The Suspension of Disbelief (I Can’t)

Last weekend, while most of you were busy getting drunk in the name of Catholicism and nursing your subsequent hangovers, I was busy taking care of my dog, who apparently thinks it’s a good idea to chew on door frames while I’m gone. Giving up my social life for this basket case means that I watch a lot of television. Blaming my soul-taking television habits on my stressed out dog isn’t exactly fair, but whatever. He can’t defend himself.

At any rate, my high volume of television intake also means that I am subject to all the previews for forthcoming movies. And, my god, some of these movies look ridiculous. Beautiful Creatures is like Twilight with witches and Emma Thompson. Admission makes my Tina Fey lady-boner weep (and not in a good way).

People have been complaining about the lack of originality in Hollywood for quite some time, but it never really bothered me. Sure, sequels and remakes abound. And, yeah, if you imagine coke-fueled circle-jerk movie pitches by old white dudes, rehashing the same old shit, then yeah, it’s something to get panty-twistingly angry about.

Hollywood, though, has always been this way. Some of the greatest movies ever made are just adaptations of novels, myths, and true stories. Laziness is part of the box office hit formula. Nicholas Sparks farted out another romance novel? Someone call Selena Gomez! Garfield again? Okay. Another reboot of Spiderman? Fine, fine, fine.

The reason I always thought that this was okay is because, if done correctly, every time a story is retold or a film remade, it is done from a fresh perspective. If done correctly, remakes add a whole different dimension and, in turn, enrich the story being told.

A line, however, has been crossed. To what am I referring? Halle Berry’s new movie The Call. Oh, it looks like your run-of-the-mill, overwrought “I’m not gonna let you hurt her” kind of story where the protagonist has an inexplicable attachment to the damsel in distress and just has to save her. Yet it is so much more.

The whole premise is this: a 9-1-1 operator, played by Halle Berry, fields a call from a teenage girl under attack by a serial killer. She helps the girl escape, but, for some reason, calls back when they get disconnected, essentially giving up the girl’s whereabouts to the killer. She blames herself for the death of this girl, which leads to her decision to turn in her headset and give up the operator life in order to become an instructor.

Lo and behold, several months later, by some twist of fate, another teenage girl is captured by the same serial killer. She calls 9-1-1 and just happens to be connected to the very dispatcher Halle Berry is training. Seeing that her trainee is not equipped to handle this kind of call (color me surprised!), she takes over and tries to rescue the girl. Fine. I will put aside my disbelief that another victim of this guy just happens to call 9-1-1 and connect with Berry’s character.

Where this movie starts to lose me, though, is the fact that Berry plays someone whose job includes hearing people die all the time. Sure, most 9-1-1 calls come from confused toddlers who just want to see what happens when they press the no-no button, but there’s also a lot of car accidents, domestic violence, and crime that these dispatchers (theoretically) deal with.

Which is why, the whole time throughout the movie, you just don’t get why she cares so fucking much. Like, seriously, if a girl were lucky enough for her kidnapper to be too stupid to grab her purse and/or phone from her before stuffing her in his trunk, the 9-1-1 operator would probably give her the bored, “Ma’am, you need to calm down. Ma’am, I don’t need you yelling in my ear. Just tell me where you are right now.”

Nope. She goes into overdrive, even going so far as to look for this guy without the help of police. But I’m getting ahead of myself. First, we have to talk about the fact that this “serial killer” realizes that the girl is flagging down help and ends up killing civilians who attempt to stop him. It gets messy.

What bothers me about the fact that he kills several bystanders and even steals a victim’s car in order to get away from the scene is that there is no way witnesses wouldn’t have taken note of the car he had stolen. Oh, and did I mention that he stole the car in order to get away from the cops who still hadn’t found him? How much fucking time elapsed while he was killing people in public?

If a white teenage girl had been kidnapped and her kidnapper were making this much of a public ruckus, there would be news helicopters, police vehicles everywhere, roadblocks, the SWAT team. It’s a white girl in trouble, people! He never would have gotten past the first car that tried to stop him.

