Two summers ago, I went to Italy for ten days with my best friend and our mothers. Four Jewish girls in a foreign country will lead to one thing, and one thing only: male strippers. Just kidding, you know I was obviously going to say shitloads of pictures. Enough selfies to fulfill a New New Testament. Pictures with birds. Pictures with randos. Pictures of pasta. Pictures of us with alcohol. Pictures of bridges.
One night at a cozy dinner on the water in Venice, sipping limoncello after Vine-ing my meal of fresh fish (#tbt Vine), we got to talking about pictures. After all, when we weren’t taking them, we were looking through them, and when we weren’t looking through them, we were talking about them.
“I don’t understand,” I said, “how famous people manage to look so good in every picture they take.” We even spoke about people we knew from home who were not necessarily beautiful, yet effortlessly photogenic. I complained that I didn’t think to ‘work it’ when I took a photo, and I always look semi-goatish in candids.
My best friend’s mom answered flatly, “It’s not that anyone who looks good in pictures, or any celebrity, is necessarily that pretty. They just know what they have to do in order to look their best, and they do it every time.”
Of course, I was familiar with the notions of pointed cheekbones, protruding collarbones, and the classic skinny arm, but it was never something I thought of every time I said ‘cheese.’ I know which is my good side, but my stubborn friends rarely let me have it. Therefore, looking my best 10 out of 10 times I need to strike a pose had become a lost cause. Perhaps not lost, but definitely not something worth fighting for.
In a way, though, it maybe should be. Nothing sucks more than looking shitty in a photo where everyone else looks good. Or, better said, nothing is worse than ‘photo regret’ — when you realize that all you had to do was bend one knee that way, or tilt your chin in the other direction, or lead forward just a tad to have made you look #flawless.
Now, I try to be more conscious when taking a photo, which is kind of sad but is, nonetheless, a necessary evil. I mean, everyone else does it too, right?
If you’re like me and forget to make Snapchat your Marc Jacobs runway a la MBFW 14 (men, read as Mercedes Benz Fashion Week 2014), here is a quick list of helpful reminders for looking your best in a photo:
1. Arms: Skinny arm (push shoulder forward/hand on hip/or, just face forward so arm width isn’t visible).
2. Smile/face: Sometimes my smile is kinda weird if my lips are dry. I think that’s why, at least. Lick your lips beforehand so that weird lower part of your top lip doesn’t get stuck to your gum. Doesn’t bother anyone else? Anyone? Anyone? …Bueller?
Recently, it’s become a thing to not smile with teeth, like, ever. It looks cute, but it also means you aren’t really smiling. Truth be told, you look cuter when you’re happy than you do when you’re fake-grinning. So you can take the route of smiling without teeth and tilting your chin up, though its trendiness does not, in my opinion, compensate for how unflattering it is on half of the people who do it. My preference is to smile really big and tilt my chin down a bit, so my cheekbones look nicer and you can see those pearly whites.
3. Legs: The most recent advances in making your legs look thin and your thigh gap wide is to stand with your legs very awkwardly shoulder-width apart and knees locked in (yes, people can see you doing that and it does look awkward). There is also the classic-lock one knee, rotate the opposite foot 45 degrees to the side. Or, keep both toes pointed forward and bend one knee forward as well. Oh wait, one more — toes together, heels apart. Choose your poison.
The sad thing is that most people who are not trained red carpet professionals look terrifyingly awkward in attempts to make these poses work. And then everyone begins to focus on your weird stance, your unnatural position, so much that the beauty you inevitably have gets minimized. A funny-looking picture is always better than an awkward one. I, like everyone else, enjoys a good flash of collarbone. But girls are very crazy, and girls are very ridiculous, and this is, unfortunately, very much the truth.
I find it difficult to remember to look good in pictures, though I’m more aware of it now than I used to be. But my legs are a lost cause anyway, so that’s one less thing to worry about.
This morning I had a conversation with a friend that went like this:
Her – “I stayed over with a guy last night [emoji with the eyes that look like ^^ and a lot of teeth here]”
Me – “Did you have sex”
Her – “Yeah. He was really sweet”
My response was very quickly like: !!!!!! Don’t have too much casual sex what are you doing stop being easy ugh watch out plz ~!~!~!~!!!
Her defense was, also quickly, like: Everyone around me has so much casual sex and sex isn’t a big deal to me so there’s no reason for me not to have casual sex, especially if I like having sex
We probably could have gone back and forth for hours. I’ve always known that I’m not a fan of impersonal fornication (thought I’d change up the lingo to make my parents, who are certainly reading this, feel minimal discomfort). My reasons are simple: I shouldn’t just give anyone me and my body. Wall Street-bound guys can think of it like supply and demand — when everyone’s got it, the value goes down. And girls already know the prime example of the girl from high school who everyone thought was pretty until she went to third base with every player on the field. Suddenly, she just becomes tainted and never really looks the same.
