Thought Catalog

The Aftermath Of Love

Posted: 24 Nov 2015 08:00 PM PST

I want to talk about the aftermath of love,
not the honeymoon or the hitherto;
but the upshot and the convalescence,
the slow, hard hauling–the heavy tow.
I want to tell you about those evenings,
that crept inside like a vagrant cat;
and cast around its drawn out shadow,
untoward–insufferably black.
I want to write about the mornings,
the sterility of the stark, cold light;
struck against a pair of bare shoulders,
the lurid whisper of a misspent night.
I want to convey the afternoon setting,
the water torture of the sink;
drip by drip, the clock and its ticking,
and too much time left now to think.
Like this poem? Read more in Lang Leav's book Memories, available here.

15 Men Describe The Perfect Vagina

Posted: 24 Nov 2015 07:00 PM PST

Flickr /// Mikael Tigerström
Flickr /// Mikael Tigerström


"The perfect vagina is like a perfect handshake—the grip has to be strong and solid. A perfect vagina would be one whose kegel muscles are so strong they could strangle a horse. There's no better feeling on Earth than a woman with so much control over her vaginal muscles, it feels like she's trying to choke the truth out of your dick."

—Bradley, 26



"Visually, I like it to look like a tiny paper slit. Almost no hint of a labia, and a clit the size of a BB pellet. OK, imagine a closed eyelid without eyelashes turned sideways. No giant elephant-ear labia and thumb-sized clits for me, please!"

—Angelo, 24



"The kind that's so tight, she squints a little bit as you're trying to get it in. Seriously, the best part of sex for me are those first few seconds where you're struggling so hard to get it in that it's like you're trying to squeeze a loaf of French bread through a keyhole."

—Warren, 22



"What makes a vagina good is the quality of its viscosity, the texture of its lubrication. I like it slippery without being slimy, if that makes any sense. It can be big and hairy and floppy and smelly, but if her natural lube feels like wet silk, it's a perfect vagina."

—Johnny, 21



"It is sort of like a quest for the Holy Grail, isn't it? I mean, not all vaginas are created equal—I know that from hard, traumatic personal experience. But still, you know that somewhere out there, there's one that's better than all the other ones—the absolute perfect vagina on the planet, the Pope of Vaginas. And you wouldn't mind testing all the other ones just to make sure it really is the best one."

—Josh, 25



"One that doesn't smell like a wharf where seagulls poop and longshoremen hang out. If her scent leans more toward vanilla sugar cookies or hot waffles drowning in butter and maple syrup, well, that's just about perfect to me."

—Ezra, 22



"It's not so much they way they look because, let's admit it, they're pretty odd-looking. All genitals are odd-looking. So the perfect vagina would be the one that feels the best. There was an old movie that described a woman's pussy as feeling 'like a velvet glove cast in iron.' I like the sound of that—soft but strong."

—Dan, 29



"Ideally, in a perfect world, a perfect vagina would be one that always stays glued to your penis. You never lose your erection although you have constant orgasms, and she always stays warm, wet, and receptive. The tragic truth, though, is that we don't live in a perfect world."

—Frank, 28



"The wetter, the better. I kind of like the idea that she gets so wet, it embarrasses her, but she just can't help it because that's how her body is reacting. Plus, it just feels better when it's so soaking wet that it's drooling down her legs. That's why condoms suck—you can't feel the wetness."

—Paul, 21



"One that doesn't talk back. Just kidding—they all talk back."

—Bryan, 29



"The one that cums in under ten thrusts, no cunnilingus needed. I have a theory that no guy actually likes going down on women, so if she's able to reach orgasm quickly simply through penetration, that's the type of vagina I'd call a 'keeper.'"

—Elliott, 23



"The vagina that fits so perfectly on your dick, it's like two pieces of a puzzle snap together. Where it feels so good, you don't even care about oral sex or foreplay—you just want to get up all the way in there."

—Adam, 27



"It's one where you can't tell which position it feels best in—doggie, missionary, or girl on top—because they all feel great. I've known some girls where missionary feels like heaven, but doggie style gets too bend-y because of the angle. Hopefully one day our country's great scientists will design a vagina that feels perfect no matter from what angle you tap it."

—Rob, 24



"Do I really have to pick one? Richard Pryor once did a routine where he said that if a woman thought she had a bad pussy, she should let him try it out. There's no such thing as a bad vagina, but I guess it's like Animal Farm—'All vaginas are great, but some are greater than others.'"

—Mike, 22



"Any vagina that doesn't have teeth is perfect."

—Dante, 28 TC mark

You Shouldn’t Have To Explain Yourself If You Find Love On Tinder

Posted: 24 Nov 2015 06:15 PM PST

Apple Store / Tinder
Apple Store / Tinder

Chances are that if you use Tinder, you feel slightly guilty about it. However, I'm here to tell you to save your guilt for instances that actually warrant regret – like eating at Subway or watching anything starring Katherine Heigl.

Please don't be disheartened by your self-righteous friends when you tell them that you're meeting someone from Tinder or Bumble tonight, because frankly they aren’t any better than you. So when that one friend scoffs, and gives you that poorly disguised look of judgement, gently remind her of that time at the bar, when she had to be dragged away from that slightly older, slightly fatter version of Jake Gyllenhal.

Some people think that dating apps are shallow. But if every day life offers us any evidence, the reality is, it's actually people who are shallow. When someone approaches you in the library, or strikes up a conversation with you in an elevator, chances are that you appreciate the unwarranted friendliness more when it comes from someone who you want to rub your body against, at the risk of making a baby.

Some people think that dating apps are shallow, but if every day life offers us any evidence, the reality is, it's actually people who are shallow.

In the spirit of full disclosure, I will admit that I'm biased, because I'm one of those unfortunates who uses Tinder. That being said, I can also concede that those who choose to abstain from dating apps raise some good points about how they may be signifying the end of "love", as we know it. While I agree with this conclusion, I'm skeptical about the means with which it was reached. Tinder isn’t destroying relationships–we are–because we're horny,terrible people we don't actually want to be in them anymore, and that's why we created Tinder.

On the other hand, dating apps do sort of resemble something out of a sci-fi movie about a dystopian civilization where it's mandatory to wear grey jumpsuits and inject yourself with mood stabilizers. Plus, the act of actually using one can feel a little strange. You go onto your phone and you "swipe left" or you "swipe right" depending on whether you find that person attractive or not. Then, if someone you swiped right on, also swipes right on you, that means that you find each other physically attractive (or their hand slipped), and you're connected to him, or her, over an in-app messenger, allowing you both to get to know each other without the practically marital commitment of exchanging phone numbers.

While the afore-described "match" sends dopamine surging through your veins, making you feel a little less worthless for eating the entire kitchen cabinet after getting home drunk last night, it is by all means, creepy. It's the equivalent of someone tapping you on the shoulder while you're waiting in line for coffee and saying, "Hi, based on the specific angle I was checking you out from, I think I would like to fuck you, or at the very least, engage in small-talk with you, until one of us sees someone else who's more attractive." As ridiculous as this sounds, you're lying to yourself if you don't think that that very sentiment is what's underlying that screaming match conversation you're having with a stranger at a bar.