Well, gee, maybe it was one of those missed-it-by-an-inch things where the cops arrive immediately after he’s fled the scene. Serendipity and whatever. Fine. But that doesn’t explain the fact that she has a cell phone and they don’t trace her location.

Oh, silly me. Her cell phone is disposable, and therefore they can’t get an exact location. Why a teenager in clothes as nice as hers has a disposable phone instead of a family plan and a Droid is beyond me. Not to mention: the sloppy you-can’t-trace-prepaid-phones explanation is just not true.

I get that this is, on the whole, a really successful genre: the damsel-in-distress and personal vendetta all wrapped into one. I mean, Liam Neeson did it. Twice. The difference is that his character in Taken and Taken 2 was trying to rescue his kidnapped daughter. So he kind of, you know, had personal stock in the matter. I could suspend my disbelief for Taken. I could even put aside my “Seriously again?!” incredulity for the sequel.

There is no suspension of disbelief in this film, because it could never happen. Halle Berry has a really bad perm. Disposable phones aren’t traceable. A kidnapper kills several bystanders in a messy way, and he still gets away. A 9-1-1 operator gets personally involved instead of returning to her turkey on rye.

Honestly, all of this could have been solved by saying that it took place in the 1980s or 90s. Seriously: her hair would make sense. There would be no sloppy throw-away explanation of the untraceable cell phone. Witnesses wouldn’t be able to call the police on their phones when they spotted the killer. I mean, the whole personal involvement thing would still be eyebrow-raising, but it could be that one exceptional detail that makes this movie worth watching.

You could actually put yourself into her shoes and say, “Yeah, if I were a 9-1-1 operator, I would totally try to rescue people in trouble.” Even though you would probably just sit there like a fat turd, munching on Cheetos while someone was being stabbed, you could at least pretend to relate to Berry’s character. Instead, we have this monstrosity.

Life is in the details. And The Call has just pushed me over that invisible edge. I expect this sort of stuff from kids’ movies, because the only thing worth paying attention to is the slapstick-y humor. And the colors. Oooh, colors. If you’re going to insult viewer intelligence like this, take it out of our universe. Add some supernatural shit, so you can fudge the details. Then, at least, you’ll get the Twilight army on your side.

What bothers me about this movie, when it comes down to it, is this: whoever is making these movies is doing so under the assumption that the general viewership is made up of unthinking, brain dead idiots. While I would hope that we are so much more than that, I’m not sure the 71% audience rating on Rotten Tomatoes would agree with me.

In the mean time, I hope you all enjoy your marked up movie popcorn, dummies. And you better hope that, if you ever get kidnapped, whoever answers your distress call doesn’t really want to eat lunch anyways.

My Daily Thoughts: A Breakdown

thoughts pie chart

Lisa is feeling lazy, kids, hence the pie chart. Also, food. Note that the chart is broken down by food-based colors: licorice, strawberry, cherry, and, uhhh, sky blue. Mmmm, sky. The pie, by the way, was marionberry. And it was delicious.

You’re Going to Die Alone! Part Two

Happy Vawentine’s Day, fwends. I hope you’ve all got plans to go eat an overpriced dinner at an overhyped restaurant and then have disappointing sex with someone you plan on breaking up with soon anyways. As for me, this has been a period of reflection (and chocolate), and it has made me think of one thing in particular.

When I was in eighth grade, I went through a period of darkness. I wore a lot of black eyeliner, and oversized black shirts supporting Taking Back Sunday and Brand New. I liked wearing unnecessary safety pins on the shoulders of my basically brand new clothes, as I did not truly understand the punk aesthetic. I was a tortured soul, and no one understood me or my dandruff.

But, at home, I still watched Disney movies. I would come home, write in my journal, and watch The Little Mermaid over and over again until I could recite every line of dialogue and imitate every sound effect. I would wear my jelly bracelets and scowl at the pRePpIeS in school, and then come home and ache for someone to crash his boat into me.

What’s your point, Lisa? That you have no friends?

