Girl News

Girls and Boredom

By Kate Carraway

I’m writing this soooo fast because I was told that it’s better to get stuff on the internerd while you—yes you!—are still at your job this afternoon, instead of when you are at home after your job cracking beers and thinking about upcoming sexual deviancies instead of reading my Girl News delights. (PS, y’alls are turncoats with candy-based information-metabolism and I hate you, but that’s another matter.) Basically that means that instead of spending the morning kitty-cat curled under my desk gnawing on frozen, fun-sized Halloween candy (Coffee Crisp, today) and thinking only of the abyss, I have to sit up straight, here, and do my job, so that you won’t be as bored at yours.

This is all very convenient because today’s Girl News is about the crucial matter of BOREDOM, so, get into it.

HARD TRUTH

“My dad told me only boring people get bored.”

BEDROOMS

Did you read Caitlin Flanagan’s book Girl Land? No, you didn’t, because it’s my job to interact with the adult world/intelligentsia/cognoscenti/Barnes & Noble and get back to you about it like a loser Indiana Jones? Cool, cool. (The Kate Wiki version of Caitlin Flanagan is that she’s a secretly Camille Paglia-esque feminist, of the libertarian variety, like, “Rape isn’t precisely your faaaaault, but what were you doing in a boy’s room eating a bunch of pills in your bikini bottoms?” Both Caitlin Flanagan and Camille Paglia are “You in danger, girl” feminists.)

Girl Land is a lot of bullshit about how having your period for the first time is ultra traumatic. (Is it? I didn’t even tell my mom; it’s not like a demon corpse slid out, just some lil’ bloods), and how a dad’s job is to scare away teenage boys (again, is it? Mine was a “Hit them back, but harder” feminist.) BUT Girl Land is also a lot about how a teenage girl’s bedroom is her safe, perfect, womby coven (YES! Flanagan didn’t say “coven,” though, that’s more from the Kate Wiki), and how it’s necessary and important for girls to spend a lot of time alone in their rooms (YES!), just dreaming and thinking and writing things down and being separate from the infinite sociocultural pressures that uncoil loosely and constantly, like colored ribbons (YES!), away from, especially, the internet (YES! Aside from some minor retardations, this book confirms a lot of what I want to whisper to my pre-adolescent nee-nees, but since my job is instead to buy them sparkled fashions and not swear, I’ll just agree). So, girl bedrooms ideally function as a Green Zone for the quiet repetition of feeling and thinking, of processing.

Technically, this is boring, especially when you put it up against what boys have going on in their bedrooms: micro-adventures had by leagues of plastic army men; months-long games of Risk, all that filth. But there is, of course, a way of doing nothing much at all that still contains multitudes, that might be “boring” and on the sad continuum of girls having less fun than boys, but is still being away, where everything actually happens to you.

“NBB”

There is a Judy Blume book—not very important within the Judy Blume canon but it is, after all, a Judy Blume book—called Summer Sisters. It’s very bad, about the Hamptons (I think?) and a less-rich person interacting with a cosmos of rich people and rich people things. (Related: You watch Revenge, right? OK, why are they still in the Hamptons in winter? Is there a post-rich scene that is about, like, artificial austerity measures that keeps the super-rich away from the painful inelegancies of the lower three-quarters of the 1 percent? One wonders.) So the girls in Summer Sisters have a catchphrase of “NBB” for Never Be Boring (Never Be Boring! Haaaaa), which is the Judy Blume version of people who are on Instagram with their sweaty beverages and sidewalk shenanigans like way, way too much, right? When you’re being explicit about how unboring you are, you’re doing the opposite. RIGHT?

Really, everything eventually comes back to the inherent value of not using the internet.

BORECORE

I saw “borecore” in my feminist Tumblr readings (fmnst Tumblr rdngs) and like it so much better this way than about music or whatever. I never really got into “borecore” the same way I got too into “hugecore,” which I ripped off my friend Adrian after he made the mistake of saying it to me once many years ago in the context of, just, something being “a lot.” (Thanks Adrian!) (I got in on the ground floor of “foxcore” but never remember to use it, so it just sits in my account collecting interest.)

Anyway, I just read “borecore” in reference to “feminist boredom,” and I read about “feminist boredom” in reference to the value of being so over what’s happened to you, so deeply over talking about and processing what’s happened to your body, that you’re fucking bored. Which is true; I’m so feminist-bored of being raped that when my therapist jazz-hands her way over to it as a topic I’m all NAH, NEXT.