Tinder is a way of expediting, what is already, a very shallow dating culture. This is in and of itself great, except for the fact that if your college campus, coffee shop, or doctor's office is anything like mine, there are attractive people already all around you in real life. But you're too busy looking at colored pixels on your phone to notice.

Dating apps are like the sluttier version of Gattaca. The process of meeting someone and feeling attraction is broken down into a coldly calculable and predictable event. While it would feel slightly synthetic to manufacture your child's looks, intelligence, and health, you're lying to yourself if you say that you wouldn’t want to. If you don't know what I'm referring to pirate rent 'Gattaca' immediately.

However, I regress. While we all like the idea of bumping into a beautiful stranger, spilling our papers on the ground, and falling madly in love as we pick them up, life isn't really like that. Dating someone the old-fashioned way sounds like a nice idea, but it is actually a nightmare-like drinking ayahuasca and trying to touch yourself.

Dating someone the old-fashioned way sounds like a nice idea, but it is actually a nightmare-like drinking ayahuasca and trying to touch yourself.

Meeting someone in real life is extremely difficult. During the week, you spend most of your time at work, and assuming that you can find someone who fits your standards there, dating where you work is extremely risky. However, if you're anything like me and you have absolutely no control over your urges, falling in love at work is bound to work out badly.

I met my last girlfriend at work and that didn’t work out, but not for the reasons that you're thinking. We broke up after our summer jobs ended, but that's besides the point. Being in love with someone at work was one of the worst things that could've happened to me.

I was constantly distracted and off-task. If I wasn’t blowing off work (during work time) to hang out with her, I was thinking of ways to impress her. In addition to the unproductivity, the drama that came along with dating a coworker was terrible. It was unfortunately nothing like Grey's Anatomy. However, like the show, whenever there was a fight, we would go ahead and gather anyone dumb enough to actually listen to us, and regurgitate all of our insecurities all over them. However, unlike the show, it just wasn’t cute–it was fucking annoying.

So if you're not meeting people at work because you value your career like some sort of loser, you're left with bars and clubs. I'm still not sure why people think looking for a significant other at one these places is a good idea, but that's just the way it is, I guess. Bars are places where people who have nothing in common, except for a hatred of their jobs, gather to get drunk. Clubs are similarly populated except they're douchier.

That being said, for the sake of the argument, let's say you want to meet someone while you're going out. Chances are, it'll go something like this: at the beginning of the night you put on your favorite outfit, and if you're nice, you apologize to your friends because soon enough, you're going to be ignoring them in favor of hanging-out with random strangers.

You get to the bar and your friends are already having a grand old time. That's because they're either dating someone, or they're texting a friend with benefits. Either way, they're already set to do "that night thang" once they return home. On the other hand, there's you, all on your lonesome, standing by your morals-committed to meeting someone spontaneously.

Statistically speaking, the chances of you meeting someone you genuinely like at that specific bar, on that specific night, are abysmally low, but you're adamant about this "chance encounter" thing, so against all better judgement, you proceed onward. Maybe you've seen too many Katherine Heigl movies, maybe you did one too many whip-its last New Year’s Eve. I don't know. I'm not a psychic.

You're standing at the bar because you don't really want to approach anyone since that's tacky, so you decide to wait for someone to come speak to you. An hour later the only person you've met is the one doing laps around the bar, throwing tired lines at anything resembling a sentient being. It's only 10 p.m. and you know that he's already approached every girl at the bar, but hey, you didn’t get dressed up for nothing. So when he finally comes to you, you decide to humor him, because your buzz is dying down, and you know that if you talk to him for a couple of minutes, he'll buy you a $9, watered-down, vodka-tonic. After you've had enough of his social commentary and his hand petting your waist, you decide to make your exit, as gracefully as possible, and go back to your friends.

While dancing, you feel yourself getting back into your groove and you decide that you need to be assertive if you're going to meet anyone worthwhile. While you want to have an exhilarating conversation with someone, you don't actually know anyone at the bar, so you try to figure out who to approach but you can't, because, again, you've never seen any of these people in your life. So you do the next best thing and decide to go up to the person you find most attractive, which has never ended badly…ever.

You finally work up to the courage to approach this person but he/she turns out to be at worst, a vacant, pretty, face or at best, not your type. At this point you have a couple of options: dance with your friends, just fuck someone you find attractive, or text that ex-fling who you never really liked, but who makes you feel less lonely.

Are dating apps really in danger of ruining this treasured sequence of events for everyone? That was a rhetorical question – of course not. Yes, I know I'm being harsh, but I do also recognize the irony in criticizing the dating culture for being shallow, while, as a young man, profiting from it. Though many millennials complain about the dismal dating scene, they fail to recognize how they're the ones who've created it. Dating now feels strange because we've made it that way, and complaining about it is like lamenting about having to choose between going to Coachella or going to Cabo for Spring Break. If that analogy wasn’t clear enough for you, I'm saying that there's no real fuckin' problem here.

Though many millennials complain about the dismal dating scene, they fail to recognize how they're the ones who've created it.

Dating apps aren’t going to replace human interaction, they're just going to accent it, just like every other technology that's ever been created. If we were alive 100 years ago dating would obviously be different, because, hell– everything was different. There were few phones, no text messaging, no social media, and no women's rights. No wonder people married the first person they met – half of them didn’t really have a choice.

So next time nana’s telling you about the first time her and pop-pop met at a diner, take the story with a grain of salt. Please understand that the diner that they were at was probably racially segregated, and know that the way he approached her, would probably constitute sexual harassment by today's standards–and as painful as it may be–admit to yourself that what pop-pop felt when he approached your nana wasn’t "love at first sight." It was randiness and youthful confidence.

There's no question that dating is less structured nowadays, but is that really a bad thing? If text messaging allows you to have simultaneous conversations with multiple people you may want to date, doesn’t that only increase your chances of connecting with someone? Nowadays, people aren’t any more dishonest or promiscuous then they were 50 years ago, they just have more options.

Tinder didn’t create creepy people (men). It just made it easier to meet them. The problem isn’t dating apps, it's that most people suck, and this unfortunately holds true for attractive people as well. Some use dating apps to send dick pics, or to verbally harass people that become uninterested. While this is a big problem–considering how prominently these dating apps are used, it would be nearsighted to say that unwanted attention is something that's only found on Tinder. This isn’t a dating app problem, it's a human problem, and it needs to be fixed.

Women are catcalled and harassed in everyday life, without the help of dating apps, and there's a reason why many women don’t feel comfortable walking home alone after a party. Yes, it's funny to joke about all the creeps on Tinder, but frankly, it's scary to think about how well this person might have hidden his intentions if you met him out at a bar. The phone-to-phone interaction enables people to be less reserved, which can be a good and a bad thing. Someone who gets nervous talking to strangers at bars, might reveal himself to be a genuine and hilarious person, but you may have never gotten the chance to find that out, if you met him first in “real life.” Others use this opportunity to let their creepiness shine through in full majesty.