Well, I don’t, but no. That’s not my point. My point is this: I am ruined forever. Dark soul listening to Nine Inch Nails or little dork listening to Britney Spears, I don’t understand what is normal when it comes to love. (As I made very clear in my post earlier in the week.) What is acceptable? What should make me run the other way?

I cannot date without breaking into a cold sweat over whether this guy is a serial killer or a creepy-but-sweet dating prospect. As it is Valentine’s Day, I will celebrate by chewing on dry, chalky hearts and giving you a run-down of my dating expectations and how they’ve evolved over the last ten years.

dating expectations

See, the thing about being ~dArK~ when you’re thirteen is that the world is still full of possibilities. I just knew that my punxrawker prince was out there, writing a Harry Potter fanfiction piece where I was the Mary Sue. And now? A lady is lucky to find a guy with all of his teeth. HAPPY FEBRUARY FOURTEENTH, FUCKERS!

You’re Going to Die Alone! Part One

Confession: I went to the grocery store yesterday for the first time in a month. A whole month of eating frozen burritos and ramen, of seeing if I could steal food from my coworkers without them noticing, of going out to eat and splurging on a $10 meal only if I could make it last the whole day. Why? Because I’m lazy.

Really, the truth is that I work full time, go to school, have to take care of my spoiled dog, and sometimes write stuffs, so I don’t really carve out time to cook. And good sweet baby Jesus, eating out is expensive. My point being: I finally went to buy food for myself, and when I walked into the grocery store, I was kind of shocked.

Pink hearts everywhere, shitty cream-filled chocolates, and generic teddy bears with “I wuv you” stitched onto their chests. I realized: Holy fuck. It’s Valentine’s Day this week. I’ve been so busy lately that I forgot what the beginning of February meant.

As I walked through the aisles filled with disgusting candy and wilting flowers, I couldn’t figure out why I can’t get behind the holiday. Granted, I’ve never put much stock into a holiday that bases its success directly upon the cheesy cards you receive and the over-priced dinner you eat. Yet, I have had friends in the past who have sobbed if their boyfriends forgot to mention the day. I just can’t get behind that attitude. But why?

Then, while perusing the cheese counter, it hit me like a PTSD flashback. I mean, aside from the fact that a common concern of mine is food-related—Will it go bad before I eat it all?— I’ve never minded being single. But this is the time of year when everyone tells me that I am, indeed, going to be found in my apartment, covered in dog hair, with a picture of my high school crush crumpled up in my rigor mortised hand.

And hey, who’s to say things won’t change? Maybe we’ll meet again when we’re old and we’re both ugly from years of eating Laffy Taffy and falling asleep in front of the television. (No? Just me?) But for now, history has taught me one thing: it repeats itself. Over and over and over again. So here it is: a re-visitation of my love life over the past twenty years.

Preschool

His name was Jason. (It is probably still Jason, but whatever.) We were four, and we had a torrid love affair. We would play Batman on the playground and coordinate our outfits. We even kissed—on the lips! But one day, this new girl, Stephanie, started at our school. She had strawberry blonde ringlet curls, and she always wore dresses.

Jason and I had been together for A Long Time (at least the first half of the school year), so I wasn’t threatened. That is, until one day, I saw him holding her hand on the playground. I marched right over to her and cold-clocked her in the face. I got into trouble, and Stephanie and Jason carried on until we all graduated and went on to kindergarten.

Second Grade

Dylan. We knew each other from forced play-dates so our moms could drink coffee and gossip. He had soulful blue eyes, and my heart would jump whenever I saw his blonde bowl-cut walking towards me. I bought Power Rangers Valentine’s Day cards and saved the biggest one for him.

I wrote, “You are the White Ranger to my Pink Ranger.” I snuck it into his desk in the morning, hopeful. Later, I watched him repurpose it and give it to another girl in our class. In the corner, watching, I rage-crushed my candy hearts into a fine powder. “U r mine” my ass.

Sixth Grade

Middle school is where you get a boyfriend, right? RIGHT? Wrong. Big-nosed Matt. Awkward and nasally. This is a sure thing, I thought to myself. Granted, I had grown out and not up yet, and my glasses were always broken. But still. Easy target. We shared art supplies, and he even touched my hand. We even lived down the street from one another.

