The Corona Files

By: Ali Benz

If you get offended easily, this post isn’t for you. If you’re getting bored painting your nails quarantine red and sending pandemic nudes from your parents’ basement, carry on. COVID-19 is upon us and we need some comic relief during these dark times. Everybody copes differently. Some are blacking out with their cats while others are going ape-shit in a Costco. You decide who you want to be.

While we’re all on lockdown, it’s easy to forget what day or year it is. My oven clock is still wrong from day-light savings so I really have no idea. All I know is there are only a few rules for quarantine: calories don’t count, drinking doesn’t stop, and you can sleep with your socks on. It’s a different world.

I used to think that Corona was spread by the government to shut down the rave community. Every music festival has been canceled so that 12,000 wooks can’t share one camelback and clean themselves with their bucket hats. It was always dangerous, but the spread of a virus was the only way to get the bassheads’ attention.

After doing more research, I realized this conspiracy might not be true. It’s bigger than the rave. This virus was set out to conquer a whole generation. Perhaps millennials and Gen-Z are that terrible that we needed to be wiped out completely. The lord saw the future and it didn’t look good. It was all Tik Tok dances, vegan options, and a mediocre album by Justin Bieber. Of course the world was going to end. Or it’s just a test.

Everyone wanted to work from home so badly, and now it’s happening. Most people are forced to work remotely until further notice and I find it hilarious. Someone is currently auditing your taxes wearing a crop-top and drinking a Truly. A professor is virtually teaching a slew of degenerates that mute their screens to take bong rips.

Sadly, not everyone can work from home. If you work in the service industry, say goodbye to your paycheck. Waiters might actually have to become good actors now since they’re cut off from serving sangria at your local Olive Garden while “in-between gigs.” Tragic.

On the other hand, this is a fitness instructor’s dream. My whole newsfeed is just shirtless people working out in their basements and giving me unsolicited advice. Stop telling me to use a banana as a dumbbell. Gyms are closed for a reason: The government wants us to get thicc.

It’s great that coaches can virtually train, but it’s even greater that my therapist can virtually counsel. Now, I can show my therapist my childhood home and the people I’ve been complaining about for months! I bet this will speed up the process and I can even live stream my quarantine so she can fully assess the situation and take my side.

Don’t worry about how you’re handling it all. Everyone pandemics differently. Just be mindful of others. Stay inside. I know you’re freaking out that Coachella is canceled, but honestly, it’s not even cool anymore. Save your money and party through your phone. There’s nothing more fun than taking a shot with your friend across the globe at 2pm on a Wednesday in pajamas.

New Year New Me

By: Ali Benz

New year new me. It’s resolution time. I just did a 2-week social media cleanse and wow, it was nice. I had so much freedom. I literally had no idea what was going on or where anyone was and it was amazing. A bunch of people couldn’t get in touch with me and that was the best part. Who knew so many people slide into my DMs that don’t even have my number. I had zero fomo. This is the life that I want.

Without IG, you never feel pressured to do anything. You don’t have to see your friends’ three-hour-long story of a DJ Khaled concert and think “what if.” You don’t have to watch a promo for Kylie Cosmetics. You’ll never know whose bachelorette party you didn’t get invited to. And you’ll never wake up in the middle of the night in a panic wondering what cringe-worthy content you posted at 2 am on your story. That was probably the biggest revelation for me. I’m used to deleting everything and then having anxiety for the next twelve hours, but no ‘gram equals no posts. You can finally rest knowing you didn’t post yourself serenading your Uber driver to Taylor Swift as you beg him to get you a McChicken.

It means no worries. However, it does mean sketchy af. After an event last week, a few people asked for my Insta upon leaving. When I said I didn’t have one they def thought I was a murderer. Then I started to think I was one, too, because who tf doesn’t have Instagram? That’s why I’m back on here. People without social media usually have something to hide. There’s nothing sketchier than someone in a job interview who doesn’t have Facebook. Yes, Facebook is wack af and tailored to your stalker aunt but it is a necessity. Group projects? Facebook. Background check? Facebook. Making sure the intern you just hired that only owns a Nokia won’t steal your HD scanner? Facebook! If you don’t have social, odds are you’re Joe from You.