At it's core, Tinder is just a tool that expedites the process of meeting people. Tinder allows us to actually interact with people we would otherwise just be staring at and this is an amazing thing. If you simply want to talk to new people, dating apps can help you to do that. If you want to find someone to seriously date, dating apps can also help you do that. If you have simple tastes, and you just want to find someone to put yogurt in your butt while calling you Gandalf, as long as it's consensual, dating apps can help you do that too. Like real life, it's about how you approach it and keeping your cool as you sift through the duds. TC mark

My Grandfather Worked At An Insane Asylum And I Found His Personal Logs Dating Back To 1902 (Part Three)

Posted: 24 Nov 2015 06:00 PM PST

Boston Public Library
Boston Public Library

Read Part One Here.

Read Part Two Here.

This doesn’t make sense.

None of this makes any sense. If I believe what’s written here, if I believe that Gramps is telling the truth and not a raving lunatic, then… god, Gramps, what did you do?

February 19, 1903

I have managed to silence the whispers in my head, whispers of children and bringing them to Clara, with liquor. Mary can sense something is wrong but when I try to tell her my tongue sticks to the roof of my mouth like clay.

She has not come to the door to watch me in the hallways but that is a small comfort. I can feel her eyes on me anyway. I know, somehow, that she can see me at all times.

Yesterday I asked the one of the nurses who gossiped about Clara upon her arrival what had truly driven her to do the things she is said to have done. She told me the mother of Clara’s lover was determined to drive her son out of “the vile temptress’s arms.” She forbid them from marrying and threatened to place a hex on Clara for dallying with her son. They carried on in secret.

Until Clara began seeing things, strange things. She claimed at night, her lover’s mother was peering into her window — on the second floor of the farmhouse. Sometimes she woke to a heavy weight on her chest; she said this was “Old Scratch” himself, pushing the air out of her lungs and cackling madly. There were moments in town where she’d spot something in the distance, point, and begin shrieking inconsolably even though there was nothing to be seen.

Soon enough, her lover tired of the madness and his mother succeeded in driving them apart. But by then, Clara was with child.

At this, the nurse gave pause. The next part, we all know.

What I did not know was that Clara swore, even as they dragged her screaming away from the bonfire where the body of her infant son burned to ash, that it was Old Scratch who’d done it. It was Satan who had killed her baby.

But it is the work of witches to sacrifice children to Satan! He does not take them, they are given freely.

I wonder if, perhaps, her lover’s mother unleashed something she could no longer control, all in the name of reclaiming her son.

We live in dark times. Anything is possible.

February 28, 1903

Clara had a particularly bad hydrotherapy session several days ago. Dr. Bowen ordered to have her… flushed with ice-cold water. This went on for almost an hour before she fainted dead away.

Since then, my head has cleared. I do not think of taking children or Clara combing her fingers through her hair as she sings. Today, I was even able to chance a look into her cell.

There is nothing behind her dark eyes now. They are windows into an empty room.

I will make Mary my wife on the first warm day of spring. She will be beautiful and she will be mine and we will begin our family.

April 17, 1903

All has been well. Not much to report. Dr. Bowen ordered construction of a modest zoo last month and had animals of all kinds brought to the hospital. The horses seem to be a favorite of the patients. They have a soothing effect on them.

There have been no incidents in the dining hall or anywhere else. The number of patients is still too high for my tastes, it still feels crowded and cramped but it’s almost as if spring has brought on an eerie sort of calmness.

Mary suspects she is with child. I am frightened to become a father but excited all at once.

Clara remains the same.

April 20, 1903

I spotted Dr. Bowen leaving Clara’s room again yesterday. I am beginning to suspect he spends far more time there than I originally thought. The idea no longer infuriates me but I don’t think it’s something Dr. Bowen would want me to know. There is a reason she is one of the only patients who doesn’t share a cell.

It is unseasonably warm and the animals in the zoo — as well as the patients in the hospital — are restless, full of activity. The calmness I felt just days ago has faded away only to be replaced by an electric sort of crackling in the air. It feels like the moment during a thunderstorm just before lightning strikes.

Mary laughs when I speak this way. She says I think too much.

April 25, 1903

I was mopping today when I looked up and saw Clara, slender fingers wrapped around the bars of her cell, grinning at me. Her dark hair hung in her face. Now there is something behind her eyes — it is terrifying to behold.

She asked me, again, to bring her a child.

It was like the serpent living in my head had never left at all, only slithered away to bide its time before sinking its teeth deep into my brain. Even as my shaking hand writes these words I can barely think of anything but going into town, finding the first unattended brat I see and bringing it to the asylum. Security is lax at night, Dr. Bowen lets the bars do the work and it is remarkably effective but I know where they keep the keys. I could unlock her cell, give her the child, then take her in my arms, run my fingers through that long dark hair, thrust myself inside her…

It will soon be me in that hospital, I fear, if I cannot banish the demons from my thoughts.

I’m interjecting to note that the next few pages aren’t dated — it’s just the phrase “God help me” scribbled over and over. Two, maybe three hundred times.

April 28, 1903

I have not given in. I will not bring her a child. I will not. I will not. I will not.

May 2, 1903

How have I not seen it before now? Have I really been that blind, that caught up in the trappings of my silly little life?

She has been waiting. Getting stronger. It was all an act, the blank stares, the empty-room feel of her eyes. She is much more cunning than I ever imagined.

I finally saw the truth today. When I passed her room and didn’t see Clara’s face in the window, something deep and undeniable made me go to the door and look. She was sitting on her bed, singing, but she was not combing her long dark hair with her fingers. She was stroking her belly through her hospital-issued canvas gown.

Like Mary, Clara is with child too.

May 9, 1903

I am so frightened. Oh God. I am going to do something awful. I am trying so hard to keep her out of my thoughts but the serpent has sunk its fangs so deeply into my mind I worry it will never leave.

I went to her room when I was sure Dr. Bowen was busy and there would be no chance of running into him. Clara was waiting for me at the door, her beautiful pale face peering through the window. She radiates with a healthy glow she did not have upon arrival.

She told me the terrible thing I will do for her. She said it so calmly, so serenely, that when I first heard the words I felt a deep ache in my soul that I must wait to perform the task — and at the same time I was sick with terror.

She told me I will bring her a child. She did not ask: she told me. And she told me when I would do it.

At least there is time before Mary gives birth. There is time to find a way to stop this.

May 14, 1903

I am saved. I am saved. Thank you, Lord in Heaven, thank you.

Last night, Clara escaped her cell. Somehow, she found the keys to the other cells in her block. She released all the patients in her wing and lead them to the forest on the edge of the grounds.

They found the lot of them hanging dead from the trees this morning.

She is gone and her cell is empty and I am saved.

June 23, 1903

It is a pleasant summer. Mary is well. Dr. Bowen spends most of his time in his office.

My mind is clear, like the skies. The fangs are gone. Thank you, Lord.

August 14, 1903

Something happened to the animals in the zoo. They were found this morning, dead in their pens. All of them. No signs of violence — it is as though they all simply… stopped living.

Dr. Bowen is displeased.

August 15, 1903

Last night, Clara came back.

God help me.

Can I believe this? Any of this? Because I know, there’s a lot more to read, there’s a chance something else might’ve happened, but…

But all I can think about is the old man. He was born in 1918, not 1903.

And as far as I knew, he never had any siblings. TC mark

Part 4 Coming Soon.