One day, he rode past my house on his bike. This is it! I thought. I ran outside to say hi. Instead of a smooth “Hello” though, I slipped on the grass, lost my footing, and slid on my ass all the way down to the sidewalk. We stared at each other for a moment, then he rode away. We never talked again.

Tenth Grade

Oh, Tim. Or John. Tim-John. John-Tim. He was The Kid Who Changed His Name. He had creepily-long fingernails, and no, he did not play guitar. We sat in his front room and watched Dawn of the Dead. Now, maybe for some girls, that would be totally awesome, but I have trouble even watching that episode of Family Matters where Carl has to stop a bad gun with a gun. I do not do violence.

Well, at any rate, I was supposed to be doing homework at my friend’s house. When my parents called and said they were on their way to pick me up, I panicked. As I was leaving, he grabbed me, digging his nails into my arm. He leaned forward and kissed me. Well, it was more like: he put his mouth on top of mine and sucked. But it kind of counts.

We went to the movies together the next week . His dad drove us. When I got into the back seat, he went to sit in the front until his dad nudged him and said, “Sit with the girl, Timmy.” We sat in silence until we got to the theater and he awkwardly offered to buy my ticket.

Later that week, he called me while I was walking home with my friends. While they were screaming in the background, I told him quietly, “This isn’t going to work. You call too much. Bye.” We had Geometry together for the rest of the year and didn’t look each other in the eye ever again.

Senior Year of College

This one was special. I saw him across the lecture hall one day, months before we ever exchanged cursory glances. His name? Alex. I thought his tank-top-in-the-winter and flat brim hat look was so beautiful, but it was all over for me when he went on a diatribe about Columbus Day. Eventually, we went to coffee together. His deep voice and love of French press paired perfectly with my pigeon-toed Birkenstock-wearing awkwardness.

We carried on for a few months. He would even make me breakfast. I mean, no one made slightly-burnt toast like this kid. And yet, when we spent time together on the Fourth of July, he and his friends started lighting fireworks. At first, they were just the lame little firecrackers, but eventually they brought out a really big one.

Just to preface this story: I have a severe phobia of loud noises. I can’t stand thunderstorms or fireworks. Even the sight of a gun makes me break out in a cold sweat. So he and his friend, Brad, lit a big one without telling me. I was talking to Brad’s girlfriend, Chelsea, when it went off. I dropped my drink, shoved Chelsea out of my way and ran, screaming, down the alley behind his house.

He found me an hour later, crouching near a tree. He was carrying my purse and my jacket. I took it sheepishly and said goodbye. The next time we saw each other, he laughed and mouthed, “Boom.” But there was no going back. The damage had been done.

****

So, kids, the moral of the story is: if you’re as awkward and weird as me, get a dog and maybe some Lean Cuisines. They’re perfectly portioned for your life, so you don’t have to worry about finding moldy tomatoes in your fridge. And as for why Valentine’s Day itself sucks, well, that’s for another time.

The Shit vs. The Tits

Some things are easier said than done. Making soufflés, for one. Training for a half marathon. Or even, I don’t know, thinking before you speak. No one does it. We just kind of vomit out whatever half-formed thoughts are floating around in our heads. Or maybe that’s just me. But anyways, it leads to things like gently making fun of a new acquaintance for never smiling, then later finding out that he had been shot in the face. (True story.)

More than just saying whatever comes to mind, though, I find myself—and many of my peers—guilty of using nonsensical slang. I think that slang is a fantastic way to track the evolution of language and culture. Some of it, though, just doesn’t make sense and, in turn, makes me wonder how it affects critical thinking and the way we understand the world.

I mean, when you say something is cool but it’s also hot—like, I don’t know, One Direction—your brain will understandably be confused.  Which is it? Am I going to burn myself or get hypothermia? Is Harry Styles cool as a cucumber or is he hot ‘n’ spicy?

