"Whether at the Texan or the more august halls of the Harvard Crimson, working at the college newspaper tends to instill in its writers a particular set of values. More than being liberal or conservative, they reflect a touchingly undergraduate concern for the human condition. Up with unionized cafeteria workers! Down with date rape! We must have more 24-hour study spaces, more parking spaces, more "safe" spaces. Fraternities and secret societies ought to be frog-marched off campus—unless, of course, they ask us to join. Can we talk about race for a minute—I mean, really sit down and talk about it? And the daily outrages! Beloved local businesses bulldozed by university expansion! Binge drinking! Lazy professors! Impractical majors! And—a favorite of finals week—are we all getting enough sleep?! Such burning issues are examined with a certain brand of undergraduate prose."
The back pages of the Chron are more than adequately explained by this really old article.
because mary’s post was a good thought exercise. it’s helpful to think about the cultural messages you’ve absorbed
wear makeup on occasion and get blowouts
once in a blue moon, get a manicure and a pedicure
have done a bikini wax
despite my caterwauling against it, would probably get botox
try to dress in stacy-and-clinton approved clothes even when not fiscally responsible
feel anxious and uncomfortable when my weight is higher than the norm
would probably die Freudian slip, dye my hair if it went gray
like to spend disposable income at places like Sephora where the makeup and beauty products are tempting and overpriced
what about you?
What’s shocking to me is not how much I do but how much I spend on my appearance. If you asked me what I do on an everyday basis to maintain how I look, I don’t think I could come up with much. After all, I don’t even wear makeup unless I go out with friends (which happens about twice a month since everyone has been thesis-ing like crazy since November). However, my vanity becomes really obvious when I get my credit card statement and realize that I’ve purchased a miniskirt, sandals, and onesie in the dead of winter for no apparent reason.
That being said, I think it’s fine to spend money on how you look as long as you can afford it and are not overdoing it (going under the knife on an annual basis, for example). When I cared most about my appearance was also when I could afford to spend the least. Proportionally speaking, I used to use something like 60% of my income on beauty-related items. That’s absolutely ridiculous and not justifiable. That’s the point at which you know beauty standards have a toxic effect on people’s lives and credit scores. This is what my beauty regimen cost in 2007:
Brazilian wax (monthly): $60
Eyebrow wax (bimonthly): $20
Manicure/pedicure (monthly): $35
Haircut (bimonthly): $70
Personal training (every week for a semester): $50/session
Makeup and skincare (annually): anywhere between $50 and $100
Clothes (monthly): anywhere between $50 and $300
Thanks to growing the hell up, I now make more and spend less, so it’s not as shocking to see my credit card statements. This also makes it possible for me to justify the occasional purchase of higher-priced sustainable products, because I would rather be an ethical consumer than a frugal one. (Or I could not consume at all but it’s not like I’ll be able to manufacture my own toner anytime soon). These are things I no longer pay for (as of 2008):
Brazilians wax: I now sport a self-maintained landing strip
Manicure/pedicure: I either do them myself or don’t get them done at all
Personal training: my freakily athletic boyfriend doubles as a personal trainer
Most makeup and skincare: I try to only use products I get for free
New clothes: my clothing budget has been halved since I started shopping secondhand two years ago
As for how I feel about cosmetic procedures, my general opinion about my own body is that I would be far more comfortable with getting things taken out (not that my barely-B boobs need to get downgraded) than getting things put in. But to be perfectly honest, I find it difficult to admonish others’ decisions to get botox, etc. because I know that I will look ten years younger than everyone else at any given time since I’m Asian. If I weren’t, maybe I would be far more appalled by the possibility of wrinkles. But since I honestly just can’t relate to aging woes and don’t think I’ll be able to for at least another decade, I’m in no place to judge.
ok, so i thought about this and realized that my participation in “the beauty myth” is pretty hilariously minimal. despite how vain i am (i have a blog, so..)
* nice shampoo and conditioner, and by this i mean like, pantene pro-v and garnier. i was blessed with nice hair. this costs me like $10-$12 every two or three months.
* razors. i actually haven’t paid for any this whole year because i found a bunch of free razor blades that go with my razor. so $0.
