Christmas Time in the City!

By: Ali Benz

It’s that time of year again. Time to get controversial. With the holidays coming up, everyone is high stress and loves any opportunity to complain. Everything is magical but this is New York—aka we need to be angry. It’s a perfect time to donate to the Salvation Army then immediately kick someone in the face. An amazing day to feed the homeless then cause a scene in a Popeye’s. Too soon?

The holidays are wonderful. I can’t tell if I’m seasonally depressed or clinically confused. All I know is that this Macy’s is beautiful. I want to spend every day in the Christmas Macy’s. Normally, I would need at least three Xanax to enter a department store, but not today. Today I am free and I will buy a faux fur on sale in the wrong size while listening to Michael Bublé serenade me as I try to locate a cash register in the Calvin Klein section. It will turn out to be returns-only and they won’t help me at the perfume counter but my spirits will remain high because the salvation army man is still dancing.

If you missed Black Friday because this is 2019 and you own a computer, fear not. Cyber Monday is just around the corner. If you missed Cyber Monday because today is Thursday, fear not as well. Every day is a cyber one with Amazon Prime. Instead of feeling pressured to buy your dog the perfect winter scarf that screams sexy yet elegant, just wait. The internet doesn’t sleep. Also, don’t cut corners with your pet. If you love your Schnoodle you’ll pay full price. Never settle for burgundy because they don’t have it in jet-black.

Fashion dominates the market this time of year, but we get riled up over the simple things as well. Starbucks has happy hour but we don’t care about that because their cups are so controversial. ‘Tis the season to freak out over a coffee mug. Oh, it’s red? Absolutely not. This establishment is racist. I’ll still take that tall blonde skinny vanilla latte though, thanks. I think the issue is that all this holiday cheer gives people a false sense of security. We suddenly think we’re invincible because there’s a wreath on the doorknob. I don’t get it. If plant-decor could make one feel so powerful, then why hasn’t my ficus been working? Someone please look into this.

Maybe there’s something in the air. Whatever it is, I keep catching it. I think I’ve been on antibiotics since September. Not a good look. I see my doctor so much she invited me to her Hanukkah for night three. It’s a bad month to be on medication. With all the holiday parties and such, I don’t get why they keep prescribing me things that say “don’t mix with alcohol.” I mean, could you be more specific? What else am I going to mix this with? Someone please let me know the wine pairing for Amoxicillin.

Cheers to making it through this holiday season. Make sure they put a Menorah up in your workplace because the tree is so banal. Hit up an ex to go ice-skating even though you hate sports. Buy your mom a Rumba so she can multi-task during hot yoga. And if your older cousin invites you to Ann Taylor Loft, remember that it’s not a secret rave in Brooklyn. It’s a literal clothing store from like, the 60’s. 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.

Stop Selling Me Things

By: Ali Benz

Has anyone ever had to Venmo a homeless person? I have. Not having cash is no longer an adequate excuse. The ease of sending money makes everything super awkward, like when I have to donate to a cause on Facebook for a birthday every other day so I can sleep at night. Between Paypal, Zelle, and online shopping there are no limits.  You can literally sell anything. Whether it’s a product, an idea, or an app—someone’s buying. People want the next best thing even if it’s dumb af. You can literally put your trash on Etsy and call it a “Vintage Dream-Catcher” then suddenly some weirdo in Colorado is paying your rent.

I know everyone has seen those stupid Scooters around town for people who can’t afford Uber. That’s already pretty f*cking weird, but now I’m seeing pogo-sticks. You can hop your ass to work now. I was a professional pogo-sticker back in ‘02, but best believe you won’t catch me on one of those today. Pogos are absolutely not a method of transportation and make literally no sense. Imagine if you didn’t have the right backpack on—or bra. I’m so disturbed. Please, no more bouncing. Bring back Heely’s.

If you commute to work like a normal person, you probably need a decent night’s rest. Everyone has insomnia these days because it’s like, “in”. Super irritating considering I haven’t been able to sleep for years but now everybody wants to talk about it. Luckily, people capitalize on trends immediately and sell weird products on the internet to my mom. First, it was CBD oil. Now, it’s f*cking lavender? What? I told my mother I couldn’t sleep and she sent me a jar of lavender to lather myself in. It never put me to sleep but I do smell like a f*cking candle. Usually when I can’t go to bed my friends give me five melatonin and a Benadryl and hope I STFU. It doesn’t work either but at least I don’t turn into a plant.

Speaking of transforming, can everyone please stop downloading the FaceApp? Why are you so obsessed with posting pics of yourselves as old people? Your day will come. I legit never once wondered what any of my friends would look like at age eighty. Also, I don’t get why celebs insist on aging themselves in the app, too? No one cares what you look like Ludacris—I didn’t even know you weren’t that old. Please be more relevant. And seriously, Jonas Brothers? Why’d you do Kevin dirty like that?! He was already the least interesting to look at then they went and gave just him one of those creepy skin tags. Tragic.

When the internet isn’t targeting face-tuners, they pray on the over-weight. Forever 21 sent Atkins bars with plus-size orders as part of a master marketing plan that certainly wouldn’t be offensive. What do these people think, their XL customers will be flattered to receive subpar diet bars with their jeggings? That they’ll start buying Atkins products because the most disorganized clothing company in the world suggested it? Taking diet advice from a Forever 21 is like taking dating advice from Tiger Woods: It just doesn’t work.