There’s a very valid argument in that girls like sex just as much as boys do, so they should be able to have it just as much and in all the ways, with all the people that boys do without social repercussion. The fight to end “slut-shaming,” though, doesn’t extend much further than cleverly penned internet essays by chic young women who can talk about liking sex and sound witty doing it. I feel cool like that when I watch SportsCenter on the treadmill. The real world doesn’t allow me to intelligently talk about sports, nor does it allow girls who have all kinds of sex with all kinds of people to get away with it (not to say that this is the way things should be). Those girls will inevitably get looks evil enough to turn your insides into artisan oatmeal.
“No one really gives a shit about what you do,” my friend said in her own defense. So if she wanted to have sex with this guy, and he wanted to have sex with her, no one cared, why not? It isn’t that I, or any other girl who likes to make men work, doesn’t want to have sex. We want it, but it has to be earned.
Well, does it? Do guys make girls werk for it? Has anyone ever had a problem getting a guy (who’s attracted to her) to sleep with her?
Not that I’ve heard of, and that’s kind of weird. Maybe girls play hard to get as a sort of self assurance to tell ourselves that we are worth it, after all. Maybe it’s the way the male brain(s) is/are (lolz) wired. To me, that sounds like a dumb justification. That makes it too easy. And when you’re talking about boys, girls, and sex, things really can never, ever be that easy.
I didn’t mean to make my friend feel like shit, but I didn’t think I was because I wasn’t calling her a slut, and I still respect her as a woman just as much, if not more, than I respect Beyoncé. Yet the fact that my immediate reaction was “chill your nips, gurl” is a testament to how interwoven the anti-easy screw mentality is in my mind. She called me out on it — not just on my opinions, but on the fact that if we were two guys doing side-by-side bench presses, I would’ve given her “mad daps,” as boys these days like to say.
The sexual double standard implies that men and women have different social consequences for the same actions, which makes shit unfair when you avoid getting laid because your girlfriends are single, jealous, and really judgmental. My friend is right — there shouldn’t be a double standard, but not because we should sleep with all of the boys all of the time. I shouldn’t think she’s making a mistake just because she did something that I wouldn’t instinctively do. She still shouldn’t sleep with random boys too often, because I would be really upset if she got HPV. And because I think she should value her self-worth highly. I don’t know which is a better reason. Very much a toss up.
In order to drink as much as we possibly can and to extend the night as wide and as deep as it will possible run (much like a river bed), our generation has decided to split partying in halves and refer to each as a different name. Alas, you have ‘pregame’ and ‘party,’ though they both really mean ‘DRINK.’
Our parents didn’t have pregames, but we do. And to think how surprised we all acted in family life our freshman year of high school when the teacher wearing track pants insisted data absolutely, positively proved that 70% of all high schoolers binge drink. I didn’t know how to take a shot until my first year of college. So to think, a young 14-year-old me, with the alcohol tolerance of a baby given wine at his bris, fell into that 70%? My friends and I called it hogwash. What an effing blasphemy that someone wearing track pants is telling me that the majority of my friends are binge drinkers! And usually we just mix vodka with OJ in a red cup and call it a day! And I probably act more drunk from the sugar in the OJ than I do from the alcohol! I don’t even know what a ’30 rack’ means!
However, of course, we were very wrong.
Pregaming: the act of getting together with a small group of friends to start drinking with the intention of eventually going somewhere else. It’s like a base coat, but for your liver.
Binge drinking: drinking a sometimes absurd amount of alcohol in order to get drunk in a short amount of time; usually done to feel the effects of alcohol quickly.
There isn’t much of a difference aside from the fact that you binge drink (verb) at a pregame (noun). But as we all know, they go together like ramalamalamakadingadadingadong.
There is an art to the pregame, that which is perfected after study and practice. You learn what time to arrive given the estimated time of departure for the party itself, or what time to arrive based upon the requested time of arrival to the pregame. Of course, the goal is to never arrive on time, anywhere. You learn to walk in with your own cup/unidentifiable mixed liquid. Or, obv, you could always just enter with your iPhone in one hand and a can of Diet Coke in the other, presumably ‘shared’ with a really random and ironic name, and you look cool enough to call it a day. You have to look as good for the pregame as you plan on looking for the party. And you have to say hi to everyone — everyone — or SGA (shit gets awk).
Often, the pregame is better than the party. It, like Cady Heron, has become the center of all social life. I hear a song and I think: this would be suchhhh a good pregame song. But, like, where are the party songs? And if I have no plans, I ask my friends: what are we thinking for PG? Asking where the party is makes me sound Bob Saget-ancient.
Saying “Should we pregame it?” is like asking “Has Miley instagrammed a million pictures of her arts and crafts projects in the last half hour?” The answer is always an obvious DUH.
I could and would talk about this for hours, but I have to go get ready for a pregame. Literally.