There are phrases like  “Gag me with a spoon” that make sense. You could indeed gag yourself with a spoon. Furthermore, it implies that something—a thought, an idea, what have you—makes you so ill that you just want to vomit. Sure it doesn’t sound pretty, but at least there is a reason that phrase became popular in the English language.

Then there are other slang terms. Cool beans, for one. I just…I don’t know what that means. Why are lukewarm legumes a positive thing? Who was the first person to say that, and why is it a phrase that other people clearly thought worthy of repetition? But, you know, “cool beans” does not offend me because, I guess, bean salad is good. Black bean salsa is also delicious. So, I guess you could argue that cool beans are indeed something one should aspire to.

There is one phrase, though, that I cannot and will not support: the shit. Don’t get me wrong. I wholeheartedly support cursing when you’re frustrated or angry or you accidentally sent an e-mail complaining about your boss to your boss. Shit connotes something negative: it literally means fecal matter.

So why do we say something is the shit when we really like it? “Dude, that band is the shit.” Really? That band? The one you love? They remind you of smelly half-digested tacos? I mean, I’m all for making the English language your own. (Which is why I support abreves, bb. Just kidding. Anyone who abbreviates should burn.)

But it comes down to the fact that, as I stated before, people don’t think before they speak. I mean, I hear girls saying they literally died when they, I don’t know, kissed Chad or Michael or whatever. Really? Your body shut down and your heart stopped? Your brain ceased to function? Sure, I mean, it’s possible, if not plausible. Seriously though, by using the shit in your every day vernacular, you run the risk of doing two things: ruining the meaning of a really fantastic vulgarity, and rewiring your brain to think up is down, good is bad, and blue is orange. It’s just wrong. Poop is gross. Why are you equating grossness with goodness?

Which is why I propose a conscious choice to stop using the shit in favor of the tits. Why? Because everyone loves boobs. Everyone. Babies, in their little half-formed minds, equate those squishy sacks of fun with food. Men and women—gay or straight—can appreciate a nice set. At worst, you’re boob neutral. I have never—and I mean never—met someone who just didn’t like breasts.

Think about it: they’re soft and warm. They function much like a stress ball would, releasing your tension just at the mere touch. They’re just plain nice to look at. It’ll make your comparison all the more special: One Direction is so amazing that they remind you of nature’s keg, not of that salmon that isn’t sitting right in your stomach.

To boot, tits sounds similar to shit, so it’ll be an easy transition. And, all of a sudden, when you say that a certain band is the tits, the people you’re talking to will immediately associate that band with warm, fuzzy feelings. “Your cooking is the tits!” Or “Wow, your tits are the tits.” No more will the things you love be associated with bowel movements.

Really, though, it’s your choice. Say what you want. Keep saying “I literally YOLO’d because Harry Styles is totes the shit.” I don’t care. But riddle me this: how are we going to explain to little Johnny when he’s older that “That kid is a piece of shit” doesn’t mean “That kid is awesome”? He’s going to spend years wondering why he didn’t get invited to Shirley’s birthday party even though they all loved him. Think about the kids.

Terrible Thing of the Week: All My Babies’ Mamas

This week, I was going to write about Kim Kardashian and Kanye West’s fetus, Beelzebub, but that’s tired. We all know it’s a bad idea for those narcissists to have children, no less with each other. End of story.

Instead, I want to talk about something I stumbled upon while laying in a hungover heap on my couch. It’s a forthcoming reality show on the Oxygen network called “All My Babies’ Mamas,” featuring Shawty Lo, a rapper, and, you guessed it, the myriad women who have birthed his offspring. (Don’t look at me that way. I wasn’t watching Oxygen. I was channel surfing.)

Oxygen is not exactly known for its fair portrayal of women, especially women of color. I mean, this is the home of shows such as “Bad Girls’ Club” and “My Shopping Addiction.” Oxygen is the new Lifetime. Except, instead of showing women being beaten, they show women fighting with each other and obsessing over clothes.

Wimminz be crazy, rite?? LOL.

