Thought Catalog

If You Want Lasting Love, You Have To Reinvent What It Means First

Posted: 04 Dec 2015 08:00 PM PST

Liat Aharoni

We reinvent love by giving it a blank slate; a new beginning, an experience that has the ability to thrive in ways our expectations can’t harm it. We need to forget about the guidelines that have taught us what love is and how we attain it, how we keep it, how we grow it. Love is many different things, and people love in many different ways. The beauty of love is that it is as unique as a fingerprint – it will never be made the same way twice, it will never exist between two people the way it did before, so we cannot anchor it in comparisons, we must let it thrive without boundary.

We reinvent love by giving it a voice, by breathing into it expression and communication. Love needs a celebration of the goodness we find in another human being, in the moments that make our chests pound with excitement and enjoyment. It needs vulnerability, softness, for we live in a world that wants to make love hard, and we allow it to when we withhold how we feel towards others, we allow it to when we let our fear of sensitivity rob our mouth of the words our heart wants to speak. Shout your love from rooftops – do not be scared to express how happy someone makes you feel, let them know that they give you goosebumps, let them know that you want to try again. Feel free within the wild beat that dances within you whenever you are with someone you adore, and let them know that they have created a song within you every chance you get.

We reinvent love by freeing it from instant gratification; by understanding that love is something that takes time and patience, by coming to terms with the fact that being alone is much more productive than sleeping beside the convenient bones of someone who will end up making you feel lonely. It doesn’t matter how many times a day someone texts you, or if they grace you with a like on Instagram – do they take the time to be with you? To hear your problems, your fears, to share theirs with you? Do they take the time to be at your side when you need support, to lift you up when you deserve to be celebrated? It takes ten seconds to send an image, or a sentence, or a like on social media. It takes far much more effort to actually be present in someone’s life; we reinvent love by dedicating ourselves to that.

We reinvent love by choosing it. Your ego isn’t going to make you breakfast in bed; your pride isn’t going to encourage you or wrap you in warm arms on the days you feel like giving up. Yes, things are going to be tough at times. The easy aspect of love is falling into it, but it takes courage to stay in love, it takes fearlessness to commit to love, for love is not easy. Love is chaos, it is a natural disaster that will live inside of you like a cyclone. But at the end of the day love is also the only peace you will ever know. Love is the destroyer, but it is also the inventor; it is the storm, but it is also the shelter, and this is why we must choose it every single morning, this is why we must fight for it and believe in it even on its hardest days. TC mark

Read more of Bianca Sparacino’s writing in her new book Seeds Planted in Concrete here.


5 Real Sex Stories That Will Make You Really Horny (Part IV)

Posted: 04 Dec 2015 07:00 PM PST

Shutterstock, Jose AS Reyes
Shutterstock, Jose AS Reyes

1. When a high school wet dream actually comes true. (Male, 30)

“My best sexual experience was one of my very first. She was a year older than me, a junior when I was a sophomore in high school, and she knew I had a mad crush on her even though she was way out of my league. One day she saw me walking in the courtyard outside of school. She'd just finished field hockey practice and out of the blue she offered me a ride home. That was enough of a shock.

You can imagine how stunned I was at the first stoplight, when she reached across and started massaging my crotch. I was rock hard in a millisecond. A few minutes later, with her hand still between my legs, she drove down an alley and pulled over. Then she unbuckled her seatbelt, leaned over, and unzipped my pants. She whipped out my cock, and then licked her lips slowly, coating them with her precious saliva. Then I watched, in disbelief, as her perfect ponytailed head bobbed up and down on my lap. Every vessel in my body was on fire with pleasure. Feeling like a champion, I screamed ‘thank you!’ as I came. Fifteen years later, I’m still reliving that scene regularly in my imagination, about every other time I masturbate.”

2. Sometimes, getting laid is the best possible medicine. (Female, 28)

“My last boyfriend dumped me for some 23-year-old chick, so the morning I moved out of the place we'd shared for three years to crash on a friend's couch for a while, I was depressed as fuck. I needed to feel wanted, badly, and I figured a random Tinder hookup would do the trick, at least temporarily. It wasn't hard to find a decent looking guy to meet me at a bar down the street that night. I didn't expect much, but he was actually incredibly smart and funny. Since he was in town on business, I knew I'd never see him again and there was something really liberating about sleeping with someone without any expectations of it turning into something. Turns out, his dick was also enormous. I let him fuck me three times in three hours in his hotel room and I swear those poundings cured me of every last drop of heartache.”