A Student Loan Crisis, Underpaid Adjuncts, And Dysfunctional Dialogues: What Is The Future Of Higher Education?

Posted: 24 Nov 2015 05:15 PM PST

Earlier this year, the USA today published an article that stated that the student loan crisis is America’s next big crisis. It’s a notion that has been circulating for some time now. Then there is the financial reality that adjunct professors are facing – a bleak narrative about inadequate compensation. And lately, due to the protests in Mizzou and Yale, we’ve had to have some difficult questions about dialogue and discussion in our higher education institutions.
Thought Catalog / Daniella Urdinlaiz
Thought Catalog / Daniella Urdinlaiz
To discuss these current challenges facing universities, I reached out to Paula Young Lee, who is a faculty fellow at Tufts, the author of several academic books on the culture history of meat, and has written for several publications including The Atlantic, Dame, Salon, and many others.

TC: Hi Paula, could you introduce yourself briefly and tell us about your writing and your academic background?

Paula Young Lee: Hi Kovie! I hold a doctorate from the University of Chicago, writing an interdisciplinary dissertation that focused on the foundations of the modern institutional sciences and their expression through architectural forms (1650-1850). I have also published widely on the architectural of animal captivity, i.e. slaughterhouses, zoos, and farms. So what I basically do is think about the ways in which the lived environment shapes and organizes everyday thought and collective values. As a fiction writer, I am currently exploring the intersection of science fact and social forms and coming up with…horror.

TC: That sounds absolutely brilliant and I think we might need to have you write something in-depth for us regarding that knowledge-base. However, I want to move on to the subject matters of this dialogue.

The reality, I think, is college is practically speaking, unaffordable for a lot of people. And then there is the student loan bubble that many people are caught in. From my perspective, I think that it's pretty much unsustainable to carry on the way many universities are carrying on with students taking on huge amounts of debt to go to school. What are the effects of this on the university? And what are some potential resolutions? And without potential resolutions, what do you think the eventual outcome will be?

PYL: To answer this fully would require a few hundred pages. But in brief: many studies have commented on the "corporatization" of the university. What this means, in essence, is that the entire system shifts the end goal from education per se, to producing more consumers.

One of the ways that this can be seen is in the cost of the textbook. Which can be understood as a small part that represents the workings of the whole. For example, many core textbooks for required classes in math or economics will cost, say, $100.00. For working class kids who may be on scholarship, this is too expensive. They cannot afford to buy this book because each semester demands the purchase of dozens of books.

Why can't these books be borrowed from the library? Because each year a new revised version gets issued, theoretically rendering the previous edition obsolete. But this is not true, it is a way to profit from the sale of books. So what is going on is the exploitation of students in the name of "education." And students – and often faculty – are stuck.

So what is going on is the exploitation of students in the name of "education." And students – and often faculty – are stuck.

The rhetoric of progressivism, of progress and "improvement" is co-opted to serve the goals of capitalism. So what do you do? You can't pass the class unless you have the book to read, and if you have last year's edition the pages won't match the assignments, etc. So part of what is also going on is a backhanded way of preserving classed-based economic privilege while claiming that "every opportunity" is being extended to economically disadvantaged students.

I think this helps clarify the difference between obtaining knowledge which is written in those textbook pages, and passing a class, which has a lot to do with being able to buy that expensive book. That model can be extrapolated to the entire university experience. So what this boils down to is the rather unsavory truth: that yes, the university continues to perpetuate and reward a class that is privileged based on economic stratifications. College is indeed too expensive for most families today, and it's become impossible to work your way through thanks to exorbitant raises in tuition.

TC: I think that takes care of any follow-up questions regarding that process in particular of how economic imbalances and inequalities in the university take effect. But one thing that certainly is associated with this imbalance, is the underpayment of adjuncts in the university.

So you have an institution in which only those who can really afford the pricey textbooks and the ever-increasing room and board, etc. – not to mention tuition – can be successful in the environment. But with all this money, it has almost become a continuous outcry, albeit one that falls on deaf ears, of adjunct professors and even associate professors being in economically devastating situations.

Is this a separate issue from the financial inequalities of merely attending school? Or are they related and ultimately having to do with the university's financial replication of capitalism in its processes? And feel free to expand on what the myths and the facts are, about adjuncts and associate professors and financial compensation.

PYL: These issues, including that of the student protests and the hand-wringing over "p.c. culture," are all linked. The rise of the "precariat" in all levels and segments of the working world is an apt way to understand why the institution of higher learning is under siege. But inside the university, the rise of the precariat is also an expression of a particular and stubborn strain of anti-intellectualism that has taken hold even more perniciously, as of late.

I think the stats are that 70 percent of the faculty across the board are now adjuncts. What that means is that the faculty don't have prep time, don't have support (like an office or anyone to help set up the classroom), and are often teaching on multiple campuses. When I was a student, I had no clue about the differences among different faculty ranks or their employment status; I took classes based on my schedule and my interests. I'm a nerd. I love to learn new things, and I am permanently curious about everything.

But this comes back to why one attends university in the first place. Are you there because your parents made you? Are you hoping to get a minimum degree required for a certain kind of job? Are you there because you have no other idea what to do with your life? In other words, college has newly become less about learning and more about being culturally coded as a certain kind of individual, namely, bourgeois or aspirationally bourgeois, which is why parents will take out massive loans so their children can attend classes they can't remember.

In other words, college has newly become less about learning and more about being culturally coded as a certain kind of individual, namely, bourgeois or aspirationally bourgeois, which is why parents will take out massive loans so their children can attend classes they can't remember.

Meanwhile, for the persistent idealists among us, the college experience is supposed to be about imparting skills in critical thinking. Which has nothing to do with parroting information or rote memorization or terrific skills at googling. Critical thinking is the goal of all education, really. Dismantle that as the goal and poof! you've got a docile citizenry. So what we – collectively speaking, the US as a whole – have to look at is the value, or lack thereof, placed on being an educated person for its own sake- as opposed to being an educated person who therefore earns this much money because of a professional degree.

I sometimes think of the book True Grit, where the particular dialect is a function of the historically accurate use of large words; the frontier Americans depicted were all trying very hard to improve themselves through book learning which included, but was not limited to, the Bible. There doesn't seem to be much of that intense desire to improve oneself as a cultural good, though certainly there are isolated instances.

Another way to look at it is in the depressing decline in literacy levels over the past 20 years and the fact that most adults never crack open a book to read for pleasure after they graduate from high school. Hmm. This response was kind of long-winded!

The short version is this: if you take away the capacity of faculty to focus on their students by constantly threatening to pull out the rug from under their feet, i.e. fire them or just not re-hire them (which is the usual case for contingency faculty), then the faculty have no ability to challenge their students who are now "customers" or "clients" and therefore participating in a transactional model where it is understood that you are paying for your education. Which is to say, your degree. And education has little or nothing to do with it. And your teacher might as well be that fast-food worker behind the counter, because the conditions of work are more or less the same.


TC: I definitely have been discouraged in my own cultural observation of what is going on in the higher education institutions with regard to the increasing customer-service relationship between students and teachers. But of course there is a place for adjuncts and there is a place for full-time professors. What do you think that place should be?