No, but really, this is a horrible idea. This man has ten “baby mamas” and eleven children, so we could discuss how horribly irresponsible it is to give him money and essentially reward him for having unprotected sex, for clearly viewing women as sexual objects, or for bringing children into the world without a thought to their individual needs.

Or, we could discuss how this is another example of white television executives taking advantage of the poor and uneducated. LOL @ the black guy doing what he does best, right?? Promiscuity, rapping, probably cheering on any weave-pulling that occurs.

Let’s, instead, discuss how race, gender, and sexual preference become the punch line of show after show. “Queer Eye for the Straight Guy”: because we all need gay men to tell us to stop looking so sloppy. “America’s Next Top Model”: because women, oh vapid sex, just want to be told they’re pretty. “Bad Girls’ Club”: because women—especially women of color—just want to get drunk and pull each other’s hair.

I mean, even the promo photo is laughable. It shows Shawty Lo standing at the forefront, a wide, confident stance. One of the mothers of his children is standing to our left lookin’ mean. She is clearly the main mama. The other ladies are all standing to our right with their children sitting in front of them. They all look so sassy. You can just tell from this photo that there will be wacky hijinks and crazy blow-outs.

This show serves as a foil to “19 Kids and Counting”, where there is never any drama, any shouting on that show. And you know why? Because they’re good Christians who are, more importantly, white. Seriously, I know that the worst the Duggars do is forget to switch over the laundry. But don’t you think it’s a funny coincidence when the one large non-traditional white family you put on television happens to be debt-free and have robots for children, and the one large non-traditional black family you showcase seems embroiled in mayhem? I mean, even that eternal frat douche Kody Brown of “Sister Wives” gets more respect. And you know why? Because he’s married to all four of his baby mamas.

Shit like this perpetuates negative stereotypes. Shit like this is why our country is still run by stodgy old white men, despite being 51% female and 30% non-white. Shit like this is not okay. So, congratulations, Oxygen. You found a way to hit bedrock and burrow even deeper. I’ll be in my bunker, waiting for all of this to blow over.

What Your Recently Watched on Netflix Instant Says About You

When we’re young, we learn not to judge a book by its cover. That’s right: don’t judge the farting, booger-coated boy in your class by the amount of nose gems he stores under his desk, but by the content of his character, which is kind of weird.

Yet, sometimes, it is completely appropriate to extrapolate personality and character by the art, movies, and music we like. For instance, if you listen to and enjoy Ke$ha, you’re probably a drunk college girl who washes her hair once a month and often finds herself waking up in frat house basements with only one shoe.

Then there’s Netflix Instant. The darkest corners of people’s personalities lie within the Recently Watched category, what with grown men secretly watching The Brave Little Toaster and religious people getting down with Zeitgeist.

Your Netflix choices say a lot about you as a person. Let’s break it down.

Amelie

You took French for a year in high school. You wear bright pink tights and “quirky” things like bows and Hello Kitty. You’re a single white woman looking for The One.

Captain America

Like its title character, you are incredibly boring. You also probably have an American flag or a cross tattooed somewhere on your body.

Pretty Little Liars

You were unpopular and kind of dowdy in high school. You read gossip magazines, but you pretend you don’t. You still can’t figure out who A is.

Sicko

You will never, ever, ever, ever listen to anyone with an opinion that differs from your own. Even though you’re probably right, you’re insufferable, rendering your argument null and void. You threaten to move to Canada every 2-4 years, and yet, here you are.

Religulous

Related to the Sicko viewer. You don’t know much about Christianity or the Bible, just what you’ve read on the Atheism subreddit. You’re also kind of a misogynist. You use ad hominem attacks when you run out of anything intelligent to say.

Cadet Kelly

You’re a twenty-something who misses the early 2000s. You still secretly hope Lizzie and Gordo will get together. There is no other reason to watch this.

Addicted

Your life sorely lacks any kind of drama or heartbreak. If it weren’t for the internet, you would be a peeping tom.

The Grey

You masturbate way too much.

Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle

Having recently been dumped, you’re no longer in the mopey stage, but in the girls-kick-ass! stage. This will last until you meet your next soulmate at the Sig Tau mixer.