3. The naughty but necessary office romp. (Female, 38)

“I'm not the type of woman who uses her sexuality to get ahead. I resent women like that, actually. But a few years ago, I took a job at a firm working for a man I was impossibly attracted to. He wasn't especially tall or handsome or all that fit, but he exuded this—the only fitting word is magical, no spellbinding—energy. Every time we passed each other in the hallway, the sexual tension was unbelievable. A volcano of near euphoric erotic energy would erupt inside me whenever we made eye contact. Deep down I knew I couldn't possibly be alone in feeling this way, but months went by and we maintained a purely professional relationship.

It was on my one year anniversary at the company that I looked up from my desk to see him standing in the doorway. It was 8 o'clock, so everyone else had already left for the day. He didn't have to say a word as he closed the door behind him and walked towards me, loosening his tie. I stood and untucked my blouse, reassuring him silently that I was game. When we finally embraced for the first time, that volcano burst inside and seconds later I was pressed against the wall and his dick was deep inside me. We fucked, mostly clothed, like rabid animals, and we climaxed simultaneously. It was one of those things that had to happen.”

4. The college freshman treated to a threesome. (Male, 23)

“I was kind of a hotshot in high school, so when I got to college and no one cared about me as a freshman guy, life kinda sucked. Until the night I was chilling in the common room and these two drunk girls stumbled in and offered me a shot of whiskey. Turns out they wanted to experiment—neither of them had ever been with another girl, or had a threesome—and I was the lucky guy they'd tapped to join in the fun. We took a few swigs of booze and headed back to one of the girl's dorm rooms, where we stripped our clothes off and went straight to bed. They started making out frantically and I watched their magnificent tits graze each other and those four beautiful nipples get hard. Eventually, I had one girl sitting on my dick and the other sitting on my face. Two of us came that way. Then I finished eating the other girl out and we all shared a joint and went our separate ways. Memorable night, you could say.”

5. The one-time philandering wife with zero regrets. (Female, 29)

“This story isn't socially acceptable—but trust me, it's hot. I've been married for nine years, and I've been faithful to my husband every single day since the wedding except one. It was scolding hot one day this past summer and I was standing on the front porch in a loose fitting sundress, watching a young shirtless man work in the neighbor's garden. He was kneeling, planting something I think, when he looked up and caught me staring. I think he knew I was having dirty thoughts because he stopped everything and walked right over to ask for a cold drink.

I couldn't refuse him. He was ripped and his sweaty scent and muddied cheeks made me so damn horny. He took one sip of ice water and set the glass down to prop me up on the island countertop in our kitchen. He pumped, in and out, for what seemed like an hour, and sucked on my breasts, one and then the other. I nearly fainted from orgasming. Then I told him to warn me when he was about to explode so I could hop down and drink his come, something I've never actually done for my husband.” TC mark

24 Powerful Ways To Finish The Year Off Right

Posted: 04 Dec 2015 06:00 PM PST


1. Donate twenty-five personal belongings.

By the end of the year we have accumulated a lot of junk. Pick twenty-five items: be they books, articles of clothing or household objects that you can live without, and donate them to a good cause. You won't miss the clutter heading into the new year, and you'll rest easier knowing that someone else is putting them to good use.

2. Make a list of the fifteen best things you did this year.

365 days is a long stretch of time – long enough for us to forget our own accomplishments and triumphs throughout. Sit down and write a list of every tiny victory you've encountered in the past year – fifteen at a minimum, infinity at a maximum. You may be surprised at all the tiny mountains you've conquered over the past twelve months, without ever recognizing them as such.

3. Make a list of five things you wish you'd done this year, but didn't.

Just as we have to take notice of our triumphs, we also ought to take notice of the places where we sold ourselves short. Make a list of what you meant to accomplish this year, but never got around to. And then ask yourself how you're going to make sure you make it happen now.

4. Extend a genuine and heartfelt 'Thank You' to the people who got you through the year.

Think of all your lowest points throughout the year. Ask yourself who was still standing beside you in those moments. And then let those people know exactly how much they've meant to you. Those who help us with an open heart often aren't aware of how much of an impact they have – so it's our job to let them know. And to give them the thanks they deserve.

