Hi! It's R. Eric Thomas. From the internet?
This week: the Queer Eye guys came to my hood, further adventures of Jared Kushner's minor villainy, and James Comey is the April Fool.
Today is my 38th birthday. Please hold your applause.
I am unsure at what point I became a total nightmare about my birthday but it seems to have happened. I used to be super into it, particularly in high school. I would count down the days for months; I'd dress up; one year I purchased and ate three different strawberry shortcakes. In retrospect, maybe I've always been a nightmare about my birthday. A nightmare with a much faster metabolism.
For the last couple of years, however, I've just wanted to be left alone. But not really left alone. Just like observed lovingly from a distance. Like a snow leopard at a zoo. I don't know what I want. But I do feel like birthdays are this time when you have to expend so much energy reassuring everyone that you're having a great time and this is exactly what you wanted and in truth, as I get older, sometimes exactly what I want is just a regular day where I don't have to make any decisions or expend any emotional labor. This, it seems, is not the birthday spirit.
Facebook really changes a person's relationship to birthdays. Your wall fills up with nice messages from people you haven't heard from in years and it's often very touching. It's nice to remember and be remembered. So, of course, for a couple of years in my mid-30s I would delete my birthdate from my Facebook profile on the day before my birthday, thereby keeping people from being notified it was my birthday. What a lunatic. Eventually I had to have a stern pep talk with myself in a bathroom mirror like Annette Bening in American Beauty. "Just let people be nice to you!" I screamed at my reflection. "Don't look at me!" my reflection screamed back. My brain is a house of horrors.
The thing that's the most confusing to me is that not being into my birthday totally goes against my personal brand. I'm not sure if you're aware, but I'm very extra. I've tried to write a confetti cannon into every single play. Literally none of them has ever called for a confetti cannon; nevertheless I persist. I love to celebrate! I love to talk about myself! I love cake! I don't like surprises but I do like "pleasant unexpected happenstances" (What is the difference between that and a surprise? Only my fit of pique!) All of this suggests that I would look forward to my birthday with a fervor matched only by my anticipation of the day that Donald Trump leaves office. And yet, sitting around complaining despite an embarrassment of riches. Just like Donald Trump currently in office.
I suppose the issue is adult birthdays just aren't that exciting when compared with every other day. Adult birthdays are LinkedIn messages and an automated text from your old dentist. No shade to my kind professional acquaintances who sent me well-wishes on my LinkedIn profile (I presume they were well-wishes; I've lost the password). But it sort of pales in comparison to regular adult life where you can buy yourself as many cakes as you want whenever you want and also as many confetti cannons as you want as long as you are willing to clean up the confetti. Where every day is full of pleasant unexpected happenstances (and some unpleasant ones). Where I can talk about myself any time I want. Literally. Like right now!
It is perhaps cheating a bit to frame my birthday grumpiness as a whole-hearted embrace of the celebration of every day life, but whatever--it's my special day. Be nice to me! (Do NOT be nice to me!)
This week, the Fab Four out of Five met with AOC, James Comey is trying it, and Jared Kushner rides again. But first! Watch the throne!
Is there any better way to rock a red carpet than in a gown that you can repeatedly toss up into the air like confetti? Gwendoline Christie is a one-person party and she brought all the supplies. No shade to anyone else but, um, was there anyone else here? Did there need to be? I have suddenly forgotten the entire plot of Game of Thrones but I'm presuming it's an epic series about a statuesque woman in killer couture slaying all your faves. Like, literally, but also, figuratively. That ought to fill eight seasons at least. [READ THE FULL COLUMN]
An international incident is brewing in our nation's capitol today as four-fifths of the Fab Five reportedly descended on the Rayburn House Office Building to visit with elected leaders and, for some reason, didn't call me even though I am about 45 minutes away if I speed a little and also I am not an elected leader. [READ THE FULL COLUMN]
First of all, do not even joke about throwing your hat into the ring for the presidency. According to the latest figures, one in every nine Americans is already running for President. J.K. Rowling just revealed that Professor Snape is considering a run, and also that he voted for Brexit. It's a mess. Secondly, how dare you? That's it. That's the whole question. [READ THE FULL COLUMN]
Donald Trump, our country's greatest orator since Yosemite Sam, found himself absolutely hornswoggled today as he attempted to pronounce a simple three-syllable word multiple times. Speaking with reporters about the Mueller Report, which he has erroneously claimed completely exonerates him and instead is mostly filled with shrug emojis, Trump said that he hoped Congressional leaders turned their attention to the origins of the investigation. Oh, excuse me, to the oranges of the investigation. [READ THE FULL COLUMN]
"What is next, putting nuclear codes in Instagram DMs?" she asked sarcastically as White House officials quickly Googled "How to delete Instagram DMs." Call me old-fashioned, but I just don't know about doing sensitive business on an app with a name reminiscent of a popular Budweiser commercial. [READ THE FULL COLUMN]
This is their unconventional materials challenge! This week they have to create high-fashion looks for outdoor conditions. It's important to note that from the looks of it, it's mid-to-late-autumn in New York City. It's getting down to the mid-30s at night, the leaves are changing, there's a constant breeze, everything is pumpkin spiced. What I'm saying is the line between "outdoor fashion" and "survivalist couture" is very thin here. See, this is the problem I have with wilderness. When you say "fashion for outdoor conditions," it never means tankinis and sarongs, does it? It's always apocalypse chic. Perhaps AOC can address this in the Green New Deal? [READ THE FULL COLUMN]
Random Thing from the Internet
The best thing I saw all week was Ali Stroker, an extraordinary cast member in the Oklahoma revival performing "I Can't Say No" on The Tonight Show.
A nightmare with a much faster metabolism,