* make-up. i wear make-up everyday, so i guess that’s kind of buying into the beauty myth. so far this year i have bought some toning blush ($7), some colored lip gloss ($6), and i found a bunch of eye shadow in my bathroom at home from when i was in early high school. i also splurged once and bought a eye-puffiness roller ($9?) for old people for when i look really tired. i think i’ve used it 3 times ever.
* i go to the gym, but that’s just as much for my health as it is for looking good. i paid for two gym classes this semester ($160), which is kind of a lot - but i’m looking at it as insurance i’m paying for living longer.
* i try to dress well. i refuse to wear sweatpants in public, and the first time i did (about a week ago, when i was on the way to the gym), i felt almost embarrassed. and hated myself for it. i haven’t bought many new clothes this semester, but i’ve caved to a few dresses. i probably spend about $500 on clothes a year. i’m thinking of spending $30 on a pair of Yale sweatpants… and i’m really excited about it.
* i wear heels. i am 5’3.5” so it’s kind of important for me to be tall enough to at least have a conversation with someone who is 5’11” or taller. i remember at the new years’ party i went to over break, my two friends from home (who are both at least 6’1”) had to bend over to hear me. a conversation wouldn’t have been at all possible without the 3 inch heels i wore that night.
* haircuts- about $50, once a year, usually. i am so lazy about cutting my hair.
* i watch what not to wear with gigi sometimes, and i kind of enjoy it. i even join in critiquing the ugly people, but that’s probably just because i love being critical, not because i love fashion.
on the other hand, i have never gotten a brazillian or an eyebrow waxing or any kind of waxing (i am mostly hairless anyway, so legs would be pointless), i have never had a personal trainer, i have never had a spa day, i have never had a manicure or pedicure. the only two times i’ve ever gotten my hair done in a salon: my senior prom (but not parker’s), and the first time i was on homecoming court in 9th grade (but not the second…by the way that was hilarious).
ok wow first substantially long post in tumblr.
Sometimes I feel almost embarrasingly low maitenance. I’ve gotten a couple of manicures and pedicures but by no means regularly. I dye my hair, but usually myself, and its more just because I get bored with it. Cheap, regular haircuts. Three areas of contention:
1) I gave in and started buying designer jeans. I never used to understand but… they really are better! They are! They fit better, they last longer, they look better. I might be delusional but I totally see the point now in a way I did not at all three years ago. Considering I wear jeans literally every day investing in them doesn’t bug me too much.
2) I’ve also given in on nice makeup. I figure it goes on your face, you wear it every day and you only get the skin you’re in and its better if it looks nice. But my makeup routine remains pretty simple. I don’t think it takes any more than ten minutes or so which I feel is pretty reasonable.
3) Finally, this is a little broad, but I really insist on dressing for class. For the library and studying I will rock sweats and tshirts and stuff but for some reason, for CLASS and work I feel the need— and it really is a NEED— to be dressed. To have an outfit, do my hair, do my makeup. If I don’t, I just feel too slovenly to live. Sometime I think I should take advantage of this time where I can drag myself about in whatever I feel like wearing, but I like feeling put together too much.
Overall I don’t think I buy into the beauty myth so much as I am just persnickety and slightly over formal in general. I worry though that if I end up iin some city I’ll get totally over invested in the whole thing. Hopefully not, but we can rarely predict these things can we?
I have begun keeping rolls of cookie dough in my fridge (oh look, a benefit of living on Central!) and then slicing off like three cookies to bake at a time. Then you can always have fresh, warm cookies in like eight minutes.
28 Hours in Washington: Or, how we decided to go to the Inauguration on a whim.
Pick up Caryn to head to Chapel Hill for lunch and shopping.
While browsing in Uniquities (note to self: go to Chapel Hill more often!) recieve text from Gabby: “hey wanna go to DC?”
Respond: “sure, when do we leave?”
Tell Caryn, and while we giggle we suddenly realize: well, we could…
Spend frantic half hour in Yogurt Pump calling everyone we know in DC, attempting to determine how feasible this is.
After determining that we have at least two places to use as base camps decide that hell yes, we are doing this as we zip along Erwin Road back towards campus.
