Girl World—by which I mean the figurative realm belonging to women, and the literal, gross, overstuffed, multicolored-textured-layered habitat that most chicks live in—is characterized by its things, its central symbols. If you don’t believe me please peruse the various blergs that document a girl’s apartment and offer retarded opportunities to backdoor-brag about the stuff that they have, which always has to have an adorable accompanying fable like “I was backstage at the Bullshit x Other Bullshit show and the makeup artist who is a dear friend just took off his boots and threw them at me; they’re Chanel and I use them as a dandelion vase.” You know? What a cool phenomenon we have come up with for ourselves, lambies! Well done! Back pats!
Did you know that having piles and piles and piles of garbage, expensive or otherwise, in your house and bag and pockets is a way to keep you slavish and broke and boring? And yet: The stuff you have is also the second-most available way to express your girl-self, after your body, which is the only thing you really own.
FILTHY SCRAPS OF PAPER
Dream-memories, to-dos, little poetries, horoscopes, a phrase you think you made up (you didn’t; trust), old tickets, a book title, and etc. live on little ripped-out and ripped-off pieces of paper that collect like snowdrifts around girl houses. I dunno why, but guys seem more efficient with their paper-things than girls. Is their handwriting smaller or something? Are we just getting into sexual eugenics with this? Yikesers.
MARC BY MARC JACOBS
Trinkety garbage such as compact mirrors, necklace thingys, keychains, tote bags, whatever other detritus, spills out of the store in the West Village and lands in the possession of all girls at some point. Why this? Because for girls from the provinces (Toronto, as a for-instance) an M by MJ item semi-indicates enough self-possession to have made it, at some point, to the West Village; to have a vague sense of designer half-cachet; to have six dollars to spend on what amounts to tourist merchandise. Corny? You betcha. This is the new-world version of the reused Bloomingdales bag, I guess. (See: the 80s.) I give M by MJ heart-shaped mirrors to my tiny nieces so that in a year or two they’ll love them and know that I am their adult lord and savior.
Reflexively putting on lip gloss after lip balm after lipstick after after after after is my primary activity every day, and as a result I have pots and sticks and tubes and whatever whatever whatever littered—actually littered—around my house, and at my desk at work, which is such a testament to everything wrong with me that I can’t even talk about it. (I barely go to the office and currently there are five half-full cups of festering ice cold coffee-water-Coke on my desk.) I think I put on lip gloss the way other people smoke cigarettes or drink beer, because when I do those other things I will forget about them midway through and reach for a lip gloss instead as my “Hmm, what next” thing to do.
THAT ONE GROSS SECRET THING
Mine are an ex-ex-ex-boyfriend’s faded navy, ripped-elastic boxer-briefs. I don’t so much wear them as just have them. They’re really soft, and he was really nice, and had the biggest testicles I’ve ever seen, and could come eight times in a day, no big deal. What’s yours?
You don’t have this in your fridge already? Get on it, slore! Not only is it the perfect, subtlest, cheapest, zero-calorie-est drink, it is beautiful and decoration. Just line a few of them up in your kitchen and it’s just like, oh, my life improved.
Definitely you have some stuff from there that doesn’t close right or that is still not opened and leaning up against your wall where the “shelf” will go or that is too hideous to cast your angel-eyes upon, but maybe this is too boring to even get into. IKEA: A PLAGUE ON OUR NATION, basically. May I suggest a cardboard box for your things instead?
Oh, actually? Not to be a prescriptive ass-jerk about it, but the least you can do for yourself and the people who will end up sleeping in your cunt-slimes is to get some really soft, lovely, white sheets. Why white? I don’t know, shut the fuck up. (My friend and former roommate, who is a punk-proper and who I once watched lick homemade beer off our filthy kitchen floor, told me to buy the white frilly bedsheets because “you can bleach the period off them,” so.) One of the few physical pleasures that doesn’t have to do with using your actual body so much is crawling into fresh sheets.
Clips and pins like ants; elastics like spiders, the black-and-brown insidiously creeping up between the floorboards and appearing out of nowhere on surfaces and in corners. Hair stuff on its own has a really negative sensory quality, doesn’t it? Think about wigs.
Let’s not bust a nut on this before I do Girls and Drugs, but girls have pills in a way that guys don’t have pills (pills are extremely more “girl” than “boy”). While hiding your pot somewhere cool is a gender-neutral dealie, having a sexy secret place for your stolen Valiums is just, like, the hottest girl hotness, more than titties under something see-through and ripped. Just, YES. I love pills, btw.
Do you have Tavi-level decoration madness happening in your room? UGH, but also, yeah, of course you do. Such is your birthright. I’m definitely Tavi-posi—that girl rules, in her special internet way—but when I look at the pictures she posts of the thrift-store shit that she’s stacked up around her room (and as if I have an opinion about some teenage girl’s room, right? So pedo), I get full-body dust-chills, which is like a douche-chill but imparted by the dusty-moldy-smelly purchasing mistakes made by a dead person showing up as complicated irony in a living person’s house. In a teenager’s house! Sick!
All I wanted as a teen in deepest suburbanality was bright white modernism. For Calvin Klein to strip away the floral-themed duvet cover-dust-ruffle-window treatment-teddy bear leitmotif (yeah, “window treatment”) and leave behind a slick, black-on-white Bret Easton Ellis pre-murder-scene/Girl, Interrupted hospital aesthetic. So I guess when you start with not enough, you just want to fill your area (ha, “area”) with things and ideas and influences and toys and angles and weirdnesses, but when you start with a heavy, dark cloud of what your life and mind is supposed to be like, it’s all, nope.
When you have a lot inside your head it’s better not to have a lot in your room, is I guess what I’m saying. Which is why on my desk right now there is a globe, a box of pens, and a cylinder of Pickup Sticks for when writing about all of this stuff gives me retrospective anxiety.
Definitely have some Pickup Sticks on your desk. Fuck the internet.
WEIRD-CASE SCENARIO LINGERIE
Not included in What Girls Like To Wear because we don’t like to wear it. Girls keep a few little numbers in their homes that are less for the wearing and more for the looking at, or maybe for the wearing but only in their private confines. Like, surely you guys have “inside shoes” which are the ones that you can wear to do sex but they haven’t touched the poo-ground outside. This also extends to the thing of lingerie you have that is too outré for regular boys and regular sex, but lives there, in your drawer, for when your sex behavior begins to resemble The Story of O or an Italian fashion ad or a porn bus, or whatever your fantasy happens to be.
Everybody has dresses and sunglasses and shoes that are too ugly to wear but look cool and so function as Stuff rather than Clothes, but all of that is less fraught.
It’s good to have a few, like, bowl-shaped things to hold your makeups and rings and matchbooks and Superballs and condoms (just kidding: Condoms go in your drawer, obviously, because a small edge of shame about your sluttery makes using boring, NECESSARY condoms much, much, much more sex-hot). I have some bowls that I paid like ten dollars for at Anthropologie (REAL TALK) and some emptied-out candles and some teacups and one plastic miniature baseball hat whose first life was as a cup for soft-serve that I got at the Blue Jays game and which now holds all of my mascaras.
STACK OF MAGAZINES
Throw those out. They’re not going to come to life.
Follow Kate on Twitter @KateCarraway