5. Sever the ties you know you ought to.

The person you need to let go of. The job that you need to stop working. The situation that has been dragging you down throughout the year – it's time to make the affirmative decision to let it all go. Why bring your baggage into the new year? If cutting off ties is going to hurt, let it hurt now. And let the new year be a place where you start over.

6. Apologize for all of the mistakes you made this year.

There's no time like the year's end to take accountability for what you did wrong along the way. Take this opportunity to own up and make amends with anyone you hurt over the past twelve months. It's never to late to say you're sorry. And you may just be giving somebody the exact closure they need heading into the New Year.

7. Forgive others for the mistakes they made this year.

Forgiveness doesn't mean welcoming someone back into your life. It doesn't even necessarily mean contacting them again. It just means making the conscious decision to let go of any anger, resentment and blame that you've been holding onto. It means accepting that we're all fallible people, and allowing ourselves to head into the new year with peace in relation to that fact, rather than fury.

8. Accept the failures you encountered this year.

It's tough to make it through the year without a single failure. But rather than dragging that beaten horse into the New Year alongside you, have the strength and the audacity before this year ends to let it go. To accept that you have failed. To let disappointment sink in, but also to revel in the freedom it allows you. We can’t fight new battles if we’re still waging war on the past. And there are so many other battles left to win.

9. Make a list of things that are going to get better.

Once you've let go of the pain, disappointment and resentment from the past year, you're finally open to acknowledge all the amazing things that could replace them moving forward. Make a list of those things – and then make an active plan to achieve them.

10. Update your resume.

Which new skills did you pick up this year? Which do you still need to work on? Make a concrete plan to fill in those gaps in the New Year (or before the Year's end) – it'll remind you how far you've come in a year, and how much more you have left to learn.

11. Cancel the subscriptions and memberships that you never use.

Was your last visit to the gym LAST January 1st? Get real with yourself and cancel the memberships you no longer use before the year rounds up. You'll be pleased with the financial liberation, and you can use the newfound money to put towards this year's resolutions.

12. Get a head start on your New Year's Resolutions.

January 1st is no day to begin resolutions – it's cold, everything's closed and there's a significant chance you'll be hungover as hell. Whichever habits you'd like to kick-start in the new year, kick-start now. By the time January 1st rolls around, you'll be accustomed to your new routine, which means you'll be infinitely more likely to stick with it.

13. Kiss somebody.

Is there any better time than the holidays to let someone know how you really feel about them? Take the opportunity to go out on a limb before the year ends – at best you'll form a fantastic new relationship. At worst, you'll have closure heading into the New Year.

14. Miss somebody.

Use the last of the year to get all the pain, heartache and strife of missing someone out of your system. Stop denying yourself the pain and allow yourself to indulge in it one last time. Get those tears out of your system and get ready to start anew in the year that follows.

15. Go visit that person you kept saying you'd visit this year, but didn't.

Think back to the beginning of the year. Who did you promise yourself you'd catch up with, go visit or not lose touch with as the year progressed? Did you follow up on that promise? And if not, there’s still time to book a plane ticket.

16. Ask yourself the hard questions you've been putting off.

It's all too easy to settle into a routine and let the little things slide – like our happiness, health and overall sense of wellbeing. Use the year's end as an opportunity to check in with yourself about whether or not you're really where you want to be in life. And if not, what you could be doing to start turning things around.

17. Unlearn a toxic belief.

Write down three negative beliefs you've been holding about yourself, other people or the world that surrounds you. And then challenge the hell out of all of them. Which of your negative perceptions are just that – perceptions? And what can you do see the other side of them before the year draws to a close?

18. Visit the doctor.

Don't carry any anxiety over your health into the New Year. Visit the doctor, psychologist or any other professional you've been putting off visiting before the year draws to a close. You'll learn what you could be doing better and you can begin implementing those changes before the New Year arrives.

19. Visit a financial advisor.

If finances were a significant source of stress for you in the past year, visiting a financial advisor is a fantastic way of alleviating some of that stress heading into the New Year. Since December is often an expensive month, it never hurts to check in on how you could be managing your finances better, and to establish what you can do differently heading forwards.

20. Make a list of all the things that you want, but are too afraid to ask for.

That raise. That relationship. That opportunity that has been dangling just out of your reach. Write it all down and then ask yourself – honestly – why you haven't directly asked for any of it yet.

