off the record
The latest New York Times dispatch on Ivy League hook-up culture, “Sex on Campus: She Can Play That Game, Too” ran long: 4,703 words, to be exact. For last Sunday’s Style section cover story, reporter Kate Taylor interviewed more than 60 University of Pennsylvania coeds over the course of a school year and found that some of the young women interviewed have casual sex!
Some just are too ambitious and devoted to their GPAs for the time-consuming business of relationships. Some get drunk and do things that they regret and then try to put a humorous spin on what sounds an awful lot like date rape in the cold, harsh light of morning. Some perform oral sex because it’s just an easier way to end an evening. And some secretly want boyfriends, despite a breezy hook-up culture that makes young women feel sexually empowered, even if a sociologist quoted in the story contends that college women have better sex in steady relationships. (This after interviewing 24,000 students at 21 universities.)
Friday night, former MTV VJ Dave Holmes posted a story on his Tumblr to mourn the liquidation of Hostess Brand Inc. Although we now know that Twinkies will probably survive after the dissolution of parent company Hostess (as well as the upcoming apocalypse), you have to remember that on Friday, we were all uncertain about the fate of our favorite artificial-ingredient-based cake product.
Mr. Holmes’s little vignette was about his friend/fellow air jockey Jancee Dunn, who in 2001 was trying to pitch her first story to The New York Times Style section. And while we’ve always assumed that most trend pieces are born more out of temerity than truth, apparently they are sometimes also created from a throwaway comment your friend makes about Twinkies before your pitch meeting.
Poor Justin Peters. The Slate scribe probably hadn’t heard about The Times Is on It Twitter account when he signed up to do what most of us would consider the impossible (or at least the super-foolish): Try to “embody” seven trends created discovered by the NYT’s Style Section, to become the most stylish man in New York. (Except, obviously, Brooklyn.)
Spring skirt trends have given way at The New York Times to the more topical issues facing Manhattanites: like how to escape from New York City and get up to the Hamptons.
Three stories in two days debated the relative pros and cons of train, bus, and air travel upstate, but we’re still left with a nagging question…do we have to go? (That’s rhetorical, obviously, yes, you have to go to the Hamptons. Every weekend. All summer.) The only thing missing is an in-depth profile on seaplanes.
So for a quick refresher course–just in case you don’t have time to read a 1,000 word piece on how much alcohol 21-year-olds consume on the LIRR, we’ve summed up The Grey Lady’s stance on each method of getting your tuchus to Montauk.
Another iPhone-y Trend Piece
“Fashion is a form of ugliness so intolerable that we have to alter it every six months,” Oscar Wilde once famously quipped. He was almost right. When discussing trends in fashion staples, very little is altered…not even the copy. Such is the case of The New York Times and its obsession with skirts.
“It seems parrotlike to go on repeating the statement that short skirts are fashionable,” wrote The New York Times fashion reporter Anne Rittenhouse, “but it is amazing to observe their progress toward a complete sweep of the field.”
Ms. Rittenhouse (a penname for Ms. Harry-Dele Hallmark) must have been looking into a crystal ball: she was already exasperated by the skirt trend stories back in 1909, when the novelty of a hemline was that it was no longer attached to a dress. Her item was titled: “What the well-dressed women are wearing; The Skirt With Separate Bodice the Correct Styles for Smartly Dressed Women This Season.”
With that, The New York Times pronounced that skirts were “in.” And twice a year because it lines up with Fashion Week: long skirts come back for fall, short skirts for Spring, with an almost clockwork preciseness, the parrotlike Grey Lady announces that once again, skirts are fashionable. Yes ladies, free yourself of those dowdy knickerbockers and put on a skirt…they’re back in style!
On a charming August night, The Observer was sitting on our fire escape with two friends, having cigarettes, having beer. We had brought out an iPhone dock, a diminutive speaker machine that plays music right from a mobile device, at a decent, but not offensive-to-the-neighbors, volume.
Then, with a jerk of an arm, there came Read More