And I think what people want to know – including people who are in academic circles, is where exactly is the money going? Because if the cost of education is higher, while the cost of hiring staff is lower, then there is a discrepancy going on here, and one that isn't benefiting students or professors. So who exactly is benefiting from this model in higher education?

PYL: The institution benefits, insofar as it is rewarding itself. The funding resources are going to pay for football teams, new buildings, and overall administrative costs, all of which are more outward directed, towards selling an image, rather than towards the unsexy task of teaching students.

Many studies have pointed to the rise of an administrative class inside the university, a class that exist to supervise and direct the flow of power inside the institution, while rewarding itself. I tell everyone to read Mary Douglas's book, How Institutions Think, a classic analysis of institutional forms that has yet to be surpassed. Another one to read, slightly more accessible because it's a novel, is Herman Hesse's Magister Ludi or the Glass Bead Game. The basic point is that all institutions are conservative, which is why I think it's so funny when I hear so much yelling about "snooty Ivy League liberals."

Individuals may hold liberal ideals but the institution is quite the opposite. The older and the more prestigious, the more conservative it is in actual operational principles. That's how they survive over time. There are actors, and then there are agents. The true power alway resides in who gets to shape the frame. Because you don't even see it and yet it defines everything taking place inside.

There are actors, and then there are agents. The true power alway resides in who gets to shape the frame.

As for the place of adjuncts v full-time professors. It used to be the case that adjuncts would teach a speciality class for which there was sporadic demand, such as pre-modern English lit or, say, a language class in Korean. Depending on the program, these adjuncts might teach regularly but only one seminar a year, and it was understood that this was supplemental to a regular full time job either as a professor elsewhere or not in academia at all.

But when you are trained to be a researcher in pre-modern English literature and dream of training others to love Boethius, then it is what you want to do with your life. Wherefore you start to adjunct in hopes of securing a full time position as a regular member of the faculty. But if those positions are not there or anywhere, because tenure lines are being cut, then that turns into the nightmare of being a worker-for-hire with a giant student loan and no professional future. Which is what too many Ph.Ds are now staring at.

Thought Catalog / Daniella Urdinlaiz
Thought Catalog / Daniella Urdinlaiz

TC: Taking the conversation away from the interactions between actors and agents in the higher education system, let's talk about what is going on at Yale, Mizzou, and other universities across the nation. It's interesting that you discussed earlier the conservatism of higher education. I don't think a lot of people realize this – and it's something that if you're a person of color in a university setting especially as faculty or staff, people often think that it's a liberal space that affords people of color more opportunities and less discrimination.

I often tell people that it is a matter of asking the question "In comparison to what?" Because the university setting itself is prejudiced and filled with the same institutional problems as elsewhere. Now all the same, I have written about the incidents that took place in the university with regard to how all people interact in public, intellectual, and safe spaces – and the contradictions that occur when you are a person of color in such a space.

Fundamentally, I still deem that the necessity of dialogue and diversity of thought in the university setting is of importance – for not only freedom and rights, but for the betterment of the learning process in which I tend to be on the side of bell hooks, who believes that the classroom is a contested space. Nonetheless, what is your topic on this "liberalization" of academia, of how people of color operate within those settings, and how our interests as students and faculty should be approached while still maintaining the institution as a place of plurality of perspective and ideas?

PYL: The university is a utopian space, at least in theory. Therefore it represents the no-place, the ivory tower of the fable, the apolitical sphere where ideas can mingle freely. The student protests are shattering this image, or so it would seem, except the institution has been slowly collapsing for a long time under its own weight.

To a certain extent what is happening at Mizzou and Yale are opposite sides of the spectrum. (A public university is a different beast than a private one, and the social protocols are quite distinct.) What seems to have happened is that reality did not meet expectations. When you compete to gain admission to the Ivy League (Yale), you are perforce one of the best and the brightest and you have to fight to get access to those resources, that study time, that pressure to party instead of study. And when you choose that school, you believe you are entering into a group self-selected to be like minded. Smart. Energetic. Creative. Idealistic.

What happens when the myth of meritocracy shatters? Disillusionment. Disappointment. But most of all you start to understand that utopia never existed except in your own dreams. Because knowledge, and the search for knowledge, is always embodied. Bodies are entities inside social space. And it doesn't matter how brilliant you are (Ta-Nahesi Coates probably articulates this better than anyone writing today): you are always inflected by, marked by, and codified by the terms of your body, by markers called "race," "gender," "age," "nationality," and so on.

What happens when the myth of meritocracy shatters? Disillusionment. Disappointment.

So what I tend to see here, in the long view, is that finally universities are giving up Cartesian models that see mind over here and body over there and those bodies are machines made to serve, and a struggle to move it into the 21st century where we can think phenomenologically about the ways that knowledge is shaped.

People of color tend to see the working of the institutional frame and understand it as a Procrustean bed precisely because we are outside it. Marginalized voices offer up perspectives that are intrinsically critical of authority because, well, they're marginal. Michael Camille wrote a wonderful book called Image on the Edge about medieval marginalia, those little subversive drawings making fun of hegemonic authority by dancing and tooting on the edge of holy manuscripts. The funny part of his study is that the state of marginalization was replicated in the scholarship: for years, nobody paid any attention to those farting gargoyles or lascivious monkeys and dismissed it as being irrelevant to textual exegesis, and now they're all anyone cares about. The point is that margins and centers are spatial as well as political, and nobody ever cedes power without a fight.


TC: Finally, a short question Paula: what is your vision for higher education in the long run? What do you think can practically be achieved, and what would you like to see stay, go, and be transformed as far as finances concerning students, compensation concerning adjuncts and professors, and the process of engagement and dialogue in the university?

PWL: Adjuncts should unionize, the student protestors are already doing a great job of acting with other student protesters on other campuses, we need tuition reform, there has to be a greater cultural respect for learning, recognizing that there is nothing to fear from different ways of thinking, and very little about the student protests is actually about PC culture or liberalism run amok.

It is far more about social and economic inequality that is placing enormous stress on social integrity in this country and ultimately the world. Students should stand together with faculty, and together lobby to get full-time faculty back into their classrooms as well as back into administrative roles. In my idealistic, fluffy way, I want students to be energized by the sheer excitement of the realm of ideas, because there is so much out there, and it can be an amazing thing to learn.

Basic excitement for researching questions is what took me around the world, and it can take anyone where they want to go. And in the students today, the capacity for excitement is still there, it's just getting crushed under the weight of competitiveness born out of fear, and the demoralizing impact of ordinary cruelties. Also, I think it is important to remember that these student protesters are students. Franky, I am in awe. TC mark

8 Reasons It’s So Hard To Be Genuine In A Society That’s Uncomfortable With Radical Honesty

Posted: 24 Nov 2015 05:00 PM PST


1. If society had a mantra, it would be: "Be yourself… No, not like that!" We encourage people to be their authentic selves, and at the same time, we are even more adamant about people adhering to the appropriate social code of the moment. So, you can be yourself, as long as that person is aligned with our singular idea of what "authenticity" looks like.

2. People only like authenticity when it's comforting, not when it makes them question their own choices and ideals. People are only supportive when someone's life choices support or validate their own. When our main mode of gauging our acceptability is evaluating other people's lives by upward or downward comparisons to our own, it's hard to see their actions independent of what they "mean" to us.