21. Make an action plan to ask for those things in the coming year.

Now that you've outwardly admitted what you want, make a detailed action plan that will make phrasing those questions a reality. Write down the speech you're going to present to your boss, the text you're going to send that person, or the application you're going to send in that will make you eligible for that opportunity. Refuse to keep letting your dreams be dreams.

22. Ask your loved ones how the year has been for them.

There are years where we're very in touch with those around us, but there are also years where we get so caught up in our own struggles that the challenges of others slip into our periphery. Before the year ends, make a point to catch up with the people you care about and learn what's really been going on with them. They may appreciate it more than you could possibly know.

23. Make a list of ten things that surprised you in the past year.

Hindsight's 20/20. None of the incredible things that happen to us seem unbelievable in retrospect, but when you look back over your year, what situations have you encountered that would have surprised yourself at this time last year? Make a concrete list of all the places life has taken you in the past year that you didn't expect – and let it serve as a reminder that the coming year will likely be full of surprises, too.

24. Make a list of everything you're still afraid of going into the New Year. Set the list on fire.

If there's anything you don't want to bring into the New Year with you, it's uncertainty and fear. You may have a few apprehensions going forward. You may have some doubts. But you also have the power to realize that none of that has to stop you. As you draw this year to a close, let your fears for the coming year go up in flames. You won't let them dictate your future. And your future doesn't start with the New Year. It starts now. TC mark

I Love You Because I Can’t Have All Of You

Posted: 04 Dec 2015 05:00 PM PST


I'll never have all of you. If I could—if I could have every square inch of you to hold in my hands—my want would wane. If every time I called, you answered, you'd silence the sweet dizzy of your uncertain hello.

You slip through my fingers. I can't always locate you. Even on days when I'm sure I know your reflection better than mine, you shift, and I see shadow that molds your face in a wildly unfamiliar light. When you surprise me, it's never packaged as surprise.

The first time you called me baby, it was in a dream. You weren't mine yet, but I was yours—another reason I love you still—and you clawed at me in the middle of the night, whispering "baby" till I fell asleep, too. Now when you call me baby, it leaves me restless till I'm dreaming.

I get nervous every time I see you for the first time in weeks. We're awkward, you know. We're terribly awkward. We don't jump into each other's arms, even though our absurd smiles invite the action. We see each other and shift and grin and crawl closer till we're kissing. Is he as happy to see me as I am to see him? Is this feeling of sparkle and vomit in my stomach quite natural? These questions belong to a girl very much in love.

I'm so curious about you that sometimes, it's like you're not even there.

You are, today, as unknowable to me as you were before I knew you. I'm so curious about you that sometimes, it's like you're not even there. So I'm left with my face in your undershirt, looking for your scent. It's overwhelming and perfect. The most perfect, singular scent I've ever smelled. It smells like Old Spice. How fucking singular is that.

I'm sure you won't believe it, but, I love you because you've been in love before. I don't quite know the shape or the measure of that love, but I know it was, so I can never occupy all of your corners. I love you because I'm not the only person who’s made you soft.

You don't give me purpose. That would assume there are steps I could follow to make you do or be something. Those steps, however, don't exist. You resist docility almost as fiercely as I do (but not quite). You're a colossal pain in my ass.

With a mirror as big as your thumb, I reflect all of you. I see you squirm as you make yourself in my vision, carefully omitting the parts that would let me know too much. Since when do you employ grammatically incorrect texting shorthand? When we met, you are was you are, never ur.

You make lists and I make trouble. You make trouble, too. But it's never on the list; I never see it coming. Even though you are no less predictable than most people. Most people are very predictable.

For every face you show me, you keep me looking for two. And when I bring your face close to mine, I see two hundred different versions of you in sequence. I have crippling inattention, so thank god for that. TC mark

15 Signs The Only Thing In The Way Of Your Happiness Is You

Posted: 04 Dec 2015 04:15 PM PST

Chrissy Stockton
Chrissy Stockton

1. The only problem with your life is the way you think about it. Objectively, you have everything you could ever want or need, yet your unhappiness simply comes from a lack of appreciation (which is a cultivated trait, if not a practice).

2. The solution to most of your problems is just changing the way you think about them. For example, learning that people's opinions of you are largely projections of how they see themselves would solve your problem which is evaluating your life through the idea of how other people could perceive it.

