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.

Your Diet Starts Here

By: Ali Benz

As Memorial Day Weekend approaches, many of us are scrambling to get in shape to drown ourselves in rosé in the Hamptons. I even considered observing Ramadan to lose weight, but I realized that was kind of ridiculous. It’s brilliant that they schedule the fast right before the first beach weekend of the year, but starving yourself is not the move. I stan a spiritual fast, but if you don’t even have the religious involvement or clothing, it’s not for you. Ramadan, but make it fashion.

You’re crazy if you think there’s such a thing as the perfect body. Seriously, like not even Kendall Jenner. I remember last year when she got shamed for having strange-length toes. Weird flex, but ok. Aside from imperfect feet, no one seems to ever be content with their weight. I always thought it was super annoying when boys would complain that they were too skinny.  Are you kidding me? The last time I complained about being too thin was in 6th grade when I couldn’t fill out a jean skirt from Abercrombie & Fitch.

Men are insecure about being too small while women fear being large and in charge. Can’t we just meet somewhere in the middle? Not to bring up the Kardashians again, but I’ve always admired their commitment to strength and fitness. These women work out like crazy and take pride in their thicc, muscular bodies. I find it super empowering. That’s how Kim landed her role in Paris Hilton’s music video for her new single “Best Friend’s Ass”. Obviously a very powerful, thought-provoking jam that you’ll be showing your grandkids. With lyrics like, “F*ckboys everywhere tryna get a pass / but I can’t stop staring at my best friend’s ass”, you know you’ll be hearing it at mainstage at your nearest music festival as you get knocked around in GA by girls shuffling in nipple-tassels and that one guy who consistently brings a glow-in-the-dark hula-hoop and asks if you want a light show. Tragic.

Speaking of music festivals, I am taking a hiatus (don’t quote me on this). I used to say if you want to lose a few pounds just go to EDC Las Vegas or something. Between sweating all night and walking around looking for your car for three hours in the desert, you’ll be shedding pounds in no time. I know it sounds luxurious, but this is also not a healthy weight-loss method. That’s like Ramadan but on molly and with no spiritual awakening—unless you’re that forty-year-old in the crowd that keeps tripping on acid and claiming he’s talked to God.

I will also be taking a break from these events because last night my friend said she was going to Alcatraz and I asked her who would be DJing. It’s a prison. Not a music festival. Everybody was disappointed that day. If you are worthier than me and attending an actual festy, I understand you might want to diet and look your best in the crowd—or in your pics taken in the crowd, I should say. Especially now, seeing as how Tinder has decided to make a “Festival Mode” because that’s exactly what we all needed after the Herpes outbreak at Coachella. Thanks, Match Group! I just googled who owns Tinder and it said Match Group if you didn’t get the reference either.

If you will be using Tinder Festival Mode, there are other ways to get fit for your future #RaveBae. Starvation and deprivation are so 1900’s. Both men and women should focus on eating a healthy diet and exercising in a way that is best for them. If you have a beer or five at a Yankee’s game it’s not the end of the world. Enjoy yourself and focus on being the best version of you. Women: don’t be afraid to go hard in the gym and lift weights—muscles are beautiful on every gender. Men: stop complaining about being too skinny because it’s f*cking obnoxious. Just roll with it and know that the entire female community is envious of your situation. If everyone would stop judging each other and their body types, the world would be a better place.

Who cares what it says on the scale. The number doesn’t matter, I’m pretty sure it’s random anyway. Super dramatic that my doctor must weigh me literally every time I see her. Get over it it’s like you’re obsessed with me or something. Then I always have to minus like ten pounds for my shoes and everything in my pockets like that one piece of gum and my hair tie. Forget about the number and hone in on how you feel. Treat yourself, and wear that bikini that your mom said was too smol. Just not to a work event.