Not to mention, you become extremely alienated. I knew none of the current memes and I had to hear from an outside source that Justin Bieber has pink hair. I should’ve been the first to know. Also, I thought Millie Bobby Brown was Halsey, but that’s another discussion. Honestly, none of this celeb stuff should matter but we have to stay on top of the hot gossip or else we’ll die at work. Selena Gomez put out a fire album and I need to like all her sh*t to make up for hating on her for the past ten years. She’s absolutely killing it and we stan. Her ex, Biebz, tried to outshine her album drop with his Lyme disease but we’re not going to let that happen. Sel legit had a kidney transplant—his tick bite can wait. Not belittling his disease, I know Lyme is awful but for real I need to meet the tick that bit Justin. That lil guy has some serious BDE.

I probably will never find that parasite, but be mindful that other parasites will find you. I deleted Instagram, as I’ve now mentioned six times, but there are other platforms and you need to be cautious. Without IG, I found myself posting on Twitter, because, duh. It’s in these moments that you realize just how psycho your ex is. I barely knew I had a Twitter account, but this stalker was one step ahead of me and seeing everything I tweeted in real-time. I’m flattered you’re so obsessed with me, but seriously Twitter should be a safe space. I never thought I’d have to block someone on an app that tells me my horoscope.

With Twitter unsafe, I finally downloaded Tik Tok. I said I never would but desperate times call for desperate measures and now I have so many questions. Is this app designed specifically for teenage girls to dance to trap music after they’re done with homework? I respect the creative freedom but wow, when I was in middle school, I was hardly able to learn the Cotton Eye Joe. The Cotton Eye J was way too controversial. Now, these people are body-rolling to Doja Cat. I barely know what a Doja Cat is and I feel old. This app made me sad and now I’m having a mid-life crisis. I’ll get back to that later—I need to learn the Renegade dance so my sixteen-year-old cousin will still think I’m cool.

All in all, social media is quite toxic, but in this society, it’s inevitable. We need apps to stay relevant. Plus, I miss all the paradoxes of Instagram, like when bottle girls have “RN” in their bio. No way I’d let anyone from Marquee put a needle in my arm, but I think it’s unique how you describe yourself as a nurse meanwhile your first ten pics consist of champagne showers and an ice luge. I also take pride in knowing I’m blocked by Bart Johnson. That’s Troy Bolton’s dad from High School Musical. So much clout. Sorry for bothering you, Barty J. We’re just dying for a spin-off

Enjoy your social media breaks while they last. It’s super refreshing and isolating. Just don’t post on your story that you’re doing an “Instagram Cleanse” and will be back soon because that’s obnoxious. You’re not Demi Lovato. No one is wondering where you are besides your mom and that one foreign guy in your DMs that keeps asking you to “send bobz.” Tragic.

 

November: Doing the Least

By: Ali Benz

It’s that weird time of year again between Halloween and Christmas. A time where people do the absolute least. Everyone is exhausted from planning their slutty Halloween costumes and no one is sure if they’re on vacation or not. I just ordered a caesar salad and I’m pretty sure this girl just gave me mayo on romaine. No chance I’m eating it but I respect the minimal effort.

Halloween also lasted through November, and might still be going on now, but nobody knows for sure. I’m so pale right now I look like Johnny Depp as Willy Wonka so my costume is going strong regardless. Thank god the clocks set back because I need some time to recover from what I saw this spooky season. So many slutty Pokémon my childhood is ruined. Also, a guy asked me to be a pod to his Juul but I’m an independent woman who don’t need no man so bye Felicia. Find another pod.

Also, ‘tis the season to not shut the f*ck up about the weather. Why do people love to talk about temperature so much? Yes, Karen, the leaves fall around this time of year every year. Get over it. I once talked about the rain with a co-worker for thirty minutes. I will never get that time back and all I learned is that it was already raining. Next topic.

No one really likes to discuss Thanksgiving. TG is so random. No idea what pilgrim sorcery this is but I’ve already been invited to like six potlucks. I don’t even know how to cook and now I have to bake a pie for my best friend’s sister’s ex-boyfriend’s cousin. I really need to stop RSVPing to things. That reminds me, I also committed to a 5k Turkey Trot. After seeing the psychopaths who ran the New York marathon, I don’t know why I’d involve myself in this treachery. If I wanted to travel uncomfortably for 26 miles I would’ve just booked a flight on Spirit.

This run might be the most I do in November. I thought about booking a flight to Boca Raton to get some color and also visit my grandma, but that seems like effort. Also, I’m trying to partake in no-shave November and going to Florida will require a razor. This is a scary month for me because I have a fear of beards/ facial hair. Every guy is about to look homeless until December first. Thank god Emma Watson coined the term “self-partnered” so I can tell my relatives I’m technically not single. Someone from Harry Potter said I’m dating myself. Perfect.