Get the Gringo

You think what the Jew Media did to Mel Gibson is just awful. You’re trying your best to support him while also getting ready for the imminent War on Whites. You’re probably watching this on your phone while you wait to be called into your hearing. You’re guilty.

Skins

You think everything out of the U.K. is pure gold. You tell yourself that they’re better filmographers and better actors. Really, though, you’re just looking for porn, and you don’t want to risk another virus on your PC.

No matter which way you cut it, you should probably be embarrassed by your Recently Watched on Netflix. But it’s okay. Everyone kind of sucks. So be proud of your horrible taste in movies and television, and watch on.

No Hetero

Occasionally, you happen upon a colloquialism so casually offensive, so ridiculously mean, that you cannot compute what you’ve heard until years later. For me, that was the phrase “No homo.” You know the one: it came with the advent of the ultimate masculine brohug, a tool invented to signal “This is platonic, man.” Because, you know, showing affection for someone you love is, like, totally gay.

The first time I heard the phrase “No homo,” I was sitting in my friend’s dorm room the night before second semester classes started. We had just returned from an arduous winter break full of cheap liquor and awkward run-ins with old high school classmates. Relieved to have returned to school, we were all talking about our Christmas haul.

One guy, let’s call him Xander, got Ugg boots for Christmas.

“Dude, that’s so gay!” yelled another. Let’s call him Scoot. I’ll let you decide how you feel about someone who still uses “gay” as a substitute for “stupid.”

But their third roommate, Bubba, was like, “I dunno, man. They look comfy. I like them. No homo, bro.”

What was this? I had heard the eye-rolling epithet gay-meaning-stupid for years and had learned to simply write off that person as a total fuck-ass and move on with my life. “No homo,” however, was a whole new ball game. Were we really so far down the homophobia hallway that we couldn’t even dole out compliments for fear of being mistaken as—DUN DUN DUNNNN—gay?

It might be one of those things where you never see red Ford Fiestas until you meet someone with a red Fiesta, and then suddenly they’re everywhere. But I started hearing this phrase all the fucking time. And it didn’t always make sense. (As much as fearing you’d be perceived as homosexual for being nice could make sense.)

“I moisturize. No homo.” Nothing wrong with that. Taking care of your skin doesn’t make you gay. Vain maybe, but not gay.

“I just want to stay in tonight. No homo.” Seriously, getting beauty rest is a prerogative free of sexual preference.

“Bro, your girlfriend’s so hot. No homo.” This one really didn’t make sense. I mean, you’re discussing a woman’s positive physical attributes. It doesn’t get much more heterosexual than that. Unless you’re a lady.

But, you know what? Straight people are just fucking stupid. So that’s why I’m happy to introduce my newest product.

no hetero image

I mean, I know we’re not past this. I know. We’re still arguing over whether or not people should have the same rights based on which genitals they like to touch. I get it. But “No homo” is so much worse to me. I’ve written before about how seemingly-inconsequential things like bad music or stupid pictures on Facebook have a huge impact on our collective consciousness. These things sneak up on you and affect your thought process before you can say “It’s okay to be gay!”

In all seriousness, language shapes thought just as much as thought shapes language. It’s a two-way street. So, when you allow something like “No homo” to enter your everyday vernacular, you are telling yourself two dangerous things. The first is that it is, under no circumstances, okay to be homosexual. Second: being nice to someone of your own gender—which eventually extends to being nice to anyone—is something you cannot do without having an ulterior motive. That boils down to: being nice is suspicious, and therefore wrong.

Get it? So next time you hear someone say “No homo,” give them the old slap-n-tickle and ask them if they’re really sure about that.

Being Busy With Things and Stuff

Man, life flies by when you’re busy scooping poop for 40+ hours a week. That is my way of apologizing for falling off of the face of the earth. Sometimes being an adult sucks, because you can’t just sit in front of the television and watch Doug, open-mouthed, while eating Dunkaroos. To top it off, I adopted a little weirdo of my own, an aussie-chow mix who is wonderful, but a handful. He’s got a bit of a lazy eye and doesn’t really care for other dogs. Or strangers. Or leaf blowers.

