February: What I'm Reading This Month
America is really bad at celebrating Black History Month this year: Someone let JLO perform the Motown tribute at the Grammys. Adidas debuted an all-white shoe in honor of this month (and then immediately pulled it from the shelves). Rapper 21 Savage is in ICE detention as we speak. Literally every Virginian elected official is wearing blackface as we speak. Liam Neeson decided now was a good time to admit he tried to kill black men.
Has anyone tried unplugging February and plugging it back in?
We cannot pass this month by without acknowledging and appreciating all the glorious contributions black communities have made to this country — despite experiencing outrageous, socially-imposed, racist disadvantages created by white communities for centuries. Read this woman’s account of her father’s advice on being black in America. And then donate to any of these organizations in honor of Black History Month.
Now for our monthly scheduled programming:
Dear Abby: After 30 years of writing an advice column, one woman looks back at the worries that plagued our minds for decades. What have we learned? That human problems transcend time, geography and — only sometimes — gender. If you only click one link on this page, let it be this one.
Just days before winning her first Grammy, rapper Cardi B graced the cover of Harper’s Bazaar, which resulted in some jaw-dropping photos. You don’t want to miss this.
Have you made #TheCookies yet? Here’s how one food blogger’s recipe for sea salt chocolate chip shortbread cookies went viral. Bonus: #TheStew.
Do you ever look back at your college days and think, “ah, those were the good times.” Well, that makes right now the “bad times.” When did shit hit the fan, exactly? Personally, I think it was that month in 2015 where clowns kept luring kids into the woods.
Here’s why tax season is going to suck extra this year. It’s one more reason I’m tempted to select “Halah is dead and I’m filing these taxes for her,” because that’s clearly the most important step in faking my own death when I inevitably disappear to some exotic foreign country. You’re just mad you didn’t think of it first.
I’d like to petition The Nine Circles of Social Awkwardness Hell for a Tenth Circle: the walk to the bathroom at work. Everyone shits, that’s not the weird part. It’s just when you’re walking in and your colleague is walking out. You’re too close to ignore each other, but there’s not enough time for a full conversation. So you both say ‘what’s up?’ and neither of you answer.
Don’t be a jerk. But do develop a healthy sense of self esteem. Here’s some instructions to get you started.
Most of us operate as if we live in a time famine. But what happens when we’re struck with unscheduled, unexpected free time? “Suddenly it’s 10 pm, you’ve eaten cold beans for dinner and wasted three hours flipping between Instagram and mindless terrestrial television.” Here’s how to cope with free-time paralysis.
Broad City: I’m devastated to report this show is airing its last season. My favorite quote about BFFs Abby and Ilana, who gave us the normal, weirdo female personas we craved: “These characters are a welcome break from female characters elsewhere in movies and on TV who don't meet the traditional standards of "hot" and "cool," and are instead sad and, like, sitting at home on a Friday night eating cheese in a Notorious RBG T-shirt.”
Sex Education: Raunchy, hilarious, and occasionally inducing a full-body cringe, this Netflix Original Series explores the coming-of-age woes of a Otis Milburn, whose entire high school finds out his mom is a sex therapist. Beautifully complex characters and jaw-dropping scenery.
Episode 4 of ABC’s The Bachelor: (CW) Contestant Caelynn bravely shares her sexual assault history with Colton, who responds in one of the most mature, compassionate ways I’ve ever seen portrayed on reality television. This episode is graphic, and should have been prefaced with a content warning. A reminder that this dating show has been airing for 23 seasons, and this is the first time sexual assault has been discussed openly.
Ariana Grande’s full album release: thank u, next
J. Cole’s single, MIDDLE CHILD
Dear Sugars Podcast from NPR, Emotional Labor: The Invisible Work (Most) Women Do
For your cheese board:
A complete guide of the best affordable cheeses at Trader Joe’s, ranked.
Aldi is naming all its cheeses after 80s pop hits. Oh, sweet cheddar of mine.
I’m not getting married unless my wedding cake is just tiers of cheese wheels.
The dark side of true love: Do you believe in soulmates? Or is effort more important than compatibility? Researchers at Aurora University developed two algorithms to help you figure it out. Spoiler alert: It’s complicated.
Tiny Modern Love Stories: In 100 words or less, the cutest love stories that encapsulate what brings us together on this sweet holiday.
Name a zoo cockroach after your ex for $2. Who said love don’t cost a thing?
How to Reject an Online Suitor. You know, that Moroccan guy in your DMs who keeps offering 50 camels and a goat for your eternal affection.
How to communicate with someone whose love language is ‘words of affirmation.’ This is basically a guide for how to love people like me.
Send a Valentine to a kid at St. Jude’s. It’s free. Need I say more?
How Tinder Works, Maybe. Algorithms can pair us together based on our online behavior, but can they ship us for the long term? Researchers suggest that love starts where the apps stop: the strongest predictors of a relationship aren’t equations, but rather the invariable chaos of life. “It bends us all in strange ways! Hopefully toward each other.” Cute!