While everyone looks like Hagrid this month, maybe you can focus on your career rather than your nonexistent love life. The only reason people have boyfriend’s in NY anyway is to afford an apartment with exposed brick. Sorry, that was kind of a dig at my sister and her boyfriend, but I’m just salty they got a new place without me to take their relationship to the “next level”. Not sure why they wouldn’t want to be roomies. I could’ve absolutely gotten them to the next level in a two-bedroom in West Village on top of a pizza shop where we all share one bathroom and the laundry machine is in the kitchen. Tragic.

Anyway, back to your career. Now that it’s cold, as your co-workers have alerted you every day, you can spend more time building your resume and less time blacking out on rooftops. It never hurts to check in with yourself and see what else is out there. I know I said November is about doing the bare minimum, but opening up LinkedIn is really not that hard. It might even be time to update your picture from a selfie to an actual headshot that doesn’t scream “I still do keg-stands on the weekend and have a really good relationship with my weed dealer.” It’s time to upload that psychotic smiling over the left shoulder pic with the blue backdrop that will let recruiters know you may have drank PBR through a funnel in the past, but now you sip martinis at a one drink limit and pronounce Barcelona with a “th”.

Whether this month leaves you in limbo or at a new career, just know it’s almost over and winter is coming. Mariah Carey saw her shadow so we’ll be hearing that Christmas song soon. At least I think that’s how it works. Just be grateful they’re not playing “Disturbia” in the lobby anymore and I can stop pretending I’ve seen Hocus Pocus. Don’t @ me. Now all the scary stories will be real, like T.I. taking his grown daughter to the gyno or the one about the Ukrainian orphan dwarf. Look it up.

Rave Blog

By: Ali Benz

I said I’d never go to the rave again, but then I definitely went to the rave again. And again. Strictly for research purposes, though. Music festivals are a dangerous place. Luckily, I was brave enough to go and can reveal my findings. All I can think about is how similar ravers are to therapists. I know that sounds weird af, but it’s true. Both are in my life and both are sending me love and light. I don’t really know what that means but I love to receive things, so send it.

First of all, can we talk about crystals? I mentioned that my neck was hurting and someone told me to just “throw some agate on it.” WTF does that mean? Apparently doctors aren’t a thing anymore. I don’t know who loves stones and crystals more, my therapist or everyone at Burning Man. Want good vibes? Here’s a crystal. Need a new car? Here’s a crystal. Want to murder your ex? Here’s a crystal! It’s amazing. The crystal industry is booming. Remind me to invest in Swarovski.

These festivals can also get very spiritual. People are always “realizing things”. Isn’t that the point of therapy, though? To discover yourself and have breakthroughs and sh*t? Pass the Ayahuaska . The only difference is psychologists deal with real Shaman whereas you probably met a guy in a headdress who calls himself “Starlight” and tried to sell you an Adderall. Tragic.

Both parties also have this fascination with dance. I’ve seen therapists do this energy/movement dancing. It kind of looks like a mating call but I dig it. The moves are proven to have huge mental benefits if you can get past looking like a tribal dancer at a human sacrifice. Don’t knock it before you try it. At least you’re not a shuffler at an Insomniac event. Don’t get me wrong, I think shuffling is cool and I’ve maybe done it by accident before (for research purposes). I just don’t like shufflers that are cocky. Like I get it you can stomp the ground hard in your Sketchers but like don’t be a dick about it.

If you don’t know what shuffling is, it’s this thing that was cool in 2012 that gave white kids the opportunity to break-dance to House music without having to appear in a Missy Elliot music video. Nowadays, it’s become another YouTube phenomenon where anyone can profit from recording themselves in their step-mom’s backyard on an iPhone4. People around the world literally post themselves shuffling and get more sponsors than a child-star on Ellen. These “shufflers” get so competitive with their stomping and such and then try to sell me pre-workout. This is not Crossfit. Please leave me alone. Just sell your Bang energy drinks and move on. At least all my therapist tries to sell me is her e-Book.

I know I’m acting salty. I swear I’m not mad. It’s just that I don’t know what costs more, a night at the Brooklyn Mirage or an hour with my shrink. This stuff should all be free. At either event, I receive unsolicited advice and a hug at the end. Maybe some tears, who knows. Music festivals can be an amazing experience, as long as you don’t get mono from sharing everyone’s Camelback. Therapy is also a great release. I just feel like, with all the wild/exciting stories I tell mine, she should be paying me. But this is America, so I will continue to pay $200/hour to tell someone about how I went crowd-surfing at a Diplo set and got in a fight with the man in the Halal truck at 4 am. Tragic.