Unfortunately, the FBI agents in our phones will continue to stalk us and bombard us with ads for exactly what we want. You can’t escape it. Instagram will target you. Amazon will find you. Don’t drink and Prime. You might just end up with two pashminas in the middle of July.

Advanced Guide to Resume Building and Job Applications

By: Ali Benz

If you don’t have ‘Proficient in Excel’ on your resume, did you ever even create a resume? Just because you made that mailing list for your step-sister’s Quinceañera, doesn’t mean you’re an Excel pro, but you better believe it’s on my list of skills, right next to ‘Works well with others’. Doubt it.

Applications are just too confusing these days. I love how, in a desperate attempt to appear less prejudiced, forms will put ‘White’ as one of the second to last options. This is cute and all but I can literally never find it. Sometimes, for the sake of time, I just circle a random race so I’m not late to the interview. It was only awkward that time I chose Pacific Islander because I thought it sounded like a cocktail at Red Lobster.

The questions just get harder and harder. Do you ever get hit with the ‘Hispanic or Non-Hispanic’? It might as well say can you dance or not. I always feel a little offended by this one. They’re basically asking if you’re exotic or a basic b*tch. Not slick. Also, I never really know how to answer this super personal inquiry. In my heart, I do feel a little Hispanic—I did spend that one summer in Punta Cana and I might have dated a Salvadorian—but the question isn’t clear as to what qualifies. My advice is to just leave that one blank. First amendment type sh*t. #KnowYourRights.

It seems I’m not the first one to be confused by an application. Senator Elizabeth Warren was clearly a bit rattled when applying to Harvard. Maybe she wasn’t sure to what extent Native American they meant—just like I’m still confused if I could be considered Latina. Then again, I was just trying to get into Costco, not an Ivy League school. What she did was probably wrong, but I bet she would’ve been accepted even as a Pacific Islander. You can’t always just name-drop Pocahontas and get the job. Sometimes, you have to actually meet the requirements. For example, Jamie Lee Curtis is my fourth cousin and I still didn’t get the part in Freaky Friday. Lindsay Lohan is just a better actor, dancer, activist and—this is how you throw a party in Mykonos, b*tch.

Anyway, I’m not sure how much you should exaggerate on a school/job application. Maybe just enough? Like, if your idea of fluent in Spanish entails watching Narcos without the subtitles, then, by all means, throw it on the res. Just don’t apply to any positions that specify bilingual as a requirement. That’s a bigger let down than a Starbucks in a Target. No one wants a caramel macchiato from the place that sells tube-socks in bulk. Know your audience.

Race and name may influence some outcomes, but with all these ancestry tests who even knows what’s real. I’m surprised they don’t require you to attach your results to the common-app. Had there been a 23andMe kit back then, I would’ve checked off way more race/ethnicity boxes and really expanded my horizons. White girl from Connecticut just never had that “wow” factor. Luckily, my grandma forbids this testing because “why would we just hand our DNA over to the government?” Once again, I do not know what secret opps she’s running out of Boca Raton, Florida, but I continue to respect the hustle.

It’s no secret that everyone exaggerates a little to get a foot in the door. Just look at Paris Hilton. She managed to convince the whole island of Ibiza that she was a DJ, when really, she had spent the past ten years blacking out at Ultra Musical Festival and occasionally dancing near one of the Chainsmokers. All you can do is work hard to surpass the lies that are your resume. Get that job you are completely unqualified for, then become so great that you don’t need a last name, like Dunkin’ Donuts. Did they really change their name to just Dunkin’? Who do they think they are? Cher?

Hopefully, this helps you land your dream job. Takeaways from this post: always lie just enough to get inside, subtle brag that Jamie Lee Curtis is my fourth cousin, don’t rely on DNA testing. Anything is possible. I’ve received opportunities way out of my league, and I thought Big Pharma was the name of a rapper. Tragic.

 

Your Smartphone is a Narc

By: Ali Benz

I’ve never used a dating app before. It’s not that I’m against it, it’s just that my sister was cat-fished by a man with adult braces and I’m traumatized. The digital age is creepy.

After losing my phone in the Brooklyn Mirage, a place to go to when you want to leave Manhattan just to see a bunch of people from Manhattan, I realized just how useless people are sans mobile. You can’t split an Uber, postmate a churro, text your mom that you’re alive, pretend to venmo someone, cat-fish my siblings, nothing!

But, don’t be mistaken. These apps are not your friends. They are narcs and Snapchat is Public Enemy No. 1. Sure, you can try to sneak around with that guy you swore you were over, but Snapchat will literally expose you on a map—because this app was clearly built on the premise of love and trust and their mission statement definitely wasn’t “Send Nudes.” Right. You can say it’s a glitch, but your Bitmojis are literally laying together half-naked on a towel. Evan Spiegel is a savage.

Location services are sketchy AF. I don’t get why my ‘Spanish Word of the Day’ app needs to be stalking me 24/7, but, also, I don’t know why I have a ‘Spanish Word of the Day’ app. I do, however, understand how tracking is necessary for ride-share services. How else would I send my broke ex home in an Uber pool? Tragic.

The only downloads I want on my phone are my Starbucks app, since it’s linked to my dad’s credit card, and my UV app, so I don’t waste time outside if the rays are weak AF. I might just follow in my grandma’s footsteps and revive the old LG flip. I don’t know what kind of secret operations she’s running out of Boca Raton, Florida, but as long as I keep getting eighty dollars cash in a singing card on my birthday, we’re good.