3. You're mentally lazy. You know you should be more present, but you won't put in the effort to practice it. You know you should meditate and learn to train your brain to focus so it doesn't become engulfed by negativity, but you head to the gym instead. You're lazy in the way it matters most, and that's your biggest problem.

4. You've accomplished things you thought would make you happy and immediately shifted them from "goals" to "notches on the belt." Once you achieved something, you immediately started to think of it as "another thing done," rather than "another thing in my life to enjoy."

5. You haven't practiced holding the emotion of happiness. We all have a tolerance for how "good" we'll let ourselves feel, our "upper limit." To go past it, we have to actually practice letting ourselves feel – otherwise, we'll self-sabotage to bring ourselves back to our comfort zones.

6. You care more about comfort than you do about change. You'd rather remain moderately uncomfortable than deal with the unknownness that is making a real change in your life.

7. You consciously choose to spend time with people who aren't "good" for you. Meaning: they don't really care about you, or they inspire you to behave in a way that is counter to what you're trying to achieve. In other words, they bring out the worst in you, yet you continue to see them anyway.

8. You won't let your idea of yourself evolve. You're stuck in only being comfortable thinking of yourself the way you were 3, 5, 10 years ago, because that's how other people are comfortable seeing you.

9. You choose what you think should be right rather than what actually is. You're more loyal to the ideas you have about things than the honest reality you know them to be.

10. You won't apologize. To yourself nor to others. You're not open to being wrong, and certainly not to taking the ego-hit that is admitting you didn't always do your best. Yet, doing this is the first step in changing that.

11. You haven't fully taken responsibility for your life – you're still waiting for something to come and change how you feel. Often, people choose to suffer loudly because they believe it is a "cry to the Universe," as in, if they are transparent enough about how bad things are, something or someone else will eventually have to fix or change them.

12. You've ascribed happiness to a level of accomplishment rather than a state of being. You think that only some people can be happy because their life circumstances are ideal, rather than choosing seek happiness in the moment and realizing that has nothing to do with it.

13. You think that "happiness" is a sustained state of feeling "good." What it really is is a higher "baseline" for perception. You are better able to process every emotion, and because you do so healthfully, you return to your general state of contentment quickly.

14. You accept what you're taught even if it doesn't feel right. You're more trusting of dogma, teaching or religion simply because you knew it first, not because it resonates or helps you in a real way.

15. You have a good life, and you know you have a good life. At the end of the day, you know it's just about choosing to focus on it more. TC mark

Don’t Be Someone’s Second Choice

Posted: 04 Dec 2015 04:00 PM PST


You’re aware of how it must look to everyone else, so cartoonish and unoriginal. There you are, sitting with your phone on the table, feeling your stomach tighten with every beep, aching for an answer you know you won’t get.

You’ve gone ahead and done the thing everyone warned you against. You pinned all your hopes and heartsick desires on one face. One stupid, stupid face you can’t seem to erase.

You never thought you’d be the one waiting. It’s just so not like you, you imagine them saying. Because it isn’t.

Or, it wasn’t.

Something incredible happens to us when we fall for someone. It’s really like we fall, slipping on an invisible banana peel and losing our grasp on everything around us. It becomes this nonsensical combination of slow-motion as you watch it all play out, and then everything blurring to such an extreme, it’s hard to see anything at all.

Yeah, you could pull out the science behind it and spew facts about oxytocin — a badass lil’ hormone. It’s not just there for euphoria. It has a serious impact on all kinds of important things like relaxation, trust, and yep, you guessed it, psychological stability.

We’re always talking about how love makes us crazy, and it definitely does, but when we’re deprived of it? When we can see it within reach, but no matter how hard we try, we can’t grab onto it? When it was there, and suddenly, it’s just…not?

Oh, that will drive you up the f*cking wall.

And when someone you love casts you aside, or maybe even worse, comes back when their first choice doesn’t pan out?

It will split you in half.

But you aren’t ready to admit to this damage right now. You want their love, their smell, to just know they are in this with you, fully. So you’ll rationalize whatever you can. Your brain goes into overdrive, ready to make something completely irrational somehow sound logical. You’ll find trivial reasons to wait, or stay, or whatever the game is you’re stuck playing. You’ll swallow little bits of pride when no one is looking and decide second choice isn’t that bad.

You’re still a choice, right? You’re still an option. And maybe right now, you’d rather hold that at night than nothingness.