3. "Following your own path" is terrifying – because it's unknown. Following someone else's road at least lets you know where you're going. The reason most people take the road most travelled is because forging your way through the uncharted terrain is f*#king terrifying. (How ironic, that when you're truly "on path" you usually feel most lost, or most uncertain.)

4. We think that being genuine is being radically happy, because you're just "doing what you want." A lot of the time, however, being genuine brings up more problems than it does solutions. (At least, in the beginning.) Do you stay in the closet, or stay close to your family? Do you pursue a new career, or remain more financially stable? How do we navigate our way through the center? What matters more, at the end of the day?

5. Most people can't see anything as valid unless they agree with it. So you can really only be genuine with some people, unless you want to offend and lose others in your life.

6. We're a world of overthinkers, and when we're not overthinking our own lives, we're making judgments about other people's. When we're anxious about other people judging our lives, it's because we subconsciously know that they, uh, are. It's a matter of realizing this is true for everyone, and that they'll judge whether we're doing what we want or not.

7. It seems impossible to be honest about not wanting to hang out, or be friend with someone, or tell them that you think they should reconsider a choice, without mortally offending them. "Just be real with me!" is the ultimate commitment in modern friendship, though the opposite is usually true. It's not normal to be able to contact people 24/7 – wanting space is not a statement against someone as a person. Having to be honest about why someone is making a terrible choice ultimately culminates in them thinking you don't "support" them.

8. We think that we can only be friends with people who we agree with on everything. So if we want to change our lives, or our ideas, or ourselves, we have to do so with the knowledge that we may be exchanging our friends and their love and companionship. TC mark

3 Things You Should Know About Women You Call ‘Intimidating’

Posted: 24 Nov 2015 04:00 PM PST

Twenty20 / lavandasogni
Twenty20 / lavandasogni

I have been single for almost two years now and yes, just like what you thought, I have been asked why I still am more times than I cared to count.

At first, I bothered explaining. And then, I just grew tired of it and let others think what they wanted. They thought I'm choosy. That I have sky-high standards. That nobody's perfect for me.

Truth is, I've had crushes. I got attracted to a number of guys. But only after a while – after when my feelings were gone – that they admitted to feeling the same. The reason: I am intimidating.

I didn't know what to make of that. Was it an insult? Was it supposed to make me think of changing? I've grown to know better than letting it affect me, and took it as a compliment. Anyway, if you actually took a chance to get to know me, you would realize I – and the other intimidating woman – am the last person who should intimidate you.

But since you didn't, let me give you three of the many things you should know about the woman you keep calling “intimidating.”

1. She is the living story you will never ever grow tired of reading and listening to.

Guess what, the person who intimidates you is the very same one who will keep captivating your attention. Her life and the elements you find intimidating about her are what you will fall madly in love with.

Her view of the world, the way she expresses herself, how she handles a situation, the things she's passionate about, the activities she's interested in, the places she wants to go and explore, her experiences, even how she doesn't downplay her being smart, the smirk playing on her lips, the crazy remarks that come out of her mouth and the little things such as the rain or the blanket of stars that make her smile so genuinely, it makes you smile, too.

All these are products of her story, and you love them. You love them so much that you tell her story for her. You tell it to your friends, family, colleagues, even yourself in the mirror. You are proud of how she came out of her own storms, of all the things she's gone through that no one would even ever image she has experienced, with a head held high and a smile that's brighter than sunshine.

She is exactly the type of woman you want to be with because she can hold her own. Her character alone takes the pressure off of you. She always surprises you. Her going from adventurous to spontaneous makes you feel like you know her, but not really because there's always something new.

So, if you're checking her out – if you like what's in front of you – take it off the market. Dive in and find out her story. You just might not be able to get enough; and yes, that can be scary but it's nothing compared to how amazing it would feel like. Stop punking out. Go get what you want. Or someone else will and you'll regret it.

2. She doesn't need you; she wants you.

Yep. Ms. Intimidation is Ms. Independent. She builds her own career, makes her own money, pays for her own way, and carries her own bags. She has her own friends, hobbies, motivation and passion. She knows herself and what she wants.

Good news! You're not her father, babysitter or coach!

Don't mistake my not needing you as not wanting you. My life is busy as it is but the fact that I make you a priority and consider you should speak volumes.

I want you. I chose you of all the men I dated. Why? Because you can give my independence rest at times. You made me realize how it's okay to let go and let someone take the lead sometimes. You are someone I can trust to make plans (because I'm so bad at that) and carry some weight. You let me be vulnerable without judgments.

There, I admitted it. The woman you find intimidating wants you and all that you have to offer. Goodbye walls.

3. She's damn normal.

I know of a lot of women who have been tagged as “intimidating.” They are successful, charismatic, articulate, cultured, hilarious, compassionate, and independent. I could go on, but you get the picture. Did I mention intelligent? And smart? IQ as well as EQ.

These same women are stunningly beautiful, rocking stilettos even if it makes them taller than most people because they are confident like that. They strut like everywhere they set foot on is a catwalk, crushing careers by day and partying like it's the end of the world by night. They do all with mesmerizing grace and style.

We are intimidating because we grab life by the horns and make it the best damn ride possible, and we're still holding on. We want more of it.

But get this: this intimidating woman also enjoy silence and downtime. Yep, the same woman you are too shy to talk to also bask in just keeping quiet. She believes in the sweetness of doing nothing. She can be clumsy and messy. She gets moved by a romantic movie. She even plays on repeat her favorite music, savoring every word of it while on the road.

The same women who intimidate you have the same fears, hopes and dreams as you. We still have feelings and fairytale dreams. Only less drama.

If you find a woman who walks the talk and you feel like walking with her, do it. She will be floored. She will respect, admire and love you more than you could ever hope. Don't waste time and buy her stock if you find her on the market. Remember, if not you, someone else.

Remember: "A strong man can handle a strong woman. A weak man would say she has an attitude." TC mark

Quiz: Which Type Of Personality Should You Date?

Posted: 24 Nov 2015 03:00 PM PST

You know yourself and what you have to offer a potential partner. But do you know what your ideal partner has to offer you?

The Myers-Briggs Personality Inventory groups personality types into four major groups: The artistic and adventurous Artisans, the analytical and intellectual Rationals, the diligent, responsible Guardians and the passionate, emotional Idealists.

To find out which group your ideal life partner falls under, take this quiz:

Read This: Here's Who Probably Has A Crush On You Based On Your Myers-Briggs Personality Type

Read This: Here’s How To Attract Each Myers-Briggs Personality Type

TC mark

10 Ways Female Sexual Predators Assault Men And Boys

Posted: 24 Nov 2015 02:00 PM PST

Debra LaFave, a teacher convicted of lewd and lascivious battery for having sex with her 14-year-old male student. (Florida Department of Corrections)
Debra Lafave, a teacher convicted of lewd and lascivious battery for having sex with her 14-year-old male student. (Florida Department of Corrections)

In the popular imagination, rape is something that men do to women. In presumably rare cases, it is also something that men do to men, in which case it’s usually accompanied by a laugh track.

