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I’m ashamed to admit this, but I’ve been loving trashy reality TV lately. I’m not just talking the Real Housewives incarnations or Keeping Up with the Kardashians, which are the usual suspects when someone mentions trashy reality TV. I’ve watched, enthralled, such social studies as Dating in the Dark, and glimpsed Long Island Jewish culture with Princesses: Long Island. Especially winding up the last few weeks of the semester and powering through final assignments and exams, it’s great to kick back and be mindless. I’d love to be someone who can hop from class, to homework, to work, and then pick up a book for fun, but I need my nights of drinking sangria and being gripped by petty dramas. There’s no better outlet for this than Dating in the Dark.
I wouldn’t consider myself to be antisocial—I like talking, hanging out, and drinking with my friends—but I can’t stand small talk. Small talk is a necessary side effect of having acquaintances with whom you have very little in common. Feigning excitement and interest in someone’s life or trying to think of my own interesting life tidbits is exhausting. More often than not, I just duck my head down and pretend I’m under a cloak of invisibility when I spy an acquaintance fast approaching. Sometimes this works, sometimes my signals aren’t strong enough and I end up trapped in a grueling two minute conversation that feels stretched out by awkward silences. There’s too much importance placed on being enthusiastic and gregarious, even with people whose lives you aren’t enthusiastically interested in. Honestly, I’d rather save my energy to have meaningful conversations with people I care about, rather than grasping at pathetic morsels of news to hand my acquaintances. I can be friendly, smile, nod a cursory hello. I’m just not interested in superficial conversation.
I’ve only gotten one piercing in my life, apart from the standard lobe hole. My ear’s cartilage piercing is my pride and joy, allowing me to feel like a tough cookie—despite the fact that I’m anything but. Gradually, the list of things I want to get pierced has grown, though I’ve yet to take the plunge, and I’ve become enamoured by the look of ears and faces full of metal. A tragus adorned with a little hoop, a nose sporting a ring, or a concha spiral interrupted by a bar: they’re little touches that give a face and body character. I won’t be heading into extreme piercing anytime soon—I haven’t even gotten my tragus pierced yet, although it’s been on my list for years—but those expressions of personality, rebellion, and toughness appeal to me in a way that the impermanency of clothing and hair changes no longer do.