In the age of social media, when cell phones come with camera lenses optimized for selfies, that last question gets asked regularly. So I am going to answer it, once and for all: No. There is no such thing as TMI on the Internet. We are living in a post-TMI age, and everyone needs to deal with it. Preferably by using the ‘unfollow’ button.
—  New York Magazine’s Maureen O'Connor, on the virtues of the unfollow button, a button that you should probably use if you’re Bill Keller or are married to Bill Keller.

Maureen O'Connor has the exactly right tone in this piece about exes in a social world.

Maureen O'Connor, All My Exes Live in Texts: Why the Social Media Generation Never Really Breaks Up

There was a time, I am told, when exes lived in Texas and you could avoid them by moving to Tennessee. Cutting ties is no longer so easy—nor, I guess, do we really want it to be. We gorge ourselves on information about the lives of our exes. We can’t help ourselves. There’s the ex who “likes” everything you post. The ex who appears in automated birthday reminders. The ex who appears in your OkCupid matches. The ex whose musical taste you heed on Spotify. The ex whose new girlfriend sent a friend request. The ex you follow so you know how to win him back. The ex you follow so you know how to avoid her in person. The ex you watched deteriorate after the breakup. (Are you guilty or proud?) The ex who finally took your advice, after the breakup. (Are you frustrated or proud?) The ex whose new partner is exactly like you. (Are you flattered or creeped out?) The ex whose name appears as an autocorrection in your phone. (Are you sure you don’t talk about him incessantly? Word recognition suggests otherwise.) The ex whose new partner blogs about their sex life. The ex who still has your naked pictures. The ex who untagged every picture from your relationship. The ex you suspect is reading your e-mail. The ex you watch lead the life you’d dreamed of having together, but seeing it now, you’re so glad you didn’t. 

The way this book came about was very strange. I stumbled on a book in a used bookstore called “Creating Beauty To Cure The Soul.” And it’s a history of the origins of plastic surgery in the West. And it came to me just while I was leafing through the book. What if there was a procedure that went way beyond these sorts of relatively small modifications and was a kind of racial reassignment surgery like gender reassignment surgery where a person, believing that they were of a different race inside, could be completely transformed?
—  Contributor Jess Row interviewed by NPR on his new book, Your Face In Mine. Pair with Maureen O'Connor’s essay on ethnic plastic surgery in New York Magazine for a nonfiction take.
In the spirit of sisterly sharing, I have given pot brownies to everyone who’s asked for them. Around midnight, I am informed that half of those girls are curled up in the fetal position, crying. I report to the triage room, where I stroke a woman’s hair while trying to hide how excited I am to eat my brownie, now that I know it is strong enough to make grown women cry. This is also a good way to evaluate men, if you’re into sexy bad boys.
—  I can’t tell you if this is the very best thing Maureen has ever written, but I can almost virtually guarantee you it’s among the funniest things you will read all summer.

From Maureen O'Connor @ Gawker:

Kicking off her presidential campaign in Waterloo, Iowa, Michele Bachmann explained the geographic significance to Fox News: “Well what I want them to know is just like, John Wayne was from Waterloo, Iowa. That’s the kind of spirit that I have, too.”

This is problematic, the Washington Times explains, because “beloved movie star” John Wayne is not from Bachmann’s hometown of Waterloo. John Wayne Gacy, the “killer clown” who raped and murdered 33 teenage boys in the ‘70s, is from Waterloo. Beloved movie star John Wayne is from Winterset, Iowa.

Oh, and the headline is:

Bachmann Compares Self To Gay Rapist Clown Serial Killer

Double oops.

Links from Around the Webz

(Image via Straight White Boys Texting, Compiled by Alexandra Dao for LadyBits)

For every tech guy struggling to find love in San Francisco, there is one struggling harder to find novel ways to spend his money. The funds necessary to fly 16 girls cross-country so they can sleep four to a room is nothing compared to the sums that disappear when hotly anticipated start-ups go bust. Here, money is weightless. Social connections, on the other hand, are commodified: Fist bumps are mandated, “friends” are declared, and Dating Ring members provide feedback after every date to help laser-focus the next. The company’s algorithm may one day know your desires better, even, than you do. That technology has allowed us to so thoroughly interrogate, define, and perhaps redefine our feelings is simultaneously exhilarating and exhausting — much like spending a weekend with strangers in a new time zone.
Why the Social Media Generation Never Really Breaks Up

…Alarmists fret that casual sex discourages intimacy. But in my experience, the opposite is true. When you share your bed, your toothbrush, your sexual hang-ups, and the topography of the ­cellulite on your butt with a stranger, the intimacy is real. It just happened before familiarity did. You are privy to information his family and friends are not; you know what he sounds like when he orgasms and when he snores. You may never see this person again, but he will always be your ex.

…There was also a time, I am told, when staying in touch was difficult. Exes were characters from a foreclosed past, symbols from former and forgone lives. Now they are part of the permanent present. I was a college freshman when Facebook launched. All my exes live online, and so do their exes, and so do their exes, too. I carry the population of a metaphorical Texas in a cell phone on my person at all times. Etiquette can’t keep up with us—not that we would honor it anyway—so ex relationships run on lust and impulse and nosiness and envy alternating with fantasy. It’s a dozen soap operas playing at the same time on a dozen different screens, and you are the star of them all. It’s both as thrilling and as sickening as it sounds.

…I realized this was, probably, my platonic ideal for ex relationships: a little amusement, some catching up, and a small reminder that, yes, my personal history did happen. But then it ended and we both moved on. Sort of.

Maureen O'Connor

There was a time, I am told, when exes lived in Texas and you could avoid them by moving to Tennessee. Cutting ties is no longer so easy—nor, I guess, do we really want it to be. We gorge ourselves on information about the lives of our exes. We can’t help ourselves.

Maureen O'Connor, All My Exes Live in Texts: Why The Social Media Generation Never Really Breaks Up

Recently there have been a slew of articles that have perfectly articulated how I feel about relationships in this day age. It’s comforting to know that I’m not the only one feeling this way. 

Fox fur and feathers are the new vajazzling! Quick, to the waxer!

Some winter-appropriate underwear. Such a bargain!

Hey “ladies”! Cancel your body-modification plans; we know exactly what you should be doing with your physical self. Get this: What you 100 percent want to do with your body is remove its hair, exposing your genitals to the winter cold, and partially re-cover your nudity with either neon-dyed fox fur or feathers. Enticing, right?

Yes! It is what you want to do! Cindy Barshop, the lady who claims to have invented vajazzling, says so, and she is the world’s foremost expert on sexual decoration.“All the colored furs are in now,” Barshop tells Fashionista, “and Carnivale’s coming with the feathers” so obviously you need to put these items on your naked skin that would otherwise be covered with underpants. Peta, in a moment of sanity, is quoted as calling the furkin (tm Maureen O'Connor) “outright sleazy, and it’s downright cruel to kill an animal to decorate your privates.”

It’s nice when vegans of all stripes can agree on such a nasty little pimple of an issue. You are the worst, Cindy Barshop. Please knock it off.

[image by genibee via Flickr]