Girl News

Girls and Holidays

By Kate Carraway

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Hi babies! Let’s talk VACAY, as I’m readying to go away for months and months (eat my shorts!) to Los Angeles, primarily to flee the wintry hellmouth that is Toronto between January 12 and summer. (January 11 is my birthday which you obviously knew already, so those few weeks after Christmas have an expectant patina of fallen tinsel and cupcake icing for me.) Also, I don’t care where you live: November is the second-worst month (February is the worst) in terms of having as little individual purpose and character as the boys you thought were cool in ninth grade, za-zing!

AIRPLANE RITUALS

i) Take your airplane pill when you board. If you undershoot, you’re going to be flying (ha, ha) in the departures lounge when your plane is delayed and will be turning the corner on your high when you actually need it.

ii) Drape a scarf over the seat so that your hair doesn’t have to touch where other people’s hair has touched. Grrrrrrrrross.

iii) Read something, like a book! or a magazine! because doing internet and phones and computers on the airplane is for cornballs with no imagination. (PS: “No imagination” is my current favorite insult. Cuts deep, and so, like, Alan-Alda-in-a-Woody-Allen-movie kind of dad-judgment.)

OUTFITS

OK so the new Sofia Coppola collab’d Resort line by Louis Vuitton is all theoretically rad for a beach break if you’re into mod dresses and rubber boots (???). Buuuut when you’re on holiday for more than a minute and you’re only bringing a backpack (“backpacking” is verboten as a phrase, please and thank you) you need clothes to work triple-time and the best move is a pair of men’s silk jammies, to go over your bathing suit, to wear one half of to a fluorescent disco dance party, to wrap around a straw-stuffed pillow to sleep on. A pair of men’s jammies, a tank top, flip-flops (unacceptable elsewhere), and a gris-gris stuffed with luckies from home is all you need to wear.

And, news: It doesn’t matter what you look like on vacation unless you’re a truly insufferable person. Visiting my parents in their hideous suburb I often find myself in a borrowed fur coat, the boot-slippers that dare not speak their name, and a nightie while driving thru a Starbucks. Which is insufferable in its own way, but at least it’s different. I feel like there is no point in leaving my town unless I don’t have to make the same set of functional fashion decisions every day.

When I spent four months in Guatemala to forget about a guy (guess how fast I slept with him when I got back? THREE WEEKS!) I wore the same thing all the time and no makeup and eventually started watching the “Upgrade U” video on repeat to get a tongue-tip of sparkles and dresses and lipstick.

Hm, what else. Oh, even very good/generic/self-conscious street style will no longer be your concern after you see how homebros dress in their own little town along the highway that you are exploiting for photographs of abandoned exurbs and old men with deep wrinkles and coffee shop signs that are different than your coffee shop signs. Also, if you’re actually on vacation you won’t be internetting, which means the temptation to document every identifiable instance of newness will disappear and you can enjoy something for the first time in a decade.

OTHER PEOPLE’S SCENES

Our generation’s monoculture is one of self-definition and therefore everything seems radically same-same all the time, BUT if you go to a backyard party in the American South versus the Canadian east coast versus suburban Paris… is’different. Neat!

HOES (HOS?) IN DIFFERENT AREA CODES

When I went to watch this on YouTube the link was purple, which means that since I bought this Mac I have definitely watched a Ludacris video. (!!!) Anyway, cheating is an especially low move because it combines lying with scabies, but I’m not sure that kissing some jabroni at a foam party is going to be a real problem for your boyfriend if he has a sense of humor. If he has imagination.

PERSPECTIVE

In addition to being fun and hot and not at work, holidays offer the thing I want most of all, which is a more obvious and more linear narrative to/of my life. That every normal non-vacation day is its own black-ice-coated waterslide, and that I sometimes only know what happened and how I feel about it waaay after it’s over, makes even happy, posi, cool stretches of time an almost intolerable-yet-never-ending experience of diffuse anxious rage (which, of course, I tuck away under my original-logo 1980s Blue Jays baseball cap). Travel opposes that from both directions: There’s the defining freedom of holidays, the hardcore revelationing brought on only by being loosely occupied, and the specific sense of what you’re doing, and why, and what you want from it, and how much it costs, and when it’s over.

Or, if you’re not afflicted with any of that, think about vacation (VACATION!) as a way to see yourself. You want that, yeah? Like, I just read a thing that said girls listen to music like they’re the subject, the girl in the song. Suuure, but you also have to think of yourself as having made the music, at least sometimes. Being outside of your bedroom and your body and your job and your stuff and your buddies is mos def the only possible way to do it, unless there is a good new TV show I don’t know about now that I have watched every Breaking Bad. (Walter!!!!!!!!!)

