They seek him here…they seek him there..
There is nothing more empowering than to look like a million dollars, smell like Number Five and carry the month’s last ten dollars in a Dior bag. It makes me feel accomplished. Like any other human being of this century, I buy on media’s unattainable dreams: from Hollywood’s happy-ending chick-flicks to the shiny Oscar de la Renta fashion shows. And we wonder why the fashion industry makes billions of dollars per year? We project our fantasies in the fib realities it carefully performs for us. By now, we all should know this… Or not.
Dottie, real estate, UES
Dangers of Elderly Drivers
Why do we have a minimum age for driving and not a maximum? After all, at 16 we have maximum speed in our reflexes, but minimum experience in road conditions and over 65 we have (hopefully) maximum driving hours under our belts but our physical condition—eyesight, muscle control, speed of reaction, etc.—leaves an awful lot to be desired. Now this might be considered age-ism by those who coin such terms, but even they cannot deny the sense of a further (and annual) driving test after a sixty fifth birthday to minimize the dangers of over-age drivers causing accidents. After all if these drivers are as experienced in life as we think they are, they must see the sense of this as well. No one is suggesting you lose your license, but if you are up to it you have nothing to fear from a senior driving test. Just as the new drivers have nothing to fear from the first test. The people who should be afraid are the rest of us at risk from drivers who are not up to the task!
Geoff, talk radio, Durham
Selfie Shaming Debate
It started with tourists taking photos of themselves with NYC landmarks in the background to show where they had been when they returned home. (Who can deny the satisfaction of offering a couple the opportunity to relax and pose while you took the shot!) However that was then and now we have the unedifying site of selfie phenomenon that is egotistical in the majority of cases, causing hugely inflated egos or uncontrollable low self-esteem. Of all the problems for young people brought about by unlimited social media (and let’s face is, there are a lot), this one has the most potential for a powerful and lasting destructive effect in later life. (Just think of your high school year book pages.) As a snapshot in a time in a young person’s life when they can be at their most vulnerable to criticism, selfies (and more importantly the ability to reach millions of people with them) should be regarded with suspicion and hostility.
MaryAnn, teacher, Brooklyn
Like Lambs to the Slaughter
In the wake of the Facebook controversy, how can it be even more obvious that business, especially big business worth billions of dollars, is not in it for the benefit of its “customers”. What did you think they were getting out of it when the owners of all those free apps you downloaded made you agree to giving them access to all your information, often by giving them access to roam through your computers hard drive at will. We are not the ‘customer WE are the product. Just as much as factory farming producers plentiful food, we provide them with ‘product’ -Big Data – for their real customers; those who would use our information against our best interests. Even if those best interests are just our privacy and peace of mind. Of all the reactions our society produces, fomo must be one of the stromgest. Especially amongst my generation, the millennials.
John, engineer, Washington Heights
A Pauper’s Guide to Gold Digging
I’m broke. I was born broke, I’ve been broke, and since I majored in what is effectively a hobby, I’m most likely always going to be broke. I’m also incredibly, incredibly single. And look, I understand the old phrase that “money can’t buy you love” but I figured I might as well try to kill two birds with one stone, right? Look, the fact of the matter is, money can’t buy you love, but it can by you a lot of lovely things. Clothes. Real estate. The funds to commission artists to create Soviet-era portraits of your likeness. You know, things that make you happy. And isn’t that what America’s about? The pursuit of life, liberty, and happiness? No one ever specified that happiness can’t include getting Botox injections with your elderly boyfriend’s 401K and then blowing the rest on a spree at Saks. I don’t need your judgment. My generation is screwed. By the time we’re ready to retire, all of our Social Security money will be dried up and sent away to China. We’re going to have to work until we’re dead. All of our money has been given to old, rich, white guys anyway, so why shouldn’t they have to pay us back? That being said, I’ve compiled a guide to getting yourself a sugar daddy or mommy; a step-by-step list to propel yourself to Anna Nicole greatness. Here goes nothing.
Step 1) Go to gay millionaire speed dating events.
Step 2) Start a new career as an end of life caretaker. Do it in the nude. And so on and so on and so on….
Max, writer, NYC
Back of My Neck is Gettin’ Dirty & Pretty
Nothing beats New York City summers: Levis’ cut offs. Tank tops. Hot asphalt. Baseball caps. Dirty feet in flip-flops. BBQs. Rooftop sunsets. Sweaty sex. Kickball in Prospect Park. Vodka lemonades sipped coolly on the terrace. Margaritas to-go. Watching Do The Right Thing and Kids 987 times just to get in the spirit of things. Pool parties. Block parties. Free concerts. Old movies in Bryant Park. The Hamptons. Mister Softee. Weekend camping trips upstate. Coney Island: funnel cake, the Cyclone, and Nathan’s hot dogs. So please. For the love of our city, for the love of our summer, and for the enjoyment of all: if you can’t stand the heat, get out the effing kitchen! I don’t want to hear you gripe about “oppressive heat,” “outrageous A/C bills,” or “disgusting humidity.” Just leave. No one’s gonna miss you.
