Call me a cynic, but I think of the New Year like a wash cycle that fails to remove yellow pit stains in my favorite white shirt. For a while, I can trick my eyes into seeing the crisp, clean oxford I put on the morning of that important meeting a few months ago; deep down I know there’s no way to start fresh, to undo what has been done. But I’d rather resign the shirt to a lifetime of being worn under sweaters than admit that my body could sweat so profusely as to destroy a garment beyond repair and require the purchase of a new one.
What I’m trying to say is: you can never be truly free of the past. As much as we’d like to forget certain moments of 2016, here are the ones that left stains we won’t be able to ignore come 2017:
The landscape of North American politics was seismically shaken when American voters, too exhausted by the endless campaign cycle to muster enthusiasm for any of their own presidential candidates, elected Justin Trudeau, Canadian Prime Minister and regulation hottie, to lead the newly formed United States of AmeriCanada.
Bringing “Netflix & chill” to a new level, the ever-so-subtly-named Bang app synced users’ Tinder, Uber and Netflix accounts and made finding casual sex easier than placing a Seamless order. Swipe right on a user who’s also liked your profile and an Uber is immediately sent to your location to bring you to your match’s apartment. There, you can browse an automatically-generated Netflix category of your mutual entertainment interests. Pick a show or movie, and, um, you know the rest.
RIP clean eating. The dietary trend wilted faster than an unrefrigerated bag of kale after 659 hospitalizations were reported as a result of the “Windex 5-Day Detox.” The nutrition plan, widely shared on Pinterest, promised to rid one’s internal organs of harmful toxins and restore them to their natural shine.
Rihanna’s 2015 Met Gala cape forewarned the trend that we all should have seen coming after the popularity of maxi skirts, wide leg pants and blanket scarves. Our insatiable desire for extra fabric was channeled into parachute-sized jackets that billowed around us like waves at high tide. Street style photographers resorted to aerial photography in order to fit the expansive masses of material surrounding each woman into a single shot.
The most talked about movie of the year was undoubtedly Martin Scorsese’s Oscar Bait, a four-hour drama released in late December that starred Jennifer Lawrence, Christian Bale, Meryl Streep and Leonardo DiCaprio. Charming critics and confusing audiences everywhere, the film portrayed dysfunctional families, mental illness, transgender issues, race relations, coming-of-age stories, gay sex, lesbian sex, teenage sex, drug addiction, underdogs, broken homes, unexpected friendships and a gifted accordion player whose talent lifted him out of poverty despite his having no arms, eyes, ears or father figure.
Here’s looking at you, 2017.
Collage by Emily Zirimis