In all seriousness, though, it’s been a weird couple of months, trying to figure out what I’m doing with my life (scooping poop), what I want to do with my life (not scoop poop), and how I want to go about doing that (big gurl skewl). So, without further ado, I announce my (tentative) return to OJ & Toothpaste. I’ve missed making fun of people and things. HAI GUISE!!

Facebook and the Distortion of Reality

Facebook. It’s an amazing tool: one that allows you to track your social life in real time, to forever capture the amber days of your youth. Pictures of that awesome barbecue? Check. Status update bragging about that celebrity you just met? Check.

Oh wait, Becky had people over and forgot to invite you? Check. There are pictures? Check. They all look happy and youthful? Check. You’re going to die alone?? Check, check, check.

Newsflash: you’re not going to die alone. And why not? Well, maybe you will. In fact, everyone technically dies alone, but we won’t get into that right now. What I mean is, when you get down on yourself for having a lacking social life, don’t.

Because the awesome pictures—how much fun those ladies are having? All 43 pictures of them taking shots at the bar and really living in the moment? You could bet your paycheck that those pictures took at least a minute each to get ready for. You know, shuffling around, adjusting their clothes and their hair, getting their facial expressions right. Most of their time having fun was spent trying to look like they were having fun.

God, Lisa, you’re so judgmental, you might say. How would you know how long it took them to get ready for those pictures? Well, The Pose, of course. You know the one I’m talking about: hands on their hips, one leg bent, head cocked in order to hide the alcohol-induced double chin.

I mean, this is what’s wrong with the whole social networking thing. People spend ample time crafting this perfect image of what they are, and it has almost no basis in reality. It’s the playground of the try-hards. The amount of time it takes some people to write a status informing us that they’ve just seen someone get hit by a car is laughable.

And sure, it seems like it’s no big deal that there is a large faction of our generation wasting their time making sure everyone on the internet thinks they’re perfect. In fact, it is kind of funny. I mean, these women all look kind of like space aliens. Or a support group for sufferers of weak spinal columns and hip dysplasia.

But let’s think about this on a deeper level: we are pathetically and unapologetically shallow. All the time we spend thinking about how to impress people who don’t matter? We could think up ways to promote literacy or to get homeless people off the streets and into the job market. Or we could, you know, invent a toilet that wipes for us. Important things.

There’s this weird assumption that if it isn’t on Facebook, it isn’t real. The whole “pics or it didn’t happen” thing started as a joke (thank you, Reddit), but it has turned into a mantra for us. You know that you met Kristian from Tallest Man on Earth, even if you don’t have photographic evidence. And yet, it doesn’t seem legitimate, if you will, if other people don’t comment, “OMG jealous!”

You know what that translates to? The life you live is not real, is not important, is not acceptable unless other people approve of the things that you do. And it’s dangerous to spend most of your time thinking about how you look to hundreds of strangers you either haven’t talked to since high school or borrowed a pen from once in class. “Dangerous” may seem like an exaggeration, but I’m being serious.

Let’s take it from another direction: our view of what is normal is so fucked up by the media—everything from the rampant photoshopping and overbearing dominance of this idea that skinny means healthy to the idea that Facebook has any bearing on our day-to-day lives—that we are killing ourselves. When you think it’s a good idea to go on a juice cleanse or to eat only grapefruit in order to lose that last ten pounds, you have a problem. When you feel the need to take more time to pose for a picture than it takes to go to the bathroom, you have a problem.

This pose—and the importance of Facebook as a whole—plays right into our collective self-esteem problem. Facebook is fake. These magazines are fake. But we still spend hours and hours trying to live up to these expectations. You may be ugly on the inside, but you’re not so bad on the outside, even without putting your hands on your hips. So cut it out. Make a weird fucking face at the camera. Slouch. Look like yourself.

In fact, go read a book. Just stop Facebooking so much. Becky’s a bitch anyways.