BEING ALONE

The ultimate scam of being female is… well, most stuff, but in terms of the visceral… OK, rape, but in terms of maybe day-to-day decision-making and activity-doing, is not being able to travel like a boy. I mean, you can: You can hitchhike, and hire somebody’s cousin to drive you overnight from a phoneless village to the airport, and take a chicken bus around rural Central America. I have done one of those things and I know girls who have done the other two things but my point is that you really shouldn’t! Don’t do it!

There is an additional weird thing of being a white girl in not-white parts of the world (add “rich” and “poor” in there somewhere, I don’t feel like it) and by “weird thing” I mean the constant feeling and reality that there is an Other-ing Big Brother collectively monitoring you and your movements at all times which puts a bummer vibe on most travel-times unless you’re not especially sensitive to being so pointedly there, in which case fucking teach me, I will pay you $100 an hour. I need to know the secrets of these girls who just… don’t worry about it.

Anyway, I couldn’t live with myself if I suggested “don’t travel alone” but I also couldn’t live with myself if I said “travel alone.” Carry pepper spray and a knife that you know how to use defensively, is I guess what I am saying. I’m sorry. I love you.

HATING IT

A crucial travel experience is hating wherever you are. The acceptance-conscious, celebration-focused girl culture of Pinterest and Tumblr is not remotely good enough at the “Actually, this sucks” half (half?) of life. IRL travel is exceptionally good at it. For grownups, the travel stakes are way too high to experiment—most normals get two or three weeks “off” a year, and budget a small percentage of their Pottery Barn money for trips, which means they only go to all-inclusive resorts or Sanctioned International Cities or experience packages. I mean, I guess? But travel of the “I’unno” variety, while lighter on the comfy, is objectively more interesting, including the parts where you are fucking furious at a town for existing because it irritates you.

(I drove… seven? hours from LA to Santa Cruz, which is actually the second worst place I’ve ever had to spend the night, after Niagara Falls. Ugh, it’s so faded and mellow, ugh ugh ugh. The lesson is that just because Jonathan Franzen lives somewhere part-time doesn’t make it good. In fact, that might be a signal that it sucks. He is a birder.)

TOURISTS

The corniest thing that people say/think/want is defining themselves as travelers, versus tourists. If anything, moms and dads with their moneybelts and nylon jackets are doing it right: Who do you think is getting less robbed, and less chilly-willy? YEP.

The essential problem with the Lifestyle Economy is that doing interesting things doesn’t make you an interesting person; similarly, going interesting places doesn’t make you an interesting person. Right? Also, every day I become increasingly convinced that “interesting person” is about 1/5 as important and available as “decent person.” 1/10.

GETTIING LOST

Only cool if you’re just fake lost, like it’s all romantic and “Where are we?” but really there is an internet café on every other corner even if the keyboard is infuriating. Don’t get, like, Open Water lost.

SLEEPING IN CARS

If you want your perfect dish-of-cream skin to pop out in an terrorizing, desexifying red ass-rash that will only heal after using a multitude of different tinctures, I can tell you that such a thing is procured by standing in the rain for hours while you’re waiting for a boy to finish playing a metal show and then sleeping in the backseat of a Chevy in the same wet clothes in October in Canada. Going on tour is a rare and important adventure, and the closest most dudes will ever come to war, but WOWOWOW does being tired-wet-hungry-broke ever feel not great.

PLAYING LADY

Because of that bullshitty hurricane and my own deficiencies, I barely went anywhere in the past outside of my home-work-fun triangle (an actual triangle!). As a result a whole year feels like a disordered collection of actual days, instead of a cloud of experience and what my mom calls “Life Lessons” in a way that makes fun of me for making fun of her. Holiday/vacation/travel is the adult-woman-est I ever get; the rest of the time my feelings are having a carnival without any permits, and I act like a pussy-melty baby if I even think about my period.

I guess because of not having money or that much sense of agency, “vacation” is a thing that rarely gets privileged by girlies, even the ones who get to sleep in as much as we want. It should; it’s so instructive about what to do, how to eyelash a concierge into a better room, how to not be a piece of human detritus. WAIT, I just figured it out: Vacation is a way to treat yo’self while demanding that you lift your own hockey bag and make your own plans and do the hard work of being somewhere fucked-up all by yourself. I DID IT! Also, lots of hotels use fucking delectable Bulgari toiletries; snap those bitches up! And wear heels on the plane if possible; it feels better.

VOLUNTEERING

This sounds like the best, most life-affirming idea until everyone you know who does it gets to an African village and spends most of their time living behind a gate with armed guards, waiting for the power to come on.

DRIVING

Having a license is the key that unlocks the universe. I have a really hard time trusting people who don’t know how to drive, because why wouldn’t you want to know? You learned how to read, didn’t you? Oh, and you need a soundtrack for road trips. Suggestions: “Don’t Touch My Bikini” by the Halo Benders, all Beach Boys, that Nick Drake Volkswagen song, rap classics that everybody knows the words to, and “Jack and Diane.” Done!

Previously - Girls and the Internet

Follow Kate on Twitter @KateCarraway

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