On Ignoring People, Politely

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I stalk my friends. My mom stalks me. A suitor of mine from Istanbul (long story — don’t ask) stalks me, too. I stalk friends of friends — this is my favorite kind of stalking. I mostly stalk my friends, though, and especially those who I must consult before Instagram posts, before late night texts, and before I almost leave the house wearing an unflattering crop top with low rise skinny jeans (I’ve gotta learn to stick to mid rise). Stalking has become socially acceptable. In fact, it’s the way we choose to communicate. If you’re getting ready to go out and don’t have 17 unread messages from the same two people, are you really best friends? Probably not.

Although I appreciate the comfort that comes with attachment, it has recently started to annoy the sheezus out of me. I’m a girl that loves knowing who she’s got. In other words, I find inexplicable amounts of comfort in my few best friends that come from various places. I have my high school best friends, my college best friends, my older best friends, my younger best friends, my boy best friends, my brother (the one that’s old enough to be my best friend, the other needs to grow more armpit hair first), and with each one comes a solid relationship. And when I take a second to think about what that solid relationship really means to me — how I know it’s there, how I separate my relationships with these people from the ones I have with others — one thing quickly comes to mind before all else: I can text them anything at any time. Really, that’s what it is.

That doesn’t mean I like them because I can text them, or because I can send them Snapchats on the toilet and they don’t care at all. It means that I can text them because I like them.

When my friends stalk me and I don’t really feel like being stalked, am I allowed to put down the phone? Can I legally disappear? Do I have to tell them where I am and who I’m with?

If we didn’t stalk each other, and if we weren’t in a situation where we must be liking each other’s profile pictures or putting links on each other’s walls when we aren’t texting, FaceTiming, or snuggling IRL with some Pinot Grigio, then maybe we wouldn’t feel such a need to ignore each other. The reason why we have to ignore each other in the first place is because we have to make a conscious effort to stop talking. We’re so obsessed with each other that when we decide to be alone, we feel each other’s absences like crazy. I think I’m different though. I like being alone. Sometimes, I don’t want to be found. So when my little “…” bubble fails to appear and the ladies get pissed, I don’t really know what to do.

Over the summer, my dad sent a text message after 11pm to a close family friend who he happened to be conducting business with. The text was work-related, but their relationship was, primarily, not. She didn’t respond until the next morning, and later told my mom that she was irked by his chutzpah to bother her so late at night. She didn’t respond not because she was mad, but because it was late, she was in bed, and she didn’t want to talk about work. My dad’s philosophy was that he knew it was late and that she didn’t have to answer it if she didn’t want to. But maybe he shouldn’t have sent the text in the first place. Couldn’t it have waited until morning? Whose job is it to let the text go unanswered — or maybe unsent?

My mom and I discussed and concluded that the email has become the mode of transportation for messages along the lines of “add this to your to do list and LMK whatchya think,” while texts are meant to say “HELP SOS REPLY ASAP PLS AND THX.”

Still, my best friends in the world who I love very, very dearly get annoyed when I don’t answer a text just because I don’t feel like it. I’m with Sum 41 here when I say that we’re in too deep. We’ve been sucked into a vortex of communicative norm and if we don’t sing la-di-da with it and feel okay with its ways, we go to BFF hell. I don’t know about you, but I wake up every morning with the expectation that at least one text will be waiting for me. And when my home screen is empty, and there’s nothing fun to read with my puffy eyes half-open, I get a little sad.

Do I want your non-urgent text at 1am? Yes. Do I want you to be okay with the fact that I don’t feel like responding to you at 6:40pm? Also yes.

Flavor of the Week: The Ten Commandments (Redux)

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That’s definitely not how you spell Hanukkah but okay!

Rosh Hashana is the one day a year when every girl can wear all of her Star of David Tiffany & Co. jewelry at the same time and no one can say anything about it.

Before the sun goes down and the party starts, I thought a lesson in Torah studies was mandatory. Let’s be real — we all need to mentally prepare for the night where no service is tolerable, regardless of how much Adderall your mom slipped you while walking into shul. Be sure not to get your fingers sticky dipping your sliced Jazz apples in organic raw agave before remembering what the Lord our God, otherwise known as “Mom,” would want you to remember about starting a sweet new year as a nice Jewish girl.

The Ten Commandments (redux):

1. Thou shalt not steal articles of cloth from the closet of your Mother and then carry the threads of your elders to thy destined place of higher education without permission.

2. Thou shalt not commit adultery with thy neighbor’s matzoh balls.

3. Remember the Sabbath day, and keep it holy, for it shall be the only day thou permits thineself to consume the Bagel.

4. Thou shalt not desire any nose that does not belong to you, for our health insurance bypasses the expenditure with a judgmental eye.

5. Thou shalt not use the name of the Lord your God in vain when thou makest thou signature upon a Bloomingdale’s receipt.

6. Thou shalt not be courted by an Adam whose last name dare not endeth in the suffixes of -berg, -man, -witz, -cohen, -feld, or -stein.

7. Honor your father and mother, that your days may be long upon the Murray Hill apartment which they has payeth for.

8. You shall not make for yourself a carved brisket — any likeness of anything that is from a Food Network show — for I, the Lord your Mother, am a jealous mother, with the best brisket recipe in all the land, to Israel and beyond.