When you do this, you allow someone else to dictate your worth. And trust me when I say, I understand. There are times when love overpowers us so much that we’re willing to hide in the darkness for it. We’ll do the things we said we wouldn’t. We’ll say the things that burn our throats. We’re ravenous for this love because we can’t remember how it felt before. Right now, everything feels on fire.

But you deserve someone who feels that fire for you. You deserve the oxytocin explosion aimed your way, too. It’s not enough to be a secondary character, someone waiting for a moment to be seen.

Don’t be someone’s second choice because you won’t be able to forget your place in line. Even when you try to. Even when you do such a good job of convincing yourself everything is fine. Because everything isn’t fine. You were a second choice, and part of you will just continue burning when you think about who came first. TC mark

What If I’m Incapable Of Falling In Love Again?

Posted: 04 Dec 2015 03:00 PM PST

Leo Hidalgo
Leo Hidalgo

If you didn't know better, you'd think I never slept.

I am always one foot out the door right after we finish. I am always pulling my shirt on, tossing my hair up, and thinking, "I will worry about that later" in regards to getting home right after we fuck. I laughed out loud at that scene in Trainwreck where Amy Schumer boldly walk-of-shamed on a ferry but internally cringed because I've been there. Literally. I've been the girl in last night's cat eye and swollen "Please kiss away the pain" lips wishing she still smoked on the deck of the water taxi.

Because I'd rather freeze on the 30-minute ride back to the city with no jacket then dare to snuggle up next to someone overnight and humanize them.

If you didn't know better, you'd think I have never been infatuated.

I am always rolling my eyes about The Notebook, claiming that Noah and Amy (was her name Amy too?) should have taken more time apart because then maybe no one would have had to waste their time building some stupid house. I am the girl that everyone warned you about. The one who "functions like a guy" who "doesn't get attached" and will inevitably "break your heart without even meaning to." I don't understand people who can say the L Word without mapping it out, without mulling it over for weeks, months, even years.

Because I would rather swallow my tongue whole than say something before thinking about how it may be heard.

If you didn't know better you would think I wanted to be single.

I am content doing my own thing, being my own person. I do not get jealous at girls with boyfriends or find the idea of ANOTHER wedding invite tedious. I'm fiercely and unapologetically independent. I do what I want, when I want, and I only worry about the consequences when and if I need to. I love being responsible for me and only me. I don't think about what someone else is doing and why they are not involved in my life and that's okay.

Because I'd rather be sleeping alone than be responsible for someone else.

If you didn't know any better, you'd think I was emotionally dead inside.

And you know what? I don't know better and I think you might be right.

I use people. I march to the beat of my own drum and do not worry about feelings because I'd rather they not exist. It is easier for me to just get exactly what I want from people and then drop them because if I keep them around, I will break when they drop me. So I keep them as far away as possible and pretend like I don't give a shit if they text me back because obviously, I do not care.

But really, I want to care. I want to be the person that they think about before they drift off to sleep at 1:30 AM. I want my phone to light up with notifications that will in turn make me smile. I want to want to spend the night, to graze my fingers affectionately across someone's back, to be the girl who is open and loves without abandon, but instead of I'm the girl who is leaving without so much as a goodbye.

I want to care; I just have stopped for so long that the feeling is now too foreign. It bites at me like when you can't remember the name of an actress being interviewed on E!. It sits at the back of my teeth and in the pit of my stomach like when you want to follow up the inevitable, "We need to talk" but do not know where to start. I want to verbalize what I'm feeling, but instead I'm apologizing for overstaying my welcome even though I have been invited in to make myself at home.

If you didn't know any better, you would think I gave zero fucks, but really I just do not want to be the one giving too many.

I say that I'm emotionally damaged. I joke that the part of my brain that releases oxytocin has gone on a permanent sabbatical. I nod along when people tote the, "You just haven't met the right person" banner while I silently disagree.

Because I'd probably even run from the right person.

If you didn't know better, you'd say that I run away from love.

And you're right; I'm just hoping that one day someone will chase me. TC mark

Gurl! On Code Switching When You’re Black And Gay

Posted: 04 Dec 2015 02:00 PM PST

Paris Is Burning
Paris Is Burning

You know I’m really comfortable around you, that I want to be close to you as a friend and think you are SO COOL the second I start calling you gurl. Gurl isn’t the same thing as “girl,” a female person, but is really just a term of affection or an interjection that gay people, and black gay people especially, use to punctuate a juicy story of some kind.