Pack frantically. Cancel FAC Board meeting. Remember that I need to advance laundry.
Pull up to women’s center door, load up with Caryn, Gab and Mel. Various mutterings about who’s told their parents, what everyone packed, how crazy we are.
Spend first hour exclaiming in turn: “I can’t believe we’re doing this!” Please note, we are the world’s four least spontaneous girls.
After some deliberation, Caryn decides to tell her brother what she’s doing, just in case something happens. Calls him. Explicitly instructs him not to tell their parents.
Caryn’s mom calls. We all groan.
"Where are you?"
"Are you in DC yet?"
"… … No. Not yet."
After several minutes of Caryn’s mom surprisingly not freaking out she hangs up the phone and we all bemoan her brother’s lack of fibbing ability.
Mel is so empowered by Caryn’s mom not freaking out that she tells HER mother what’s up. Even Mel’s super-protective Asian parents are on board with the world’s most impromptu road trip.
Text to my parents: “Going to DC to see Obama. Love, Meg.”
Text from my father: “you’re pathetic.”
Text to my father: “Love you too Daddy.”
We keep expecting traffic that never really manifests itself.
Arrive in Vienna. Mike’s grandparents are really cute.
After layering on about fifteen pieces of clothing (on top: t-shirt, long sleeve tee, cashmere sweater, hoodie, fleece jacket, fleece vest; on bottom: tights, socks, jeans, sweatpants, boat shoes) we pile into the car to head to the Metro station.
We’ve reached Foggy Bottom. No one in our group is a West Wing fan and I suddenly desperately need Danielle and Angela to exclaim “Foggay Bawtuhm?!” with me as if I have had a double root canal.
We go to TGI Friday’s where we hang out for the next two hours gorging ourselves on fried food that really explains why Americans are so fat. The boys down four pitchers between the three of them while we all fall over with exhaustion.
Head to AEPi House where Kramarz swears to us there are rats but also sofas that we can crash on for the next four or so hours.
Find AEPi house. Kramarz introduces us and himself and throws out the secret handshake.
They are having a party. We are thrilled.
Everyone is bemused by the troop of bundled up Duke students who have sprawled inelegantly on the couches in the TV room. After playing a few rounds of “who do you know that I know” with a few souls brave enough to talk to the discordant waifs, we pretty much scare off everyone and claim the living room.
Finally fall asleep, still bundled in my layers, on a midget couch one tends to find in dormrooms and my apartment.
Wake up. We all bundle up and trudge towards the Mall, following where the crowds lead. We find a Starbucks which is incredibly clutch.
Everyone is just dark figures moving over the still shadowed lawn, under frosty tree limbs. The Washington monument looms large and gleaming and lovely in the still-night sky. We take pictures in the mimsy glow.
We are confused to hit a major barrier at 7th St when the public viewing area was supposed to be below 4th. In any case, we still set up camp, such as it is, in front of our little Jumbotron with all our soon to be new friends.
Eventually exhaustion and fear of frost bite leads us all to “pop a squat” on trash bags and huddle together for warmth. Gabby is NOT A GOOD SHARER.
Caryn and I go on an adventure to find bathrooms/get the blood flowing in our long-numb toes. Leaving in huddled masses we find what little bubbles of warmth had surrounded us were stripped away by the shiversome gusts crossing the open areas.
DON’T LOOK IN THE PORTA-POTTIES. JUST DON’T.
Once we rejoin our group we start to see exciting things on the jumbotron. Amusement makes us warmer.
People who are “important” begin to show up on the dais. We see them as tiny little dots but its so very ok. Every time we are pleased with the person (Biden, Gore, Carter, OBAMA) up go all the little flags, waving pitter-patter in the breeze. Republicans are greeted with boo’s.
Various thoughts: The Carters look good. Someone behind me hummed the Imperial Death March when Cheney appeared in his wheelchair. MALIA AND SASHA SO CUTE NOM NOM. Michelle looked FIERCE. obamaobamaobama. The invocation was weird. I love the performers, we’re gonna bring the arts right back with the sciences. How did they manage to screw up the oath? Giggles. SPEECH.