9. Thou shalt not murder thy pimples. Maketh a visit to the dermatologist, as our health insurance will cover the cost of boils, and thou may ruin thine own face with thine own hands.

10. You shall not bear false witness against a good deal, and savor thy coupons in all their divine glory.


On The Modern Birthday

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My birthday’s tomorrow. But it was also yesterday, and it’s kind of also tonight. Oh, and it was Friday, too. Tomorrow’s the last day, though. I solemnly swear.

I love birthdays — always have, and always will. I don’t love them as much as I used to. With each birthday I somehow seem to be getting another year older, not sure how, though, and as I get older I find that I’m in charge of making sure my birthday is all about me. When you’re little, you don’t realize that making a day (or a week) all about you isn’t a natural occurrence. It’s an effort made for you every year without question.

People might say to you, “You’re birthday’s so soon already!” just because they remember how wasted they got at dinner the year before. If you don’t say, “Let’s go sake bombing,” or, “What should I do for my birthday ?” there’s an increasing chance, with each year, that nothing will happen. Your parents will remember, and your best friends will too, and you’ll get some presents, but it’s not like what it used to be. Whatever happened to goody bags? Ice cream cake?

Let us not be too cynical — I still love birthdays. When I was younger, I wasn’t sure how to make a birthday because I was too busy being a part of it. After years of a Facebook account, months of increased Instagram usage, new (and old) friends, and almost two years of keeping a (fro-yo) diary, I’ve become able to break down what the birthday ‘requires,’ so to speak, once it becomes your own. I do it — you do, too — and it’s what keeps us sane enough to avoid the anxiety of getting older and becoming a real human. If feeling forever young means obsessing over miniature foods, I don’t hate it.

1. Two birthday dinners. One is loud and drunken. You’re surrounded by an overwhelming amount of people who have too many conversations at once, and you can never really tell if everyone’s having a good time or not. There’s lots of wine though, which makes up for basically everything. It doesn’t count if it doesn’t take twenty minutes to figure out how you’re going to split the bill. The other dinner is small and cute with the few peeps you love the most. It’s generally more focused on the quality of the food than the restaurant’s BYOB policy.

2. Birthday texts at midnight. As long as you get one of these, you’re in the clear. It’s kind of sad to get none, but you don’t really need a million, either… just enough to make you effing stoked for tomorrow, which is bound to be the best day, like, ever. Just like how every other birthday you’ve ever had was bound to also be the best day ever. I’d never get mad at a friend for not sending the midnight text, because my birthday is 24 hours long and shit happens.

3. Receive a lot of large packages. A lot of small packages won’t do. Mail won’t really do, either. It’s all about taking a pic of yourself surrounded by large boxes with your flawless birthday hairdo. And then your friend has to post it to social media and be like, “LOOK AT THIS QUEEN. LOOK AT HER.”

4. Keeping a mental list of people you are curious to hear from — or not hear from. Think exes, frenemies, the boy you have an awkward history with, the boy you hope is secretly in love with you, etc. At the end of the day, you must always say to yourself, wow, I’m very surprised that she didn’t call, or can’t believe I didn’t hear from him! Also, people who text instead of Facebook post get brownie points. And people who call… marry them. Just marry them all.

5. Spend an extra twenty minutes getting ready in the morning. When you walk by people throughout the day, they have to compliment you on your appearance (You look so good today!) or wish you a happy birthday (Ohmigod, happy birthday girrrrl!). Obviously though, we’re aiming for both.

6. Be disappointed by something or someone. Otherwise, how do you plan on getting your good birthday cry in? IT’S MY PARTY AND I’LL CRY IF I WANT TO, BITCHES.

7. Someone has to take a beautiful photo of you blowing out your candles, in which you look candid and happy and fun. Then you can Instagram it the next day, and caption it, “Thank you to my fans for the best birthday yet! Couldn’t have done it without all of you!”

8. Birthday collages must be made in your honor. If no one Instagrams you a birthday collage, then is it really your birthday? And if she didn’t only choose pictures in which she looks hot, is she a true friend? We all know that only true friends make Insta collages, and wouldn’t dare make real collages, or, even better, just Instagram a solo shot of you. Because how rude would it be of you to hog your birthday attention all to yourself and deny your friend the right to make herself look good, too?

9. Wear something that informs the peasantry it’s your birthday, such as a crown, tiara, ribbon, sash, perhaps a ball gown, etc. This is only socially acceptable when you go out drinking (see number one re: the “loud and drunken dinner”) because sober people would judge you too much for it.

10. Receive cute miniature desserts. Choose from an array of Baked By Melissa, Momofuku cake truffles, cupcakes in a jar, etc. Everyone needs these because they certify that it is your birthday, and not because the birthday girl will actually eat that much of it. Ugh, I ate half of a BBM (Baked By Melissa)! I’m so full! Someone help me finish this tray of cupcakes that all together weighs less than a slice of pizza!

I’m thinking of making a birthday collage for myself this year. Thoughts? Y/N/M? LMK. THX.

Me at my birthday party in 2002. I peaked as a birthday girl here, I think.

Me at my birthday party in 2002. I peaked as a birthday girl here, I think.

(p.s. You have three and a half hours to prepare your midnight birthday greeting to me. If you don’t send me one, I’m excommunicating you from the kingdom.)

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