#81: The Phrase "Still Single"

I know I'm not the first Millennial to decry the negative perception placed on singledom by our society, but like, seriously. Come on. It's 2014. 30 is the new 20. Long gone are the days of dowries and women's financial dependence on men. This isn't the frontier, and we don't need a shotgun-wielding husband to protect us from bandits and savages. We can wear pants and even drive and vote! So where the fuck, pray tell, is the fire? GET OFF MY BACK. (Guys, from what I understand, if you aren't super duper good-looking and rich, being single makes you Jonah Hill in every movie he's ever made, so I'm not really sure either of us have it any better than the other.)

It's not weird to be unmarried into your late twenties or even early thirties, and it's so obviously increasingly common among our generation. Yet we're still judged for it by all the happily (and 'happily') coupled/married folks who can't help but to assure us we WILL find Mr. Right, so don't give up hope just yet! Gee whiz, do you really think so? Gosh I hope you're right! All I want in the world is to just be as happy and in love as you! IT IS LITERALLY THE ONLY THING THAT COULD POSSIBLY GIVE ME ANY FULFILLMENT IN THIS LIFE! PLEASE, GOD IN HEAVEN SEND ME A HUSBAND IMMEDIATELY OR I'LL JUST DIE.

Worst by a long shot is how people like to phrase their judgments: "I can't believe she's still single." "How is she still single? She's so pretty!" "And that right there is why he's still single."

Still single implies our adult life's sole quest is to un-single ourselves and we're routinely fucking it up. Maybe it's because we can't find someone to put up with us (women, haha, we're so crazy, yanno?!) or maybe we're just being too picky (which, if you ask me, isn't even a thing). And of course there's the additional implication that being single is inherently undesirable. Reality check: WE DON'T ALL HAVE THE SAME PRIORITIES.To some people it's like life is one big race to the altar, and they can't fathom the possibility that some of us are cool with just stopping to smell the roses along the way, or skipping the race entirely in favor of - literally - anything else.

I'm not still anything. I just am. And as it happens I am not in a romantic relationship and could not give fewer fucks. I do what I want, when I want, where I want. I answer to me. I am enjoying my life the way I want to. I have friends. I have hobbies. I have Netflix. I have night cheese. I do not suffer loneliness. Why is this concept so hard to comprehend? Sure, married life undoubtedly opens certain doors and holds joys of its own (that I may have the pleasure of experiencing some day, if and when I'm fucking good and ready). Each lifestyle carries its own set of pros and cons. I can see this, why can't you? Did you emerge from the womb a wedded bride?

I give members of older generations a little slack because they've been held hostage by history and pretty much all suffer from Stockholm syndrome and will go to their graves believing gays are evil and rap is an illegitimate form of entertainment. But can my fellow formerly Lisa Frank-toting, Starter jacket-wearing brethren please get your heads out of your asses and kindly see your way the fuck out of my business? I'd hoped for a little better out of you. You might think you have it made in the shade now, but in ten years when the marriage you rushed into for the FOMO sake of posting that godforsaken picture of your bedazzled ring finger before the rest of your Facebook friends ends in divorce, don't expect a ton of sympathy from us.

While I'm at it, a shout out to all my friends out there who've been dating and/or cohabiting longer than some marriages tend to last, but have yet to make the trip down the aisle, whether intentionally or begrudgingly so. Obviously you don't need a priest and a diamond ring to show each other or the rest of us that you are committed, loving adults in a mature relationship. Anyone with half a brain would recognize that and not act so fucking condescending because he hasn't proposed yet. Keep on keepin' on, and when you are ready to take your vows as financially stable adults with as many degrees as you could possibly squeeze into your twenties, don't worry about my Plus One. I'll be sure to eat enough for two anyway.

We now live in a world where the earth goes 'round the sun, Harry Potter would be in his thirties, James Bond watches are a reality, and no one even seems to be that impressed that Google is working on driverless cars. Clearly a new age is upon us, and in it the institution of marriage as we know it is undergoing a major face-lift. It is you who needs to catch up, not I. Deal with it. 

#80: Tired Philadelphia Stereotypes

I can only read, "BUT, SANTA CLAUS AND SNOWBALLS!" and the inevitable, "WHINE WHINE BUT THEY STABBED SOMEONE TO DEATH AT A DODGERS GAME!" so many times before I want to deactivate my Facebook account and throw my laptop into the river. People write the same two articles about Philadelphia over and over again, and it's so fucking boring. I mean really, what the fuck do I care about what some irrelevant sportswriter in Chicago or New York is saying about us? For real, if their career path has led them to whatever prestigious post includes writing about a decades-old legend (which is really all it amounts to at this point) about a snowball fight with Santy Claus, joke's on them. Yet for some reason we continue to pander to the posting of trite stereotypes, whether it be an attack on the character of the city, or an alleged tribute to its quirks.

Don't get me wrong, sometimes they get it right. Unfortunately. But usually they just write stuff like:

"Youse guys talk weird!" Are you kidding? Do you know what slang is? What about dialect? Did you know some people pronounce it Worsh-ing-ton? HOW FUCKING WEIRD IS THAT. Some languages possess dialects so varied that a speaker of one might not be able to understand the speaker of another. Within the same country. Yet "wooder" seems to be turning your brain to mush.