Beginner’s Guide to Brooklyn

By: Ali Benz

If you’re like me and you’ve been to Brooklyn twice, you’ve probably had the pleasure of riding the L train. It takes some getting used to, but you slowly learn that on the L all you have to do is grab on to the nearest man-bun for stability. Never fails and there’s always one around which is super rad. There are always different types waiting for your grip, but my favorite is the ginger-red double-knot for extra support and style.

Do I hate Brooklyn? No. But it’s def one of my least favorite boroughs. If you’re going to cross that bridge you need to be ready. Vans must be strapped, but just loose and distressed enough to give that “I don’t care and sometimes I take my longboard to my job in a WeWork space vibe.” Check your Manhattan privilege at the door. BK is all about the local brews. If it’s not on draft, don’t even bother. If you go to a coffee place in Bushwick, which probably doubles as a thrift-shop or a yarn store, do NOT mention Starbuck’s. Immediately order the nitro cold-brew, demand oat-milk for an extra ten dollars, and get out. Paper straws only!

Same rules apply to any hipster bar you visit. Get a local home-brewed craft IPA stat! If it was wintertime, I’d recommend chilling in your rattiest Carhartt beanie with a little hint of man-bun coming out so they know you’re not messing around. Since it’s summertime, I recommend a flat brim hat that looks like it’s almost falling off your head but really you’re just too chill and present to care. There are more important things, like the environment, duh. Pair it with a random, super underground band-tee to really seal the deal. Maybe one that says “Joy Division”—whatever the f*ck that is.

Once again, I’m not hating on Brooklyn. How could I not love a place where everyone’s vegan and owns an Android? This place is sustainable af. Where else could I play competitive corn hole while listening to my favorite techno set in a brewery that used to be a factory that used to be an infirmary? It’s a beautiful thing, really. It’s the only grounds where getting f*cked up on kombucha and running around barefoot is admired and not a “cry for help” like your therapist says. Tell your shrink to chill and have some mead, bro.

If you’re having trouble connecting with “Brooklynites”, just casually mention Burning Man. I’m positive that everyone in this borough is attending. However, whatever you do, do NOT mention Coachella. Coachella is mainstream. That’s a dead giveaway that you don’t compost and you eat meat. To find a happy medium, I suggest the Brooklyn Mirage: a place to go when you want to leave Manhattan to see a bunch of people from Manhattan, but with the luxury of a “Williamsburg” snapchat filter. Just don’t come crying to me when the paper straw melts in your gin & tonic. Tragic.

 

 

True Life: You’re an Alien

By: Ali Benz

Do people even know what UFO stands for? It literally just means unidentified flying object. I consider a UFO to be that random scrap of meat the hibachi chef throws into your mouth and you just eat it no matter what because—showbiz. The term doesn’t directly relate to aliens, but it’s completely understandable if you grew up watching E.T. A UFO may be flying Japanese meat in my eyes, but to others, it’s the possibility of a whole other galaxy.

I’m down for an alien invasion just as much as the next guy. I just hope these slick extraterrestrials are single af. Everybody these days is either gay or married, so I’d take a handsome, tech-savvy E.T. any day of the week. My hopes are obviously up, but one can’t even be sure that the objects the Navy reported are extraterrestrial. The Navy is dramatic and prob just wants attention, or a day off from work. I told my boss I had tennis elbow to get a sick day, but I bet if I said I saw a UFO in 2015 he’d suggest a leave of absence for “personal reasons”.

Honestly, I think there are aliens all around us and we don’t even know it. For example, where in the world is Carmen San-Diego? Aka Melania Trump? I miss her so much. TBH Melania looks exactly like E.T. There. I said it. I am NOT bullying her. I know she is the obvious leader of the anti-bullying campaign. E.T. is super handsome. They both have that beautiful, copper skin, light eyes, and amazing figure. If they did a face-swap it would be the sexiest first-lady-alien alive, so don’t come at me like some alien body-shamer or whatever. I’m a fan. I just think it’s possible that Trump married an alien and was a huge fan of Steven Spielberg in the 1980s. Conspiracy theory people: Back me up here.

