The Hairpin
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Two Victors

It’s only an estimate, but I’ve done the math. My father died while I was in a run-down hotel lobby in Newburgh, NY, picking up my race number for a half marathon that would begin in just under an hour.

Dad, at 62, was still an impressively healthy athlete. He swam a mile a day, rode his bike twice daily and played volleyball every weekend. One of the big regrets of his life was that he could not persuade me to take an interest in the game, despite the fact that I “had the shoulders for it.” That Saturday morning last June, while I was driving north from New York [...]

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I Came Dressed to Kill: Tracking the Nicki Minaj Makeunder

The cover art for Nicki Minaj’s new single, "Anaconda," is a backshot of the rapper squatting in a g-string. (Oh: There it is.) The visual was, almost immediately, enough to trigger some paternalistic outrage—for how dare a top rapper bare so much of herself in a genre that is so consistently respectful to women?

Throughout Minaj’s career, I’d argue, every outfit, every shift in aesthetic, has been intentional. The “Anaconda” art is a response to the criticism lobbed toward Minaj from all sides, a retort to those who consistently still say she wears butt pads, or has a fake booty, photoshop be damned. "Anaconda" is an [...]

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The Tragic History of Fallen Teen Magazines

Last week, Bop, the teenybopper magazine that's been churning out covers featuring boy band stock photos splashed atop garish fuchsia backdrops since 1983, announced they would cease publication. If you're all, "Bop still existed?" you can't be blamed to assume it had folded years ago. Most teen magazines did.

Of the dozens that have surfaced since the very first teen magazine, Seventeen, was founded in 1944, only four remain: Seventeen, Teen Vogue, J-14, and, assuming some bound pages of prepubescent pin-ups can be classified as a magazine, Tiger Beat.

Here, we look back at all the teen magazines that have folded for one reason (lame cover stars? irrelevant [...]

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Go Read Alice: The History of the Diary Novel

Recently I was thinking about books from my childhood like Go Ask Alice, Harriet the Spy, and Dracula. In retrospect, these books made outlandish claims to authenticity, but I bought them literally and figuratively because they included supposedly non-fictional diary pages. As a kid, books like Go Ask Alice seem like a curio, but it turns out they belong to a multi-century line of diary novels for girls that awkwardly straddle patriarchy and feminism.

Diary novels are a product of the Victorian era, with their own fully stocked canon and historically specific conventions; it’s an under-attended but significant genre. Most early diary novels were written by clergy who didn't actually [...]

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Why I Have To Be So "Rude"

"Rude" is the #1 song in America; “Rude” is a strong contender for the worst song I have ever heard. For the lucky uninitiated, I can only explain “Rude” like this: it’s the aural equivalent of a man listening to reggae for the first time in his racecar bed, slowly fucking the hole in a Kidz Bop CD.

Here, take a dip, the water's absolutely disgusting!

Ostensibly, the success of Magic!’s “Rude” can at least partially be explained by the history of American top 40's irregular dabbles in reggae, which have tended to appear in the form of one-offs rather than any tangible wave: “I Can See Clearly Now” in [...]

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What Happened When We Gave Our Daughter My Last Name

On a snowy morning in college, I sat up on my futon, stared out the dorm window, and nudged my boyfriend Chris. “What would you think about our children having my last name?” I asked.

“Sure,” he said, still half-asleep, “Why wouldn’t they have your last name?”

I was probably too shy then to show my relief.

Time passed. We split up for a year, got married ten years later and then, in our mid-30’s, found ourselves with a babe on the way. We didn’t know girl or boy, but we had already re-decided that our babe’s last name would be my last name. Mixing up convention had always mattered [...]

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July Horoscopes from Galactic Rabbit

Dear Internet Bunnies,

We’re most of us in the thick of summer and this July I’m a fuzzy love bunny lounging in the cool shade. Come outside and sit for a spell with me. We can steal the burgeoning root veggies just toeing up in the warm dirt. For these horoscopes, I’ve decided that each of you needed a song and I know we all have different tastes but I hope you’ll give your music-familiars a chance. The sun is so bright, and the flowers born new everyday. If a storm comes, let it be a relief, an opening—we are in this together, you and I.

Yours, Galactic Rabbit

[...]
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The Instagrammers of the Bay Area Femme Cartel

Earlier this year, I was walking down San Pablo around where Berkeley and Oakland rub elbows, and I saw this flyer inviting anyone, no matter whether you identified as an artist or not, to submit Instagram photos to an art collective called Femme Cartel for a show in Oakland. I was arrested by the casualness of this call for art, and the democracy, and the challenge: hey guys, you think you’re so artistic with your tilt shift and your Valencia filter? Submit and find out.

Their flyer encouraged women, people of color, young folks, and LGBT folks in particular to press send. It was a very East Bay outsider moment [...]

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Waiting On Hollywood's LGBTQ Literacy: An Interview with Amy Sohn

In Amy Sohn’s new novel, The Actress, a millennial starlet is explicitly cast as the girlfriend of an older, closeted gay male heartthrob. Maddy Freed, an indie actress whose star is on the rise, is invited to read for an Oscar-worthy movie role opposite Steven Weller, two decades her senior. Maddy is instantly taken with Steven, a celebrated actor with a multi-decade career.

Steven has always been ripe for tabloid fodder given the endurance of his career. But despite cycling through an array of girlfriends (and one wife) over the years, gay rumors tail him constantly. Maddy, aware of the rumors, dismisses them as such and pursues a romantic [...]

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Anger Problems and The Trivia Superteam

A couple of days ago I started trying out this thing, vaguely related to my yoga practice, wherein I am basically supposed to “speak softly or medium-soft” for 40 consecutive days. There are a lot of ways to interpret this directive, which I like to think was translated from Gurmukhi and originally said something like, “Try not to spend all your time just going off on shit.”