"Philadelphians have attitudes." Ya wanna know who's got an attitude? Entitled pricks in fancy cars who think they can say what they want. Kids whose parents don't discipline them. Pretty much everyone this side of the Mississippi and north of the Mason-Dixon line has an attitude. Yankees are rude motherfuckers. Philadelphians, for some reason, are just really proud of it.

"They're obsessed with Rocky and cheesesteaks." Nope. You're mistaking us for tourists and food establishments throughout the country trying to cash in on the Philly brand.

"Sports fans blah blah blah." There are out-of-control sports fans all over the WORLD (well, maybe not in Florida). We're pussies compared to soccer fans in Brazil. But again, for some reason we are just more proud than anyone else that we are steadfast supporters of a bunch of random out-of-towners who won the genetic lottery and have an affinity for diamond stud earrings.

"Brotherly Love. Ha! So ironic!" We can thank Billy Penn for that one. I bet most non-Philadelphians (and probably some locals) don't even realize that's actually the literal translation of the name of the city. It's not our fault our founder was a dreamer, so please find a new joke.

I guess I'm not as perturbed by these perceived stereotypes as I am Philadelphians themselves buying into it all. We're the fucking birthplace of America, and people would rather we be known to the world as Home of the Tastykake. So I've decided to make my own list of Philly fun facts that I believe to be a truer account of the Philadelphia spirit.
  1. Philadelphians are really great at block parties. We may not be known for our class, but if you haven't picked up on it by now, let me tell you that doesn't seem to bother most people. Some Miller Lite, a few hot dogs, maybe an unplugged fire hydrant, and the local DJ is all a group of neighbors really needs to let loose. I think it's completely reasonable to assume there's one person on every block with a collection of POLICE sawhorses in his garage for just the occasion.

  2. Philadelphians really like union halls. And what's not to like? They're roomy, the bartenders are usually pretty heavy-handed, and should a fist fight break out at your cousin's wedding reception, you know the FOP is just around the corner.

  3. The Philadelphia Parking Authority is a piece of shit. This is one thing the media got right. They're a bunch of corrupt, incompetent, heartless bastards. I've literally never met a friendly meter maid. They all stank of that renown Philly attitude.

  4. A lot of people think Philadelphia Cream Cheese is made in Philly. WRONG. Google it. Just another instance of enterprising folks cashing in on our reputation.

  5. The Gallery sounds way fancier than it is. It's hard to say whether or not it's as bad as Walmart, but I guess at least not all Walmarts smell like urine. But mostly, the Gallery is just a gypsy bazaar masquerading as a modern mall in the bowels of Market East. Stay away.

  6. Philly girls don't mess around when it comes to their hair. In a city that's always bustling, who has time to fuss with unruly hair? A simple solution we've found - to some known as the Kensington Facelift - is to use a technique very similar to papier-mâché to adhere every last strand to your scalp for an all-day hold.

  7. There's a cop in every family. Have you ever played 6 Degrees of Kevin Bacon? In Philly, we play 2 Degrees of the PPD.

  8. Despite what you might glean from most tourist pamphlets touting cheesesteaks as the local delicacy, Philadelphia is home to quite a lot of fine cuisine. We're a diverse major American city, of course we have awesome food here. But the city's best kept secret isn't something you'll find on Yelp. I'm talking about death-defying soft pretzel vendors that stand in the middle of Roosevelt Boulevard and sell them for next to nothing. I don't know if it's the extra little something from the grime on his hands, or the rush of excitement trying to complete the transaction before the light turns green, but you won't find these babies anywhere else in the world.

  9. Philadelphians never get over high school. I'll be the first to admit my four years at NAHS hold a special place in the forefront of my memory not likely to fade any time soon. In a major metropolis such as this one, resources and opportunities are so plentiful that unless you're trying to be the next break-out country star, you don't need to go far to find what you're looking for (just ask Taylor Swift). In such an intimately sized city, that means running into the same people over and over again. And it also means judging people by their alma mater way into your 20s.

  10. Most people here can't actually spell Schuylkill, don't let them fool you.

#79: When People Needlessly Turn on Red

Have I bitched about this yet? It's hard to believe it if I haven't. I think there should be a special Turn On Red permit given only to people who meet a certain standard, i.e. possess at least one fucking brain cell. The idea here is to be able to keep traffic moving if the way is clear. IF I HAD TO SLAM ON MY BRAKES TO AVOID HITTING YOU, THE WAY WAS NOT CLEAR. You do not have a green arrow. You do not have a yield sign. What you have is at best the equivalent of a stop sign. It is most aptly described as A FUCKING RED LIGHT, so fucking stop. Your green light is literally seconds away.

