limp Dick McGoo is not the only one with some, er, functional issues.]
Sometimes it hurts to be a woman.
It was 10 AM on a Sunday in February. The day was crisp and clear, the sun bright. The New York City streets were filled with eager weekend socializers heading to brunch dates and leisurely park jogs. I too had risen early and made the trek into Manhattan, but not to feast on $15 frittatas or enjoy a brisk run. Instead I was headed to an esthetician in Chelsea for the sole purpose of getting every single hair on and around my vagina ripped out with half a jar of scalding wax.
To clarify: until the moment I sashayed into the salon, I was a depilation virgin, a rare breed in millennial America and an even rarer breed in the island nation of Manhattan. I’d never gotten anything waxed in my life, not even any part of my face. I consider this one of my strongest personal traits. That I tumbled out of the womb with naturally manicured eyebrows is one of my greatest blessings, something I wouldn’t hesitate to include in online dating profiles and professional resumes. I don’t have stray mustache hairs, under-chin peach fuzz or female mutton chops. When I’m feeling blue, “no excessive body hair” is a go-to on my pep list of Things That Are Good In Life (right after “born white and middle-class in America” and “have job”.)
datingandhookup.com is a website that explores modern romance in the Millennial era – which, let’s be honest, looks nothing like we were taught to expect. We feature essays, advice and social commentary with humor, compassion and brains, and we vow never, ever to publish a piece called “The 10 Best Ways to Satisfy Your Man in Bed”. Do click to submit your work to us. We love you.
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