Everyone has their reasons for believing or not believing in intelligent-extraterrestrial life. The other week I was walking home from the bar and I was in a bind. My feet were too tired and Uber is unsafe so I made the obvious decision. I jumped on the back of a delivery man’s bicycle and asked him to drop me off on the Upper West Side. He pedaled me all the way home without asking any questions—and not just because he spoke zero English. As the wind blew through my hair on the heroic man’s handlebars, I realized that I was basically E.T. I’m clearly an alien too, or else I would’ve just taken a Lyft. I also learned that night that you shouldn’t drink on antibiotics. This was the year of realizing things, just like Kylie Jenner said! A modern Gandhi.

It’s rare that others will experience the spiritual awakening that I had. I think a lot of excitement around the UFO sightings is out of desperation. The state of the world is so wild right now that people want literally anything to believe in. From abortion bans to climate change it’s no wonder people are so quick to latch on to the idea of aliens. Maybe these UFOs are coming into awareness as our savior or a reason to give people hope. We all need something to put our faith in and honestly, I’m here for it. I thought Jonathan Cheban was our God, but apparently, he’s just a Foodgōd. Tragic.

This alien sh*t also could not have come at a better time. I just read an article about a new craze of people LARPing in the park with goats. Like there are humans literally role-playing as part of a goat fantasy at local farms in Connecticut. I hope the aliens abduct them first. As if CT needed one more reason for people not to visit. You really blew it, Nutmeg State. And yes, I’m from there. If you’re looking for me, I’ll be ~summering~ at Area 51. Montauk is for Muggles and my hometown is filled with LARP.

What the Smollett…

By: Ali Benz

I need to come clean: I walked around with a black smudge on my forehead on Ash Wednesday for personal gain. It wasn’t that serious, I just had to convince my trainer I gave up cardio for Lent. Genius, I know, but if I was a celeb it might’ve been cultural appropriation or some sh*t. It also didn’t help that I work out at the Jewish Community Center.

My little ash stunt wasn’t nearly as bad as recent scandals. I feel like we live in the Purge. Never seen that movie but I assume it goes something like this. There are literally no consequences for anything—especially if you have money. Jussie Smollett got away with his fake hate crime for the small price of 10k. Pretty good deal for a staged attack, don’t ya think? Must have been Black Friday (not a pun).

The Mueller Report essentially exonerated President Trump. This was a bigger let down than 7/11’s ban on Mango Juul pods. It’s fine that they found no collusion etc., but like why be so dramatic about it? There was this huge build-up for literally nothing. Does Robby Muellz just like the spotlight? Everybody is a star these days; My dog, hot lawyers, idiots on Summer House that blackout in the Hamptons—anyone. And it’s not even their fault. All of us want a story, so they give us a show. It doesn’t matter what’s wrong and what’s right, just keep it interesting.

Aunt Becky did not disappoint. Lori Loughlin bribed USC to enroll her daughter and now she’s more relevant than ever. She might even get a show! I tried to bribe a teacher once and he reported me. Still unsure how “If you round that up to a 90 I’ll cover your tab” is inappropriate, but I guess that’s what happens when you bump into your professor at a Ruby Tuesday. Although Loughlin’s “influencer” daughter, Olivia Jade, lost her make-up sponsors, she’s still winning in my book. I have literally never heard of her. Now I’m writing about her. I got waitlisted from USC and I slipped a twenty in my application but nobody wants to talk about that now do they? OJ (can I call her that?) slips a casual 500k with her Common App and all of a sudden she’s a BFD. Go big or go home I guess. Tragic.

Hate to bring up this rando again, but Jordyn Woods—WTF?! This girl dragged us through a devastating cheating scandal and now she’s America’s next top model? I fought for you, Jordyn! I cried and battled multiple strangers on the internet for you, Jordyn! Where is the loyalty? You played me for a fool, Jordyn! But you knew what you were doing. You caught the scandal bug. I respect it, considering you drop-kicked the Kardashians, shed a few tears for the people back home, then rose to fame overnight. I just wish some of us got the same treatment: When Woods blacks out at a party and hooks up with someone, she calls Will Smith. When my friends blackout at a guy’s party, we call Planned Parenthood. I just feel like it’s slightly unfair but whatever.

One minor step backward, two huge steps forward. Give us a good scam and we’ll sling you to stardom. I finally get why they say no publicity is bad publicity. Keep the people talking. I just wish my therapist understood. Every time I get kicked out of a bar she says I need to quit drinking. Jokes on her because all of downtown has been talking about me for weeks. If my calculations are correct I should be a star by noon.