YOU: Hey, madison, how was your weekend?

ME: GURL. You will never guess who I saw!!!

Failing that, gurl is another way of being like “get yourself together.”

YOU: OMG do u think I should message him again? He hasn’t responded to my last 27 messages…

ME: (falsetto) Gurl (end falsetto) why are you so thirsty?

I love black gay language. I love saying “work” and “honey” and “yaasss” and “turning it” and “c’mon!_____” and “gagging,” and I love being around other black or brown gay people who can talk this way, too. When I can code switch like this I feel free, not that I don’t feel free in my normal speech patterns. It’s just that my normal speech isn’t all that fun because I’m just trying to get through the day. But when I get to code switch around my people, well, that’s when I’m really having fun. I’m accessing another side of my personality.

Black gay language is a kind of genius rooted firmly in humor. It’s about turning creative phrases. Everything can be — or is — a punchline.

Probably the best recent example of black gay language in the public sphere is James Wright’s amazing endorsement/review of Patti LaBelle’s Sweet Potato Pie, the so-called Pattie Pies. YASS GOD. Now, I should have known this pie was going to go off because at this time of year sweet potato pie is de rigueur in black households. Wright’s review is full of hilarious moments, but the part that had me gasping for breath all up in this coffee shop was what he said when he was having a hard time getting into the pie.

“It’s hard to get in this motherfucker! Patti what you seal this bitch with, Gorilla Glue? The shade of getting into the bitch.”


When I saw this video make the rounds on social media, shared largely by my black gay friends on Facebook, I connected with it instantly because the way he talks, the things he says, reminds me so much of my family and upbringing. The virtuosity of being funny without even cracking a joke. A party at my family house is a game of wits, a game of who can be the funniest or say the funniest thing first, and then keeping the humor ball rolling all night long.

“It’s hard to get in this motherfucker! Patti what you seal this bitch with, Gorilla Glue? The shade of getting into the bitch.”

Everybody code switches. You’re different in a seminar room than you are at the club, and you talk differently to your boss than you do to your boyfriend. Even if you aren’t black or gay, one place where code switching is especially relevant is if you date someone outside your race. Your boyfriend might listen to you on the phone while you talk to your mom or your cousin, or see how you change when you talk to your best friends. I have definitely had to teach a boyfriend or two what it means when I say “work” to everything.

HIM: Hey let’s meet at 7?

ME: Ok, work.

There’s a problem with code switching and black gay language, though. It’s popular. It’s on RuPaul’s Drag Race and it’s on RHOA. Sometimes I meet a white queen who knows I’m gay and will instantly start “gurl”ing and “yasss”ing me without knowing anything about my background or that I’m capable of that style of speech. It’s assumed that because I’m black and gay that I automatically want to talk to people that way — that I feel like code switching with u — when that isn’t always the case. Code switching requires a level of intimacy and familiarity.

We all need to use language to survive, but code switching is about language used to create bonds and to convey secret information in plain sight. Black gay language spoken with people who know is a fun, exciting way of making and sharing community. TC mark

Confession: I’m Obsessed With High Heels, And Here’s Why

Posted: 04 Dec 2015 01:00 PM PST


There they are. The black and beige pair with the tiny hole at the front for your perfectly pedicured toenails. The zipper on the side to hold your foot at a perfect angle. The stiletto to give your calf that slender, yet muscular bulge.

These are the best-of-the-best, my ultimate favorite, bought-at-a-bargain price, super steal, I-look-hot heels. And even if they pinch the sides of my feet, even if they rub against my pinky toe, even if I might get a tiny blister on the side heel—they are worth every minute.

Why, as women, do we love heels so much? Because with a simple pair we are transformed. We're not just women. Suddenly we're badass bitches with a purpose. We're strong. We're classy. We're sophisticated. And we kick butt.

Below are seven confessions from a woman admittedly addicted to wearing high heels.

1. You can plan an entire outfit around the right high-heeled shoes.

Yep, I'll be honest. There's a closet full of dresses and skirts (I tend to horde clothes…I'm not going to lie) but I can't freaking decide. I'll keep pulling things off the hanger and holding them up to my chin, feeling blah, then getting annoyed that I have to re-hang them and start the struggle all over again.