Peter, poet, Midtown
Men are from Vars, women from Meenus
This is what I truly hate about relationships. It’s not about the relationship itself; it’s the gender role expectations people have about relationships. It’s the idea that men are always one way while women are the other, that men are lazy and women are controlling, that women want to go dancing while men want to play golf. In every relationship every gender stereotype is challenged. Men often want a traditional wedding, while women would prefer to quietly get hitched at Town Hall. When looking at an apartment recently a realtor mockingly said about an enormous walk-in closet, “But where will your boyfriend keep his stuff?” I promptly corrected him that my boyfriend is the shopper among us and proceeded to roll my eyes. With the constant divides pop culture encourages between men and women, why do people continue to perpetuate such stereotypes? In a relationship especially, people presuppose a boyfriend is one way while the girlfriend is the exact other, and that they resent each other because of it. In LGBT couples there’s an assumption that there is always both a “masculine” and a “feminine” presence that makes up the couple. But why haven’t people figured out we’re all some of each?
Moira, horseback rider, Edinburgh
All You Need Is Love
Since the 1960s and the introduction of the popular western culture to meditation (by way of The Beatles and Maharishi Maresh Yogi), there has been a growing interest in meditation and its benefits. Empirical studies have shown countless benefits to adopting a mindfulness practice. My interest, however, lies in the power of meditation to allow individuals to engage in a calmer, rational and more peacful exchanges of ideas. As a practitioner myself, I can testify to the wealth of benefits a steady practice bestows upon its practioner. Through a mindfulness practice, in which an individual learns to patiently (and nonjudgementally) observe their own thought process, he or she will develop the mental fortitude necessary to challenge his or her own thoughts, and the perspective and distance needed to stop automatically identifying with each of them. Such a person becomes more open-minded and patient as well as less reactive and fearful (as they are no longer operating under the false notion—or imposition—that all of their thoughts are a reflection of their own beliefs). This is the sort of individual with whom I would like to discuss my ideas, one who is in control of their own mind and not fearful, on any level, of hearing an opposing perspective. Only such a person as this can fully partake in an open dialogue and respond with simultaneous confidence and respect for the opposition.
Jacob, faculty member, UWS
Green Green Grass
What is our obsession with the unattainable? This notion that someone or something is out of reach, for perfectly practical, financial, or moral reasons. Not theoretically, mind you, but logically. Is it a purely American mentality or is it a global epidemic to go after something that we should flat out know that we will never get? Careers, material objects, I understand. There are even some exceptions when it comes to relationships, but they are even rarer than Native Americans. I know this girl. Sweet, beautiful, funny, girl. She’s a bit of a floozy. More people dislike her than value her friendship, moral character, or just her as an individual. But I don’t judge. If you can get it, more power to you, right? But this past weekend, I bared witness to the extent of her floozitude. This girl is a serial monogamist. Always the dumped, never the dumper. Insecurities so far up the wazoo that she often jumps right into another relationship within days of her previous one’s demise. A few months ago, her boyfriend of two years broke up with her. True to form, less than a week later, she’s with someone new. But along her endless cycle of “Find a guy. Make him boyfriend. Get dumped by said boyfriend,” that seems to be on repeat more than “What does the frog say” song, she has another pattern. There is another guy in her life that is by her side throughout her perpetual unrest. He is her back up plan, her plan B if you will. She’s slept with him, multiple times, when she’s single, more often when she’s not, but she will never ever EVER date him. She knows it. He knows it. But he’s still infatuated with her, and she doesn’t notice him unless she wants the attention that her current boyfriend should be giving her but cannot seem satisfy. A big group of us go out, including the triage of clusterfucks: my friend, her boyfriend, and her plan B. We’re dancing and having a blast. The girl’s boyfriend suddenly gets too drunk to realize that she exists. And in response, the girl matches his alcohol intake and retaliates by sexually dancing with her Plan B. Dangling the dry hump right in front of him. Plan B is excited, in more ways than one I imagine, but thinks that maybe he can steal her away for the night. But when the song ends, and the night’s over, she goes home with her boyfriend. And I look at Plan B. He’s looking after her, with that glazed stare of stolen satisfaction, and regretful rejection. It was sad, really. Painful to watch. It reminded me of horse breeders. Stay with me here. Horse breeders breed racing horses. Powerful stallions. But in order to get the mare, the prized possession, all riled up, they first bring in a teasing pony. A male that does not have the genetic composition worthy for sperm distribution, but has the chemistry to provoke her sexual appetite. Then after a good few minutes, he’s yanked out of the room and replaced by the Money Maker. Plan B is a teasing stallion, used only for their sexual stimulation and possible alcoholic lubrication; never to be taken seriously, never to be fully seen. To all of you out there, set an alarm because this is your wake-up call. Get some fucking self-respect. If the grass is greener on the other side, let the unattainables graze by their damn selves! You’re more than a teasing stallion, but no one’s going to believe it until you do. So man-up, and move on.
Suzanne, pollster, Red Hook