Sex and the Ivy

Money, Money

Filed under: New York — Elle May 31, 2007 @ 8:44 pm

How is it possible that I’ve spent $175 in 26 hours in New York?

Before I get ripped for reckless shopping, $75 went to groceries and $40 to booze (I swear I’m not an alcoholic. It’s for my brunch this Saturday, okay?!). Not so justifiable expenses: cab rides, multiple meals out, wardrobe expansion. However, I completely stand by the $10 heel repair of my purple BCBG peep-toe stilettos. That’s less than 10% of their original retail price ($130 — bad, bad freshman self!) to restore my favorite shoes to their former glory. Totally worth it.

My only real luxury was a manicure, which a girl needs every once in a while. I even visited the Kate Spade and walked out without a purchase. This is discipline. But I need more than discipline if I want to leave New York with actual savings. Thus, I’ve downloaded Burn, a Mac-compatible expense tracker I found — where else? — at Lifehacker.

Since I’m on a streak, I wrote up a preliminary weekly budget:

Rent - $250
Utilities - $25
Transportation - $25 (30-Day Metrocard $76 or ~$20/week + $5 in random cab fare)
Groceries - $50
Restaurants - $50
Other - $50 (mostly salon/spa-related expenses)

Total expenses? $450. Thankfully, my job pays. Miracle, right? Assuming I manage a few freelance assignments, I might even have a decent shopping budget.

Before taking my summer gig, I did the math. Manhattan is ridiculously expensive but I’m actually making just as much money after rent as I would be in Los Angeles living at home. Also, a matter of pride: I really didn’t want to take a pay cut. The hourly rate for all my previous summer internships (entertainment, public relations) in California has been shit, and that’s being generous. Doing business-oriented stuff in Boston this fall actually paid double-digits, and I really didn’t want my seventh internship to pay me what I was making at 16. Minimum wage stopped being cool when I graduated high school. My current job — in new media — constitutes living wage in Manhattan, believe it or not. Thus, I’m in the Village instead of the San Gabriel Valley.

This is a very good thing. For one, my mother won’t have to fund my trip to China in mid-August. Second, I won’t feel guilty for the three months I’m financially independent. That is, until school starts and I’m reminded once again that she was in labor for 26 hours and I better be making the most out of Harvard because someone has to give me a real job when I graduate, dammit. But I’ll worry about that in September.

In other news, I am incredibly happy that I have a kitchen in which I can cook instead of a dorm room microwave that nukes the hell out of ramen. Tonight’s dinner for one: baked salmon fillet.

Tomorrow Night

Filed under: New York — Elle May 29, 2007 @ 9:10 pm

I arrive to New York with my roommate, four pieces of luggage, and the longest summer to-do list I’ve ever written. The next blog entry I post will be from the Village.

Cambridge and the Harvard Class of 2007: good night and good luck.

Moveout

Filed under: College, Uncategorized — Elle May 27, 2007 @ 7:20 pm

My lack of blog entries over the past week can be attributed to end-of-the-year madness: partly because of late papers, mostly because of a backbreaking moveout from Mather.

Yesterday: Packing and moving from 10am to 8pm. No breaks for meals.

Today: More of the same from 11am to 5pm.

I like my dresses, makeup, and shiny objects like any gal, but I’m not exactly so high-maintanence that I’m above manual labor. I’m perfectly cool with carrying my own stuff. The problem is that I’m not actually physically capable of lifting all my luggage/furniture. That’s what guy friends are for. Unfortunately, by the time Sue and I got around to business, everyone we knew had already left campus.

I used to think that college students who hired movers were spoiled. (Hello, we’re young and robust!) Now I know better. Calling someone to get my shit out of a third-floor walkup and into a fourth-floor walkup six blocks away? More than worth $50.

So, I’m moving AGAIN on Tuesday. This time, several hundred miles to Manhattan for the summer. Can barely express my excitement about the next few months. I can’t believe sophomore year is officially done and I’ve left Mather for good (depending on how the inter-house transfer to Currier goes). In August, I turn 20. When the hell did this happen?