Then I turn to the shoes. What goes on your feet can make or break your outfit. And honestly, there's nothing better than slipping into a fabulous pair of heels. So when I'm feeling stuck, I'll grab a pair and work my wardrobe around my feet. Easy peasy.

2. There's that one go-to pair you can always rely on for a confidence boost.

We all have those ride-or-die heels. Mine's the super tall, super black pair with the open toe and the ankle strap. Whenever I put them on, I feel like a gladiator or something. Like a queen who could overthrow the world with the kick of her foot. So when I need a confidence boost, you better believe those babies are on my feet.

3. High heels are a great way to weed out guys who are just too short.

Ahh, the sad truth about women who love heels. If your man's too short to stand next to you in your three- to five-inch lifts, there's a good chance it isn't going to work out.

I have to date a man who’s at least a few inches taller than I am, even in my tallest stilettos. There's something about reaching down to kiss a guy that just doesn't work for me. On the other hand, there's something incredibly normal and sexy about my man bending down to kiss me.

4. A cute pair that’s two sizes too small will encourage you to push your physical limits.

There are certain sacrifices to be made when you are an avid heel-wearing woman. That means beauty over pain on occasion (okay, maybe even a good amount of the time).

I have a shiny pair of black low-heels with a button strap that crosses over the front like a childhood Mary Jane. They’re adorable. And I've worn them since the eighth grade. I'm not kidding. They're two sizes too small, but my foot can squeeze into them, with just a little pressure on the pinky and big toe. Reasonable, right?

I keep them around because they're just so dang cute! And sometimes when you find a good pair of heels, you just keep them until they self-destruct.

5. You can count on ‘boyfriend heels' to bring you closer to your partner.

Boyfriend heels are the pair you can't really walk in, but they look too chic not to wear. So you grab your significant other's arm, and he guides your boss-bitch walk. (Yes, you can still be a kick butt woman with a man on your arm). It’s an intimate thing, really. He'll be your partner in crime as you parade down the street looking downright amazing.

6. There’s literally a pair for every occasion.

My closet contains the open-toe heels, the extra high heels, the teacher-heels, the conservative heels, the casual heels, the edgy heels, the fancy-schmancy heels, and the wear-this-in-any-weather-heels.

7. And then there's the ‘no-snow’ pair you get to anticipate wearing.

The no-snow heels are the ones you have to worry about in the winter months. These are the ones with no-grip whatsoever. The heels that are about looks more than durability. No matter how perfectly they match with your tights and cocktail dress, do not—I repeat, do not—try to wear them out when Mother Nature isn’t on your side. It’s much better to wear the less-than-great heels than be a flopping fish on the ice. Trust me, I learned that the hard way. TC mark

5 Boozy Holiday Gifts (All Under $10!) For Your BFF

Posted: 04 Dec 2015 12:01 PM PST

Twenty20 / theiphotographr
Twenty20 / theiphotographr

Let's be honest – most celebratory occasions mix well with alcohol. There are calculators to determine how much you'll need for your wedding, open bars have become the norm at holiday parties, and of course, a study found that 4 out of 5 people celebrated their 21st birthday with alcohol.

But beer and wine doesn't just have to be a gift for that momentous occasion (I mean, I would never say no to a nice bottle of Pinot Grigio!). Before you hit the liquor store to pick up a gift, check out these five wallet-friendly and booze-fueled gifts.

1. Heineken Beer Label ($4.50)

Heinenken Birthday Beer Label
Heinenken Beer Label

Put a festive touch on your favorite beer (don't worry, it doesn't actually have to be Heineken).

2. Burlap Wine Label ($5.00)

Burlap Birthday Wine Label
Burlap Wine Label

The only thing better than wine is wine with your face on it. Replace the label on your favorite bottle with a personalized one, and your BFF will want to keep it forever – even after she finishes it!.

3. Vino 2 Go ($9.99)


Your BFF won't have excuses for not day-drinking and tailgating with you now!

4. Monogrammed Wine Stopper ($8)

Monogram Wine Stoppers
Monogram Wine Stoppers

Because sometimes you just can't finish that bottle of wine alone, right?

5. Spin The Shot ($8.40)

Barbuzzo Spin-the-Shot
Barbuzzo Spin-the-Shot

Your friend can spice up her next party with this fun twist on a classic game. TC mark