If you can't tell whether or not you have enough time to pull out, just don't. I'll never forget when a few years ago my friend (we'll call her Eunice) was driving us somewhere, and she had to make a right turn into traffic. There was a long line of cars followed by a gap, and behind that another line of cars on approach. The gap was just long enough to squeeze in comfortably as long as you didn't hesitate. Eunice was a little gun shy and didn't tromp on it, so she missed her chance. Except - wait a second, Eunice isn't as timid as we thought! She held her foot above the gas pedal, teetering like a little girl in a game of double dutch waiting for the perfect moment to jump in, and at the very last possible second gunned it, barely avoiding a collision with the oncoming herd. Facepalm City. (I'd also like to state for the record, I think Eunice is really pretty and smart and funny and has great fashion sense and makes bangin' scrambled eggs. Oh and sorry I threw a shoe at you that one time.)

I understand better than most the urge to strike while the iron is hot to avoid getting stuck behind a slowpoke. However the majority of the time, I am the only other car on the road when someone makes the brilliant decision to pop out in front of me and then won't even do the speed limit. SERIOUSLY? It makes me feel like my entire body is going to explode, and I have to force myself to imagine that a 90-year-old lady is behind the wheel to keep the road rage at bay.

Surely not everyone's got the moxie of a race car driver, but you're not merging on to a highway here, folks. Just remove all judgement from the picture and wait your fucking turn. At least think about it? Thanks.

p.s. Love you, Eunice. Glad we made it out alive that day.

#78: When People Bitch That Radio Stations Start Playing Christmas Music Too Early

Yo, I think Black Friday is a skid mark on the cultural portrait of America, and my love for Christmastime notwithstanding, I believe the holiday as we know it is pretty much meaningless. Yadayada Jesus, blah blah giving spirit, whatever it means to you doesn't hold a candle to the sleeper hold consumerism has on the world this time of year. But I'll be damned if a little Christmas music doesn't put an instant pep in my step, regardless of what month we're in.

Wah wah, they play the same songs over and over! Since when is that a new trend? Q102's playlist is 10 songs long and they get away with that all year long. Are you really telling me a little Christmas music overload is any worse than finding a Justin Bieber song on three stations at the same time?

Not to mention, a lot of contemporary holiday music is secular and has fuck all to do with Christmas. If you really break it down, most of the songs are about wishing you had someone to screw in front of a fireplace. That shit applies year round. All they do is add jingle bells to pop songs and call it 'Christmas music.'

That said, Christmas music might be my favorite genre of music, period. Some of my favorite songs are Christmas tunes, and the more I think about it, the more I realize how stupid it is to limit their playtime to the month of December. Movies like Christmas Vacation and Home Alone are fun to watch during any season. Because they're hilarious. Because they're classic. Miracle on 34th Street was released in MAY. Is it so ludicrous that someone might want to listen to a catchy Christmas song in November? I think not.

I'll concede that there is a lot of terrible stuff hitting the airwaves this month. I personally wish there was a way to completely erase "Grandma Got Run Over By a Reindeer" from existence, and I know a lot of people who'd rather be deaf than be forced to listen to "Christmas Shoes" or another cover of "Last Christmas." No doubt about it, there are some stinkers. But that is not a phenomenon limited to the holiday genre.

And before you get all 'but not everyone celebrates Christmas!' I'd like to remind everyone that "White Christmas" happens to be one of the best-selling singles of all time (and was written by a Jewish bro no less). Music transcends religion, and if you don't believe that I hope you drop your iPod into a sewer grate.

People that enjoy Christmas music do so for the artistic merit as well as the warm fuzzies associated with the season. Toy drives. Hot chocolate. Snow days. Is it so bad to want those things at Halloween? Or at the beach in August? We should feed the needy and spoil the orphaned 365 days a year. It's your own fault if you've let greedy retailers ruin this time of year for you. Grow your fucking hearts a little and pour some more rum into your egg nog. Or maybe you should just think about finding someone to nail you by the fireplace.

Here's a little something for all you grinches as we kick off the 'official' season. Enjoy!

#77: When Couples Fight In Front of You

Well, let me back up - because to be honest, when it's strangers in public, it's kind of awesome. It's like having front row seats to Springer. If I'm not blatantly staring, I'm at least getting as close as possible to make sure I hear everything.

But back on point, I believe there is a special place in hell reserved specifically for people who fight with their significant others while in the company of friends/family/coworkers/really anyone that can't pretend they don't know them.

Way to be a dick. Really, thank you for making me incredibly uncomfortable. I guess I'll just sip my beer and play a round of Candy Crush while I wait for you to settle your quarrel. Because yeah, that's totally why I came out tonight. Fuck good company and fun times. This is WAY better.

Sometimes you can flee to the bar or bathroom, or try to force awkward conversation with another innocent bystander, but usually you're not so lucky and find yourself trapped alone with them at a dinner table or in a car with no escape. But don't worry - you will soon find that sweet release when you are suffocated by the girth of the enormous elephant that wasn't exactly designed to fit into confined spaces.


Honestly, aren't you embarrassed? Are you 5? You really can't wait until you get back to the car to have it out? You're so inconsiderate that you don't think twice about subjecting those around you to your inane bickering? I am not the cause of your marital strife, so I shouldn't have to endure the same bullshit you're putting each other through right now.