Men Do Basic Things Too: Fall Edition

 

It’s hard to miss the memes, gifs, and quizzes pertaining to being “basic”. One has only to plug the term into a search engine to find the dearth of posts poking fun and/or embracing the term. If you don’t know what “basic” means, you might also be part of that lost group that just discovered “dabbing”. If you really don’t know, here is the Urban Dictionary definition.

While there are varying degrees, there is one telltale sign associated with the Basic B*. It is the moment when the leaves first start to curl to signal the end of Summer, and said person can be found eagerly rushing to the closest Starbucks to order their Pumpkin Spice Latte (PSL). Did you hear that? That was the collective sound of their “Oooh Ahhh”.

I’ll be honest — I’m definitely guilty of having some “basic” tendencies (who hasn’t?), and it irked me that nearly every example of this specimen was of the feminine kind.

 

     

Well guess what? I am here to say that Men Do Basic Things Too. And as it is only fitting with all things Autumnal upon us, let’s start with the Fall Edition.

While they may not be rushing (publicly, anyways) to order their PSL, they do embrace those limited-edition Pumpkin Brews or seasonal IPAs. Let’s face it, this might as well be a PSL.

As they await the final season of GOT, you might find one taking their fashion inspiration or perhaps dressed as Jon Snow for Halloween.

   

And if they aren’t feeling that messy man-bun vibe, they are reaching for those Plaid Shirts & Puffy Vests.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Or when they trade in those snapbacks for Beanies.

                

They might also ironically join and then win their Fantasy Football leagues.

And of course, they’ll make their award-winning Chili for said football parties.

   

Sometimes they only want the company of a good book and a stiff Whiskey/Bourbon drink (something along the lines of an Old Fashioned).

And while they may not willingly pose for a pumpkin patch photo or jump in the dried leaves, they’ll have photos of their Furry Friends in those Crunchy Leaves.

                          

Anyways, so here’s to your seasonal beverage whatever it might be. Drink all the PSLs and IPAs until the leaves start to green, and you have to hide your guilty “basic” pleasure.

Cheers to all the Basic Gs.

Media: Aubreigh Brunschwig & Dani Thompson
Models: Andrew Hoffman & Cat Huynh


23&Me and Me

When I was growing up, my mom’s adoption never seemed like that big of a deal to me. It was a routine confession to doctors, that I only knew half of my family’s medical history. The way she talked about it, she didn’t miss the family that had given her up. If anything, it seemed like maybe she was still a little angry–even if, as an adult, she could fully understand why a woman in the 1950s might choose to give her baby away.

And plus, she always told me, her parents are her parents. They’re the ones who raised her–who took care of her when she was sick. Their relationship wasn’t perfect (let’s face it, who’s is?) but she never seemed to waiver.

Then a few years ago, after her father had died and my brother had been diagnosed with a rare autoimmune disorder and I’d struggled with digestive issues for years, she told me over a breakfast date that she wanted to look for her birth parents. Mostly, she said, for my brother’s and my medical history.

Online Community exploring how millennials live authentically in an internet culture.

It’s a complicated prospect to start to look for your birth family at over 60 years old–her parents could be dead. But they also probably went on to have other children and long complicated lives that she was not a part of, and perhaps they stayed together and wondered about her and perhaps they never saw each other again and maybe–maybe, they had given her up and never looked back. Maybe finding them would be an intrusion. Maybe she would find out things about them she didn’t want to know. And maybe she’d never find them at all.

But, she wanted to try. And after the first few phone calls she learned the adoption agency her parents had used closed down in the ‘70s. It became clear that the search would take a while.

Online Community exploring how millennials live authentically in an internet culture.

So in the meantime, that Christmas, I gifted her a 23&Me genetic test; figuring the most it would do would give her a clue to her background and maybe make her feel a little more connected to her biological family. I didn’t realize they allowed you to contact possible close family members until she mentioned she matched with some third cousins.

Meanwhile, the months slipped by and she spent more hours on the phone with the state of Texas, digging through possible avenues to find out about her parents. They narrowed it down to the last possible option–she’d need to get an original copy of her birth certificate, which would have, at the very least, the name of her biological mother.

Then suddenly, the way these things do, everything changed. 23&Me sent her a notification: they’d found her half sister.

It was exactly what she always thought might happen. Out of nowhere, she has a sister; one who grew up knowing her biological father and who begins to put the pieces of my mother’s origin together.

Since the story is only just beginning I’ll save it for my mother to tell. But when she spit into the tube that day after Christmas two years ago, I never imagined my gift might open the door to that story.

 


I Bought a Menstrual Cup on Instagram

I asked friends about menstrual cups. I read about how magical they were for the environment, how nice it was not to have to carry products with you everywhere, but ultimately it took seeing a single black woman in an Instagram ad for me to actually buy one. The website that sold them was beautiful and interactive, with graphics illustrating technique and a robust FAQ page. I was actually excited to use a period product, which, since the advent of my period at a Water World theme park when I was 9, has never ever been a thing for me.

Online Community exploring how millennials live authentically in an internet culture.

Somehow I was still blissfully unaware of how intimate I was about to get with my period experience. There was the seal-checking, which requires you to run the perimeter of your vaginal canal with your finger, the at-first unfamiliar static fullness. Upon removal (earlier than advertised), I was surprised at just how full of blood it was, then i immediately felt affirmed that what doctors had suspected was an overuse of super plus and ultra tampons did in fact correspond to “heavier than average flow”. I had the milliliters to prove it. There was the intense bright red color that stained the bowl and made me instantly happy that I was doing this process at home. God forbid my period betray me in front of company again. Tampons soak up the vaginal secretions (lolz that word sounds just like what it is), but the cup just holds them, leaving a mix of blood and what kind of looks like spit. It’s interesting to me, but I am an ex-scientist so that fascination is likely not universal. At first there was more opportunity for blood on my fingers, on my thighs. My blood didn’t all go away when I flushed.

My period hadn’t changed and yet I was experiencing it anew at 27. I was ALL UP IN IT. But it didn’t make me feel better or worse. I was more viscerally involved with what was happening with my body, and the process of it made me think of what periods must be like for women in our village in Nigeria. Reminded me of how privileged and modern it made my mom and her sisters feel that they had access to pads growing up. The Instagram cup company said they donated a cup to a young woman in need somewhere, so I guess it was nice to imagine that a women somewhere was having the same experience as me. (Then I immediately felt guilty that I was letting a retailer give me a false sense of activism.) @it’s better for the environment” and “I’ll save so much on tampons” were both things I reminded myself as I washed my cup clean and reinserted it. I wasn’t grossed out by my period, I was just having to deal with it, really deal with it. I didn’t feel better or worse because my period hadn’t changed. It was still a bitch. I still had blinding pain, uncomfortable, bloating, difficult shits, which all seem incompatible with period positivity. I don’t plan to have children, so my uterus only does for me what a cocktail of hormone pills could do and does do for lots of people who have had hysterectomies. I’ve long considered getting one, but very few doctors would see the above symptoms as being valid enough to take away the fertility of young women who desperately wants to be rid of it. I hate my period. The novel excitement of the Instagram cup wore off so fast that I even surprised myself. So what I should say is I STILL hate my period, but I do know her a hell of a lot better.