Tuesday, March 5th, 2013

Girl Powder: A Cultural History Of Love's Baby Soft

Perhaps the most feminine of all feminine products to have ever existed on Earth is Love's Baby Soft. Its packaging, all soft curves and pale pink and frost, was basically an homage to the tampon. Its marketing scheme was Cinemaxilly soft-focus pre-teen beauty queen. It was made out of chemicals. It smelled like babies.

From the mid-70s until the mid-90s, this fragrance was an object of intense feminine fetishization for girls who had reached a certain age: the one at which we began to feel, rather definitively, not quite like little girls, not yet like teenagers. At this age, around 11 or 12, we acquire a sense that there's a [...]


What Is This?

Around this time last year, I jotted a couple of notes-to-self on hot pink sticky notes and tacked them over my desk. "Feel less guilty," one read. And: "Read more current events."

I was content enough with my vague resolutions, but then something, dare I say?, ironic happened. On New Year's Day I was browsing e-books in a trance, trying to distract myself from feeling guilty about how little of The Economist I'd read. Before I knew what had happened, l had purchased a book called Mindfulness.

It was as if some stifled part of my psyche was using my Barnes & Noble account as a Ouija board to tell [...]


My Burned-Out New York Apocalypse Novel

National Novel Writing Month comes to an end tonight—at midnight! But our series about the novels that we started writing but, for whatever reason, never finished will carry on. Here's the next entry.

Where are all my End of the World Party invitations? The characters in the novel I never finished—the promotion for which I foresaw myself being very busy with this month, incidentally, the timing of the book's publication being part of my brilliant meta marketing concept—were buried in End of the World Party invitations by now. In the mid-pre-post-apocalyptic world I imagined, December 23, 2012 was the new New Year's.

These parties would be taking [...]


Wisdom Teeth

I found the oral surgeon in the Yellow Pages. There wasn’t yet a website that rated medical professionals in a Useful, Funny, or Cool way, so that was how you made important decisions: alphabetically and arbitrarily. I was 22 and I didn’t have a lot of practice making important decisions, but this much I knew.

He was ancient and unsteady, his hands a little wobbly as he snapped on his Latex gloves. But he had offered me a deal: a hundred dollars a tooth, Novocaine included. I was uninsured, a holiday retail temp, and I knew a bargain when I found one.

“I’ll tell you what,” the doctor said, peering [...]


Playgirl's First Hardon

January 1980. A nation nurses a sepia-hued hangover. It’s the dawn of a new decade, and while the polyester may not be packed away just yet, change is in the air. For the first time in history, there’s an erection in the pages of a glossy magazine.

Playgirl is eight years old and boasts a circulation of 10 million. It’s clearly hit some kind of cultural nail on the head, borrowing Playboy’s patented aspirational hedonism and appropriating it for the fun ‘n’ flirty feminist set. This month, the centerfold is a sun-kissed California blonde named Geoff Minger. He reclines, shinily, on a set of clean white sheets. In one shot—in [...]


Massachusetts 2011: The Abstract State

I can’t think of a better place to spend the apocalypse than Massachusetts, where the air is tinged with woodsmoke, survivalism, and the sneaking suspicion that, whatever it is we’ve got coming, we probably deserve it. This is what I remember from last time, anyway. It was this time of year in 1999, and we were holed up in one of those punk-cum-frat houses out by the railroad tracks, stocked with bottled water, vintage Metallica bootlegs and André. On New Year’s Eve there was a bonfire. At midnight, when the lights didn’t go out, we burned broken furniture and cardboard boxes, so it would at least feel like the [...]


My Summer on the Content Farm

Remember that “I Love Lucy” episode where Lucy and Ethel take jobs in the chocolate factory and the conveyor belt starts pumping out candy faster than they can pack it in the wrappers so they start stuffing their faces and cleavage with the excess, cowering from the intimidating factory matron? That’s kind of what it’s like to work for Demand Media, as I found out during a brief, ill-fated stint as a freelance copy editor at the 17th largest web property in the U.S. this summer.


Jessanne Collins: The Truth About 'Playgirl' and Levi Johnston

I don't know about you, but I'm tired of having Levi Johnston's penis thrust into my consciousness every time I read the news. And believe me, I've got a high tolerance for explicit visuals-I was Playgirl's managing editor until the print magazine folded last year, leaving in its place the softcore subscription website that's been publicly courting Sarah Palin's would've-been son-in-law for months for a shoot that's scheduled to take place later this week. It's not that I'm bitter. More power to Playgirl if it can ride the brawn of a small town teen father back into the limelight, and more power to small town teen fathers who can [...]