toast & tea: on fame and friendship
“Time for you and time for me,
And time yet for a hundred indecisions,
And for a hundred visions and revisions,
Before the taking of a toast and tea.”
- T. S. Eliot
HOW DO I BECOME A SUCCESSFUL INSTAGRAM STAR?
Dear Instant Fame,
You’ve come to the right place. I recently hit the 300 followers mark, so I’m pretty much an expert on procuring the type of fame that comes from documenting nonstop lattes, bohemian travel, fancy architecture, and weird looking dogs. I’m even willing to share my deepest and most secret tricks to help get you to the top. I’m a philanthropist.
First thing’s first: you need a throughline. A style of photo that when someone sees it, whizzing by their quick little thumbs, they’ll say: “Oh, that’s a star.” Like a signature or child born after the year 2000, it must be both incredibly unique and ready to ride a thin line. Maybe your look is super vibrant. Or bright and airy. Maybe just green. Or creepy pics. Desaturated pics. Geeky or cool or geeky cool. Tall, short, all feet, city chic, farms, old telephones, whatever. Point being, if you want to be a star you have to put yourself in a tiny box and mail it off to the world. Those with labels get the sponsorship deal-bles. Shrink your creativity until it’s universal. Hashtag conform! Hashtag blessed! Hashtag up! Hashtag WOW!!!!!
Or you could forget all that and just do your own thing and take pictures you like and maybe some other people will like them too and you’ll be pleasantly surprised, and wouldn’t that be nicer? Just be you, boo.
(All things considered, please bring me to the top if you make it. Being consistent, or having scruples, is not my forte).
Yours to influence,
LONG-DISTANCE BEST FRIENDS: HOW DO I MAINTAIN RELATIONSHIPS WHILE APART?
Dear Make New Friends But Keep The Old,
What a pertinent question, as I too am leaving all my friends and lovers behind to move to the opposite end of the universe! Here’s the deal: distance makes the heart grow fonder. And in the digital age, transnational friendships have never been easier.
Two of my longest and most meaningful friendships have been long distance - one of them lives across the sea in the merry old land of crumpets and Hobbits! What I’ve learned from these relationships is that, if the bond is strong enough, you have nothing to worry about. Every time I’m with these girls, we pick up right where we left off. We have so much more to talk about! Annoyance and petty fighting due to overexposure are never issues because we’ve learned to make the most of our time together.
While I have a very independent style of friendship and don’t often worry about whether or not I can spend every waking moment with the ones that I love, anyone can handle long distance and grow from the experience if she puts her mind to it. Two tidbits to remember:
Be intentional - set calendar reminders to check up on each other once a week or month, whatever works best for you. But also don't obsess - if you’re moving to a new place, you both need to seek out and foster new friendships. Spending all your time wishing you were back in an old place with your old friends will make you unnecessarily miserable. Being a mopey idiot is a waste of time. And jealousy is best left in the playground days of yore because there’s always room for your fuzzy little friendship circle to expand.
I believe that the heart does go on,
WHAT IS THE BEST PET TO GET IF I'M BORED AND LONELY IN A NEW CITY?
Dear Lonely Pets Club Brand,
As someone who recently moved to a big city, I too have felt the grip of solitude against my heartstrings. It plucks with nails overgrown, sharp like an offense, tearing at my singleness, my empty apartment, my commute, my - and then, as if from a reality where wish fulfillment is real, a fresh pup passes inches away. I gawk, I squeal, I, and maybe you too, think “there’s my shield!” There’s my hope! My [insert need for unconditional love + noun here].
It’s an adorable solution, a pet. Getting accustomed to a new home is hard. We want to find ways to ease that. And involving furry cuddles feels right. I get that too. And I’ve felt it. Yet.
You should not seek out taking care of a pet out of boredom or a need to fill the void. You have to find ways to take care of that for yourself. Then when you’re ready, emotionally and financially, you can reaccess. Talk to friends with pets. See if your apartment allows them. Visit a shelter. Foster a pet and see if it’s right for you now, in this moment of your life, to care for another. Don’t underestimate what it takes to have a pet. And don’t underestimate your ability to solve your boredom and loneliness in a way that’s more internal. I suggest reading. Or going outside your apartment. Maybe even at the same time. Find another person’s pet to enjoy. Make a pet-date. You take it from here.
That said, here are some pet-alternatives that may cure the time between dog park visits and loitering outside the local vet.
Plants! They brighten up your living space, don’t miss you when you’re gone (that we know of), and there’s way less guilt if they shrivel up and turn to dust.
A microwave! Compact. Feeds *YOU* dinner. No one tries to pet it.
A wall of mirrors! (if you can handle all that self reflection)
Half-full cups of water placed around the room!
Hoping you find a cuddly appliance,
MY HAIR HAS BEEN STUCK IN THE SAME RUT SINCE 2008: SAVE ME FROM MYSELF!!
Dear Timid Tresses,
Based on the fact that you haven’t changed your hair in 8 YEARS, I’m assuming you’re not a risk-taker in this department. Isn’t it a little weird that you’ve looked the same since middle school? I’m going to ask you to become an adult and go out on a limb here. Save some pictures of haircuts you really love - create a folder on your phone or a Pinterest board or pin some good old-fashioned magazine clippings on a real live cork board. If you need to, take a week to dwell on your options, but no longer. Pick a style that you’ve always loved but you’ve never had the guts to try. And then just go for it - chop it all off, dye it green - go craaazy!
The good news about hair is that - news flash - it grows back!!! It seems like a huge leap to change your everyday physical appearance, but the only way to learn what you like is to try new things. This experiment is a guaranteed success because either: You will love it and wish you had jumped into this appearance-altering rowboat sooner or you will immediately regret everything and want to abandon ship.
If option 2 happens to you, here’s the good news: you will come to appreciate your same-ole same-ole haircut. OR you will think of a different new ’do to try that might suit your liking and face shape better. AND you can take the few months it takes to grow back to focus on your inner self instead of your outward appearance. We live in an age so obsessed with images, it can be hard to just focus on your brain and your soul and all those other non-profile-picture-related things. Read a book, why dontcha!
Long story short: CUT YOUR DAMN HAIR ALREADY! And invest in some Nature’s Bounty Hair, Skin, and Nails gummies (strawberry-flavored) because 1. They’re delicious and 2. They work wonders for growing out bad haircuts, ragged nails, and making your skin look like a baby’s butt.
Your Mane Gal,