The night before the challenge was to start I went to dinner with my boyfriend at his friend Mark’s house. I get along fine with Mark, but Mark had a friend there, and right away, I could tell Mark’s friend probably didn’t know [...]

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Ask a Jeweler: A Buyer’s Guide to Diamonds

This is the second installment in a series about diamonds. For part one, click here.

As you can see by Marilyn’s facial expression, buying a diamond is equal parts exciting and confusing. I’ve tried to answer some FAQs to help you get the best diamond for your hard-earned money.

How is the quality of a diamond determined? How do these factors affect price?

The price of a diamond is directly related to its rarity. The more difficult it is to find and manufacture a particular diamond, the more expensive the diamond will be. A stone’s rarity is majorly determined by its carat weight, color, clarity and cut, otherwise [...]

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My Struggle Bingo

Instructions:

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Summer of Pie

At the age of 29, my mother taught me how to bake a pie. That she was in her kitchen, proving how easy it was—how pleasurable it was to master this most domestic of tricks—was a shocker. “There’s more to life than getting married, you know!” she’d said when she caught me walking a Barbie down the aisle in a make believe game of wedding when I was young. “There’s art and work and travel,” she said slowly, clearly trying to make an impression.

But it all sounded boring, coming from her. I already knew I could become an astronaut, a lawyer, or president of the United States if I [...]

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Spin, Measure, Cut: Hobby Lobby and the Tangled Skein of Reproductive Rights

I blame my compulsive crocheting habit in large part on my great-aunt. For the first 39 years of my life I shared a birthday with her: Auntie Marie was born on July 11, 1907, and I came along exactly 60 years later. Like my grandmother—her sister—Auntie Marie worked blue-collar jobs her whole life, raising a son alone after her husband died, but in spite of all the hardship she lived to the age of 99. Like all the women in my family, she was made of stern stuff.

But Auntie Marie had a soft side, evident in the packages she regularly sent to our family in Texas. She made afghans [...]

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How to Live with an Ex in Five Simple Steps

New York is a town with a double edge. It’s a city where you can cheap out and spend a day in The Met for a $1 (and almost feel good about it until you realize you should have given at least $5, why are you so cheap?), but then afterward, go for a walk in Central Park and not think twice about forking over $4 for a so-so cup of coffee.

It’s a city where you can have a negligible amount of money in your checking account and a non-existent savings, but when you walk around the West Village—and specifically West 10th Street—stalkily peering into the windows of the [...]

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"Did Something Happen?": On Elena Ferrante's 'Abandonment' and Jenny Offill's 'Speculation'

I went on a trip back home to Texas last weekend with Elena Ferrante’s The Days of Abandonment and Jenny Offill’s Dept. of Speculation in my backpack. I had no idea what either novel was about when I bought them; it surprised me to find that both were narrated by women whose husbands are having affairs.

We live in a world that is alarmingly full of options, which is why people have affairs and why I like plane rides in the company of books good enough to keep you off the expensive wifi: I read Offill’s book in one sitting and Ferrante’s in two. The authors’ [...]

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On Pheasants and Polyamory

I found the pheasants accidentally. I’d gone looking for the avenue of shoes on Brush Street, a new art installation in Detroit, and got a bit lost. When I stopped to orient myself, I saw a single pheasant through a thicket of tall grass in a vacant lot next to a sagging two-story. The house had an old Ford F150 parked in front. I saw an empty kiddie pool, a plastic circle in turquoise with green fish printed on the bottom. I heard soft crowing, and walked stealthily towards the sound

As I approached, I saw more pheasants through the tall grass. I wanted to make out details, but the [...]

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Talking to Tina Haver-Currin, Steadfast Pro-Choice Protester and Gentle, Brilliant Troll

I first caught wind of Saturday Chores, Grayson and Tina Haver-Currin’s ingeniously weird pro-choice protests, on Facebook. Of course I did a double-take at a photo of Grayson, the bearded, metal-loving music editor of my local alt weekly, holding a sign that said, “I Love Turtles” (full disclosure: I’ve written a couple of things for the Indy Week under Grayson’s purview). A week later, I saw Tina foisting a poster that said “Bring Back Crystal Pepsi.” I don’t think it gets more metal than standing on the side of the road surrounded by hateful right-wingers, standing up for both absurdity and common sense.

I emailed Tina, one [...]

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A Smart Girl's Guide To Responding To Pop Stars

We've all been there: You're having a great day, just hangin' out with your friends, enjoying your space, when one of those pesky pop stars shows up thinking he can seduce you with his sexist lyrics and gyrating hips. Sometimes it's so vulgar and obscene you're flabbergasted and stand there, wondering what you should say! Well, wonder no more. Here's a handy guide of appropriate responses and clever come-backs that will banish the know-nothing chauvinists who have somehow weaseled their way onto the radio.

IF HE SAYS: 

YOU SHOULD SAY:

Ok, first of all, not a big deal or anything, but just so you don’t get embarrassed in the [...]

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OK, Cupid?

In Ovid’s Metamorphosis, Cupid is notorious not for his successful matches but for his catastrophic ones. Pluto and Proserpina, Apollo and Daphne, Paris and Helen: none of these unions ended well. Instead of churning out soft children and sunshine, these matches produced winter, the bay leaf, and the Trojan War.

I’ve been in a long relationship, so long in fact we’ve forgotten about marriage all together and we simply say we’re married. I’ve vicariously been living this millennia and its social media outlets through friends—many of whom have found love, pleasurable sex, free quality meals, and sometimes even friends through OKCupid. I decided to sign up and build a profile [...]