But it is never viewed as something that women do to men. After all, if a man got an erection, he was obviously sexually excited and his body was giving consent. And he should also consider himself lucky, because there are plenty of men who’d jump at the chance of having a woman jump on him.

But just as it’s documented that female victims sometimes lubricate and even have orgasms while being raped, it’s a documented fact that men can achieve erections and ejaculate while being sexually assaulted against their consent. And if you dose your victim with Cialis or Viagra, he may not have much of a choice in whether to get an erection.

In 2010, the Centers for Disease Control added a new category of to its definition of sexual assault and called it “being made to penetrate.” The new definition included being forced to perform intercourse without one’s consent as well as either giving or even receiving oral sex against one’s will.

This is still a narrow definition compared to the famous Campus Sexual Assault Study that alleges one in five college women will be raped because “rape” according to their definition includes not-quite-full-blown-rapey things such as “forced kissing.”

With the new expanded definition of rape, it suddenly became clear that men were victims of female sexual assault far more than had previously been imagined:

• A 2010 CDC study revealed that men and women were being “made to penetrate” at nearly identical levels.

• Bureau of Justice stats from 2013 reveal that according to the FBI’s new definition of rape and sexual violence, a shocking 38% of victims were male.

• In 2013, a study published in the JAMA Pediatrics claimed that when “sexual violence” is defined similarly to how the famous campus study framed it—i.e., forced kissing and the like—an astounding 52% of males and 48% of females over age 18 had committed sexual violence at least once in their lives.

• A 2008-2009 CDC report revealed that in American juvenile facilities, more than 95% of staff members who molested incarcerated minors were females.

• A study going all the way back to 1988 claims that 62.7% of men had experienced “unwanted sexual intercourse” in their lives as compared to 46.3% of women.

If you don’t like these statistics, don’t bark at me—bark at the US government and the Journal of the American Medical Association.

The following are all documented incidents of women sexually assaulting men—whether through threats, violence, or merely taking advantage of the poor drunk bastards.



• A 2012 case in Nigeria involved a businessman being “raped to death” by five of his wives who reportedly became jealous when they found him having sex with his sixth wife. (source)

• Three Zimbwabwean women were arrested in 2011 and charged with forcibly raping multiple male hitchhikers. Police seized “33 condoms containing semen,” which was presumably harvested to be sold on the African black market. One of their many victims reportedly complained that after they raped him, they forced him to “cuddle and talk.” (source1) (source2)

• An Indian rickshaw driver broke his foot in 2011 after jumping from an apartment window where he’d been held by two women—one who raped him, the other who filmed it. (source)



• In 2013 while pregnant with her third child, Chante Gilman of Seattle entered a sleeping man’s home, pinned his hands down, and mounted him. He awoke and was able to wriggle out from beneath her, but Gilman received a nine-month sentence after pleading to a lesser charge of attempted rape and assault. (source)

• Nineteen-year-old James Landrith was raped by a pregnant female acquaintance during the night while he was passed out from drinking. The next morning he awoke to find her straddling him again. She allegedly threatened him not to resist because it might hurt the fetus inside her. (source)



• Chicago mother of two Cierra Ross was convicted of aggravated criminal sexual abuse after she and a friend asked a 33-year-old pedestrian if he wanted a ride. Once he was inside the car, Ross pulled a gun on him and commanded him to go in the backseat and fuck her friend. (source)



• Earlier this year, a woman that one African newspaper described as “Sex Starved” and that another dubbed “Horny” reportedly threatened to stab a man to death if he didn’t consent to fucking her. The latter newspaper says the woman “told the judge that she is a nymphomaniac and when she is on heat [sic] and there is no man to have sex with her, she could go crazy because she loves sex extremely.”

• Two female Maryland teens were sentenced to juvenile facilities for torturing an autistic boy. One video they filmed shows them holding a knife to the boy’s throat. They also encouraged him to expose his genitals and attempted to make him have sex with his family dog. (source)



• A South African website details a 2014 case where a woman beseeched a man at roadside to fix her broken-down car. While giving him a lift after he successfully got her car started, she rolled up the windows and pointed toward a “very large brownish grey snake” in the back seat, threatening to set the snake loose on him if he didn’t have sex with her. Rather than be eaten by the snake, he had sex with her and told authorities that she had a dragon tattoo near her navel. (source)

• In a story from Kenya this September, two women ordered a man to have sex with one woman while the other threatened him with both a pistol and a snake. One of the woman also reportedly forced the man to swallow a Viagra tablet before having forcing him to have unprotected sex with both of them. (source)



• In 2009, a Pennsylvania woman was arrested and charged with deviate sexual intercourse in connection with an incident where she allegedly forced a man to have sex with her while she burned both his ears and genitals with a hot curling iron. (source)



Rickesha Burns (Maricopa County Sheriff's Office)
Rickesha Burns (Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office)

• Rickesha Burns of Phoenix, AZ was sentenced to 18 years in prison for an incident where she shoved her vibrator so far up her two-year-old son’s rectum that it needed to be surgically removed. (source)



Behold a gallery of more than 200 mug shots of “Women Arrested for Indecent Behavior With Kids.” And here’s a list of “25 Female Teacher and Student Sex Crime Scandals.” Two of the most highly publicized cases of female teachers seducing their underage male students are that of Mary Kay Letourneau and Debra Lafave.



In 2009, a Russian hairdresser and karate expert named Olga subdued a man who tried burglarizing her salon. She then allegedly chained him to a radiator “with pink furry handcuffs and fed him Viagra,” making him her sex slave over the next three days before finally releasing him. She was arrested and charged with false imprisonment. (source)



• A Russian woman the press dubbed the “Black Widow” due to her affinity for spiders and horror movies went on trial in 2009 for raping 10 men after allegedly giving them drinks laced with clonidine, which knocked them out for nearly 24 hours. After they became unconscious, she’d manually stimulate them and then tie their genitals with rope to keep them erect while she mounted them. Many of the men experienced “penis trauma” as a result, although one of her victims said he thought the whole experience was “hot” and “great.” (source) TC mark

Self-Hate Is The Most Powerful Motivational Tool

Posted: 24 Nov 2015 01:00 PM PST

Twenty20 / Philipbrunner
Twenty20 / Philipbrunner

Self-hatred is like chemotherapy. It always feels terrible, and in the wrong dose, it can destroy you from the inside, cause you too much pain to move, and can even kill you.

But the right dosage of it can absolutely save your life.

And help you lose weight.

Now I’m not saying you should always hate yourself — just when its appropriate. My idea is that you treat yourself the way you deserve to be treated. Treat both self-love, and self-hate as things that you earn on a daily basis. Allow yourself to think you’re awesome when you’ve been awesome, and let the feelings of self-hatred flow through you like that second pint of Cherry Garcia when that’s what is deserved.

Basically, throw a pizza party when you do well. Punch yourself in the dick when you mess up.

You may struggle to know when to do what, so here is one rule of thumb: most of us should probably be loving ourselves a lot less. I mean good God. There are so, so many people out there who seem to be happy with themselves, where you look at them and you think, “Dude…why?”