The speech was lovely. All I want is for Obama to tell me how I can best serve my country once I graduate so I can go do it and be of service in the great rebuilding of the country. Unfortunately, my ability to analyze poetry with uncanny insight seems unlikely to be of much help when we’re rebuilding bridges.
Once the speech is done we book it off the Mall, even as the next speaker reads her awkward poem and then an old man hopes the “yellow”— that’s right Asians, he means you!— “can be mellow and white”— ah, my tribe— “can be right.”
The crowds are kind of crazy. We spend fifteen minutes waiting to walk down a hill, into and intersection that will allow us to cross-over towards the Washington monument again. Eventually we reach the Foggy Bottom metro stop again.
Finally make it back to Vienna. Remove layers of chilled fabric and get ourselves together.
Gabby and Mel understandably fall fast asleep within minutes. I almost run into two people in my blind spot, one of each side. We have a little hiccup involving the HOV-Lane (which I should have gotten on) and then some traffic in Richmond but besides that we flew.
McDonalds. I get a Happy Meal which comes with a cute little puppy doll. Yay!
Arrive in Durham. We are all bewildered to see that in the 28 hours we have been gone, campus has been really and truly blanketed in white, white snow. It is funny to drive SOUTH into SNOWIER weather, but eh.
Arrive back at my apartment to find sled tracks on the hill and a snowman in the front yard (picture to follow).
Obama is President, the world is blanketed in soft, sparkling whiteness and I have 100 pages of reading for my 10:05 tomorrow but I can’t think of anything that would have been better than going. I have no doubt that someday, should I have children, I will tell them about how I went to DC to see this happen with 2 million Americans because it was crucial to have just one more voice to shout “yes we can!”
I cannot believe that neither of you could manage to win the game in regulation. I would not care, except for the fact that CBS will not show me the Duke-Georgetown game, which I VERY MUCH WANT TO SEE, until one of you finally manages to win this.
Stupid North Crackalacka and Raycom sports. You are my new archmesises.
If you are going to send me an email telling me that your sale items are now an extra 20% off (which seems to be true pretty much every other week, but that is beside the point) then I suggest that you make sure that your website is functional BEFORE you send the email.
Just a thought. Especially considering the fact that you have so much excess merchandise from last season that your factory stores can’t handle it all.
I don’t care what is historical, what is cute, what is more Irish or what. Megan should be spelled just like that, M-E-G-A-N.
Your extra a’s, h’s and other extraneous letters are horrible, unattractive and just that— superfluous. Plus they make my life more difficult when I have to explain how to spell my simple, common name to strangers.
But, Meg, you might say, adding a little ‘h’ isn’t such a big deal! It’s more authentic!
F THAT SHIT.
Adding that ‘h’ is just that first step on a path that leads people to thinking that things like Maygan, Meggin, and Meaghann are OK.
AND THEY ARE SO NOT OK.
(In case you can’t tell, someone tried to spell my name with an ‘h’ today. Look, I already have to always spell my last name and actually don’t really know how to pronounce it, can we please at least give me my first name without a hassel? kthxbai.)
I love coming back to school at pretty much the earliest possible moment and have for every break since I was a froshling (what, fifteen years ago, right?) and it’s great— you get moved in, you get settled, time to buy your books, time to hang with people before you get too busy, time to sit at the busstop and think about how pretty campus is, with the chapel against the early evening sky…
But the one problem is that every time this happens I always find myself forgetting that I am ostensibly here to take classes. In these wierd before class days it almost begins to feel like this sort of wandering is your actual life and then ker-plunk, CLASS.
I guess what I am saying is that Wednesday is gonna be hella rough. Oi.
Even with the infinite number of musical genres I was surprised when I read how eagleowl describes their music: “lo-fi post-folk”. Aside from the obvious, the only real problem with describing their music this is way is that it’s a perfect description. The band basically took the main idea behind “post-rock” music (that is, taking instruments typical of rock music and making music that doesn’t “rock” in the usual sense of the word), and applied it to folk music. Although “post-folk” can suffer some of the same foibles as post-rock (slow pace, for example), in the end it’s beautiful, haunting, and unique all at the same time. If you’re a post-rock fan, I can safely say you’ll like this.