HOLLYWOOD

I spent winter holiday, of which my version is a months-long détente, in Los Angeles. It is the weirdest fucking place to be a human girl—Angelyne went to my dry cleaner! Nobody goes for coffee; they want to meet you for juice! Aaaaaaaaaa!—in that there is this incredible pressure to be extraordinarily thin and young, and the dominant culture is about various plastys and suctions, but the outfits fucking suck (everyone there dresses like I did in ninth grade, like, mall-rocker plus butterfly hair clips, and, like, platform sneakers), and every man hits on every woman all the time, and it is still America, by which I mean Looney Tunes tattoos dilute the human canvas somewhat. It is weird, and majicky, and unboring. But within LA is Hollywood, which is the boringest place for girls, ever. (Related: something like 5 percent of directors are women, and a fun game is to ask a dude who is really into movies to name a few ladies who do it and they fucking cannot.) How you have to look in Hollywood is the mangled-but-utterly-plain twin of how you have to look in the rest of LA: still the most blonde and the most thin and the most young, but also facially and physically and sartorially identical to the other girls in Hollywood. Even if you are a black lady, you should definitely have the same features as Reece Witherspoon, who three years ago was the median/Platonic ideal of every Hollywood female (science). Scuzzy Hollywood is still scuzzy but you know what I mean when I say “Hollywood” like this, yeah?

ENTROPY COUCH

My friend was standing in my room and said, “You have an entropy couch.” Not unlike a junk drawer for the daily detritus of mail, headphones, sweaters, elastic bands, etc. etc. etc., an entropy couch is for everything that your energies cannot encompass in a particular moment. I’m submitting this concept for inclusion in the dictionary of the words we use to describe house and home and lifestyle and design because if you’re going to make me learn what “wainscoting” is you can start to call that chair in the hallway your “entropy chair” and just be fine with it. Extreme realness, or, as I say when I’m skydiving in a Sprite commercial, “Realness, to the extreeeeeme!”

FALLOW

Maybe this is too much like Girl Land for inclusion here but it really is a good idea to not do anything with anyone for any reason sometimes, and just bop around purposelessly and take every moment really seriously like “What do I think of the colorway in this advertisement? How does it speak to me?” This is what those Hollywood girls would do all the time if they weren’t very busy having their cheekbones massaged.

HAIR

Related: “How many hours a day do you spend grooming yourself?” is something that Paul Rudd says in Clueless that I think about a lot when I’m on deadline and doing crazy ballerina buns with Starbucks’ stoppers alllll daaaaay.

PERSONAL MANAGEMENT

I’m not having this “Girls are boring/Hot girls are boring/Why are girls boring/Why do guys date boring girls/Girls are boring so I only hang out with guys” because addressing any of it puts unnecessary, uninteresting fissures in the canon of girl culture. BUT I will acknowledge that the emphasis girls put on their personal comfort (temperature, especially) is very “sorry sorry sorry sorry” embarrassing. Girls will definitely wear open-toed sandals on New York sidewalks but then furiously Purell after touching a housecat; will pair a heavy-as-drugs boy-sweater with the briefest of shorts; will do a lace bra, loose t-shirt, and wool hat. We’re not, like, making much of a case with all this.

ADVENTURE

My opinion on “adventure” is that the majority of it is boring (have you ever “traveled”? Mostly it is sitting and then standing in a line with punctuation marks of jumping off of a cliff wearing unsanctioned safety gear). Most of the time, “adventure” is more boring than work. This is why in addition to on-paper adventure it is a very good idea and a privilege, if you can really make it happen, to have maximum fun in daily pockets, at your work or at family dinnertime (really! Offer to clean your Mom’s Lexus and see what she says) and in all of the dusky, dawny in-betweens.

SEX

There is this sexual underworld mostly populated by gay men and straights who are smart enough not to talk about it a lot where instead of socializing their way to a person who might fulfill their sexual needs they just find them on the internet and then fuck them and then go elsewhere to have their social needs met and obviously isn’t that better and smarter? Dating is in theory and concept SO BORING. That all said I couldn’t possibly because I’m still toddler-scared of HPV.

CRUISING

Actual boredom, now (as opposed to then, alone with a hairbrush in our Girl Lands) is so much more lit-up, yet so much duller. Boredom now, for me, is characterized by cruising between my iPhone and internets; Twitter refreshes and text-scroll-throughs, even though I hate texting so much. The little dopamine-scores, of attention and a new photo of, like, Rihanna on vacay, feel good when you get them but really just perpetuate the ultimate boringness that we’ve come to accept from a life dominated—yes it is, don’t argue—with refresh, refresh, refresh, refresh. You in danger, girl.

Previously - Girls and Being Smart

Follow Kate on Twitter @KateCarraway

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