“I’m fat and happy.” Well, maybe stop that. Maybe instead you should consider that you’re a walking lack of self-control, and that you’re slowly committing suicide, and maybe if you actually loved yourself, you would cut that shit out.

Think of all the time you spend every day not improving your life because you’re busy rewarding yourself for nothing. Watching TV, getting high, scrolling aimlessly through Facebook is your way of rewarding yourself for…what? Getting out of bed to grab your tablet? Brushing your teeth for twenty seconds? Remembering to breathe without drooling on yourself?

Your life is totally out of balance. You spend your days spoiling yourself and — wait. Actually, hold on. Let’s back up a second. I’m not sure if everyone knows this.

We do know that being spoiled is bad, right? Let’s all take some time to remember this. No matter what the context — a boyfriend getting his girlfriend a bunch of shiny rocks, a mother giving her son every video game, a father letting his daughter walk all over him — being spoiled is shitty. It’s a terrible condition to be in. You’re unable to enjoy things that would otherwise be amazing, and you’re insufferable to be around. You expect more than you’ll ultimately get out of life, you develop no work ethic, and you think you’re above other people — all of this for some instantly fleeting moments of joy when you get a new shiny bullshit thing. Being spoiled sucks, so for the love God, don’t spoil yourself or others. It’s fucking abusive.

And constantly loving yourself regardless of what you do is a great way to spoil yourself. So instead, keep tabs on yourself. You didn’t earn this House Hunters marathon. You didn’t earn Krispy Kreme for dinner. You didn’t earn taking that fucking idiotic Buzzfeed quiz about which 7th Heaven character you are. Step outside yourself for two seconds and look at what you’re doing with your finite time on this planet.

Oh what, you worked hard all day? Did you work hard at a job you like? At the job you want?

No? Then why are you not seeking some way to ditch your job? You have an opportunity to make 40 hours a week of your life better, and you’re doing nothing, because you’re “tired,” so instead, you seek immediate gratification at the cost of doing fucking anything to help yourself. You’re actually postponing a better life, and your entire reason for doing so is, “Ehh.” Isn’t something wrong if that doesn’t make you hate yourself?

I can speak with authority about this, because ninety-five percent of the time, this is what I do. When I fuck up, I almost never punish myself. Instead, I scroll through Netflix for an hour before deciding on a 20-minute thing to watch, and I forget that I just fucked up. It causes me to fail miserably at life, and I’ll tell you exactly why I do it.

The Evil Of Forgiveness

It’s because I give into that childhood message that has been stuck on repeat this whole millennium, telling me that I’m awesome and amazing no matter what. I give myself unconditional love, and tell myself it’s okay to fuck up. I forgive myself.

And that’s how this happens: not with earned forgiveness, but with immediate, “I want bad feelings to stop so I’m going to watch some brainless colorful horseshit while I rub myself and pour salt down my throat,” forgiveness.

We’re told that forgiveness is this great thing, but think about this scenario.

Imagine you are your own employee, and your company is dependent on that employee trying to do something with their lives. You wouldn’t forgive yourself over and over. The first time you saw yourself watching cartoons or getting high when you were supposed to be working, you would fire yourself. Then you’d offer to blow yourself to keep your job, but you won’t even be able to do that, because it’s been seven God damn years, and you still haven’t taken up yoga.

So you’d be left with no choice but to kick your own ass out the door.

Well here’s a little secret: that’s how it actually is. If you are a person with any ambition whatsoever, you are your own employee. But unfortunately for you, you can’t fire your shitty self and find someone better.

So you have no choice but to have yourself a heaping scoop of self-discipline infused with plenty of self-hate. The two really go hand in hand. If you saw somebody else live completely free of self-discipline, and then having the gall to whine about their unhappiness, you’d be like “fuck that asshole.” Hating that behavior is natural. It makes sense. It’s logical.

So go on. Punch yourself in the dick. Do it whenever you deserve it. If you do it enough, you’ll go sterile, which at that point, is good for the world.

Maybe you don’t have a dick to punch. That’s okay! Find your own thing. Self deprecate, self deprive, self-cunt-punch. Whatever. You know how to make yourself miserable. Follow your spirit.

But as a reminder, please do reward yourself when you do well. Were you just genuinely productive? Did you work all day and get closer to achieving your goals? Did you do something great for someone else? Then buy a cake, take a shot, jerk off. Do it all at the same time. You’ve earned it, champ. Celebrate. Jerk off onto the cake if you want. Who cares. It’s your party. Live it up.

You have no shortage of rewards to give yourself. You are literally surrounded by them. They’re the things you spend 90% of your life doing. Don’t throw out the stupid fun horseshit things. Use them when they should be used. They’re great motivators. They’re not your life. They’re lifelines. Turn to them when you’ve worked yourself to your bones.

Until you do that, feel that self-hatred seep in. Use it. How do you use it? Simple.

Hate What You Are. Love What You Can Be.

Because self-hatred is typically seen as a bad thing, people have yet to fully recognize its power. They don’t even see how it’s already working.

People have been seeking out the best way to lose weight ever since Marilyn Monroe died. We’ve tried everything: gimmick diets, magic pills, creams you rub on your taint. But the answer is right in front of us, and always has been. Nothing causes people to lose weight more quickly than the proper dosage of self-hatred. No supplement or workout of your core can replace you grabbing your muffin top as you look at your gross naked body in the mirror and cry-scream at the top of your lungs.

Nobody loses weight because they want to be healthy. There’s been like eight exceptions to this rule in the past five decades of people. It’s about as common as being born with two left feet.

You want to lose weight because you hate your gross stupid fucking body. You notice your index finger is puffier than the model in the Zales ad and you get a kids popcorn instead of an XL the next time you’re at the movies, and you dip celery into ranch instead of a spoon. You eat healthier and exercise more because you hate what you are, and you love the idea of this healthier, better looking version of you.

Say what you will. When in the right dose, it works. But it needs to be in the right dose, and that’s tricky.

Harness The Hatred

Of course self-hatred can be bad. Of course, there are times when it can get out of control. It can result in eating disorders, unproductive fits of crying, sometimes even self-harm. And that’s terrible. It really is.

But the problem isn’t the existence of self-hatred. The problem is that, unlike with chemotherapy, we don’t have doctors monitoring our dosage. We’re monitoring it, and we don’t know what the fuck we’re doing. Can you imagine the horrifying image of a cancer patient administering their own chemo? (Yes. You can. It’s just a dead person.)

We don’t know how to manipulate and control our own feelings rationally to motivate us to be less shitty, and there are no doctors to help us. So it is sketchy, dangerous terrain. But so is being is being a spoiled, narcissistic tool who loves him or herself no matter what they do. Charles Manson seems to love the shit out of himself. It’s a slippery slope.

So maybe the key is a balance. Maybe we need to step back and judge ourselves based on honest evaluation, and not off of what reads nicely on a Pinterest post in a stupid font over an image of a placid quarry. And maybe if we’re suddenly more aware that self-hatred doesn’t have to be a bad thing — that we can use it to become more powerful — we can monitor its levels, be more successful in keeping it under control, and be better off as people.

So go on. Before you go out into that world, remember that you are the only you out there, and you can be like…God, so much better. So don’t be afraid to hate yourself a little, sweetheart. You’ve earned it. TC mark