Ex-Boyfriends

Filed under: Dating/Relationships, Love, Summer Guy — Elle May 22, 2007 @ 2:43 am

This weekend at Dartmouth, I was hanging out with Cece and a pal when we got to discussing her boyfriend. She’s spending her quarter in Hanover on exchange while he’s staying in San Diego and being exceedingly attentive and understanding despite the distance. At one point, I had the urge to tell her, “You have the sweetest boyfriend ever, Cece.”

But I didn’t. Cece is one of my best friends from home and her current boyfriend is my ex-boyfriend from high school. Complimenting her on her great catch seems incredibly odd, when I was the last girl to date him. But then again, the guy she’s with today is not at all the same person I was in love with at 16 and I consider him more a friend (or even, the boyfriend of a friend) than I do an ex. It’s like he’s this entirely new individual who I’ve re-met and re-integrated into my life.

It’s different with my last significant relationship. Try as I might, I’m not able to say that Summer Guy’s my friend, but “ex-boyfriend” doesn’t quite fit either. The latter sounds like such a write-off, and he means so much more than just a blip in my romantic history. On the other hand, I don’t treat or deal with him in the same way as I do my other friends. While I never get into fights with pals, we bicker and argue and vow to not speak. We also go through long periods of regular phone calls and IMs. I have spoken to him more often than I have spoken to anyone else in California, including my mother and my best friend. He is the only person during my entire time at college who has flown to Boston for the express purpose of visiting me. He is one of only two people whose presence I actively yearn for (the other being my mother). Yet from 3,000 miles, I do not nurse hopes of a romantic reconciliation and would be more than wary of dating again even if we lived in the same city. So what am I left with?

It is easy to tell my friends I love them. I say it on the phone, as a goodbye, over email. I mean it, certainly, but when I tell Summer Guy that I love him, it means something more than a response-by-reflex. I love him like I love my best friends — deeply and unconditionally. But he is not my best friend either. My best friends are two girls from California I consider sisters and two Harvard friends who have stuck by me since freshman fall. These are people who have seen me through intense times of change and tumult. How can I say my love for him is the same as my love for them? And yet, it seems quite fitting. After all, I share with him a unique understanding I share with each of them. Cultivated over time, it is something that can only be felt, not articulated.

There is no one else in my life like Summer Guy. The almost frightening truth is that he is irreplaceable. Thus, I don’t want to call him my ex-boyfriend because he is not just my ex-boyfriend, but I don’t want to call him my friend because he is not just my friend. And so I guess the best I can do is say that he is someone I love very, very much.

Gawker’s Jezebel To Cure “Larger Societal Cancer” Cosmo Caused

Filed under: Recommendations — Elle May 21, 2007 @ 4:58 pm

Damn Gawker Media for their pioneering of all that is fresh, witty, and smart in the blogosphere. Their newest venture, Jezebel, is a women’s magazine done right … on crack. Not quite Jane (pre-Pratt departure), not quite Us Weekly, Jezebel strives to “take all the essentially meaningless but sweet stuff directed our way and give it a little more meaning, while taking more the serious stuff and making it more fun, or more personal, or at the very least the subject of our highly sophisticated brand of sex joke.” Did someone say sex? I’m in.

From the powdery white appearance of its editors, Jezebel looks like the cocaine to Gawker’s marijuana. And whoever told me gateway drugs are harmless was clearly never sucked into performing all of the Top 10 Mac OS X Tweaks. It’s been a day and I already love silly Jez. A gal who has the balls to rip off consignment shops with re-labeled H&M certainly deserves a spot on my blogroll and RSS feed reader.

But let’s not forget that there is one Very Important Message that Jezebel will be sending about the Cosmo clique via rampant Lindsay Lohan coverage and undercover vaginoplasty stories:

The big meta lie is that this is one big postmodern joke on which we are all in. And that all the surreality and celebphemera and retail therapy is harmless escapism, that it has always been this way, that it is not symptomatic of some sort of larger societal cancer. The big lie is that we haven’t let the norms of the celebrity-sartorial complex seep into the way we see everything in the world, perpetuating the notion that all of life is high school, and the pretty people are the only ones worth your attention, and that alpha girls are entitled to act cruel and inhuman towards their subordinates, and that all the world would be that way anyway. Because it wouldn’t. And though we’ve found women’s magazines to be a fairly trusty engine of hilarious tidbits, it is not all one big joke.

Wait, so living like a Sex and the City character is an unhealthy thing? Fuck.

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