elcome to 4th of July week on Man Repeller, where the content will flow like dolphins in the desert but employees will paddle about like newly clean babies on a changing table. In case that wasn’t clear as so many of my euphemisms are not, the Man Repeller team is on vacation this week. Every last one of us! The office is closed, the sun is shining and everyone who works between these four walls (technically, it is still last week at the time of this writing, which makes me feel like the deity of future-telling) is dutifully equipped with at least one cotton nightgown in which to gallop into the sunset. For you, this means that no new content — nary a love note to self tanner nor a lopsided dissertation on the health non-benefits of wine consumption — will be generated, save for The Call’s Season 3 teaser trailer on Tuesday, the Get Lost! Month post that went live just before this one, and a single story (pre-written and scheduled) that will go up every morning.
Winter was long, spring was vaguely insufferable and this team of wizards, wunderkinds and WNBA stars deserve nothing if not a week to explore an intentional internet blackout.
An internet blackout!
We spend so much time dissecting our relationships with social media up in this club: how much we love it, how much we hate it; how much of our lives are spent scrolling through it and why that’s a blessing, why that’s a curse, what it’s doing to our health, our ability to socially engage, our inability to shut off; why meditation is a bullshit hack that gives us permission to keep indulging our technology addiction, and so forth. At first we thought: Should we theme a month on Man Repeller around our ever-illusive relationships with social media? Should we ignite our own blackout? This logic was flawed because literally speaking, you can’t ignite a blackout and figuratively, it seems using the internet to write about how much we may dislike the internet makes us inherent hypocrites in more ways than we are willing to take responsibility for. This is why, instead, we’re taking a break. Think of it as a mid-year Christmas vacation. Our hope is that in our absence, you’ll take the time you spend reading and engaging with Man Repeller to do something that you love offline.
Like, for example, printing a panoply of MR best hits from the past six months! I’m just kidding. But also, no I’m not. Last Friday, before I left, I printed ten stories from the past six months (some that I missed while on maternity leave) to have, to hold, and to mark up with the pens I used to love before I began consuming all my intellectual pursuits on a screen. In the event that you find yourself seated in an over-air-conditioned office building today, here are the ten stories of which I speak.
In January, Meghan Nesmith answered a question I asked on Twitter: Can you live a meaningful life without taking any risks? Harling interviewed college dropouts (my dad was one of them!) about whether they regret dropping out of school. In February, she asked a hard hitting question — does anyone actually *like* holding hands? I also got back in touch with The Voices in my head and re-read this piece I wrote on self-esteem.
The following month, Haley started to figure out why her brain is always feeling so fried and Amelia learned how to grocery shop. It’s a sad, hilarious and curiously helpful piece of literature to be sure. In April, Harling expressed a universal truth the rest of the world is coming around on: Miranda Hobbes would be the protagonist if Sex and The City were out today, while she and Haley took over the month’s installment of Should I Buy This? May was important because Jennifer Epperson wrote beautifully in response to the Starbucks controversy, and June was cool because July was around the corner! In addition to these reads, I also re-read this phenomenal life advice from three octogenarians; it never gets old. (Get it?)
I know it seems counterintuitive that they’re being linked, thus creating a digital rabbit hole down which you might fall, but maybe you’re about to get lunch. Maybe you were going to stay at your desk and order in but now that you’ve read this you’re feeling inspired to click one of the headlines below, let it open in your browser, print it out and take it outside, phone still stowed at your desk, all the way upstairs and indoors while you consider your own temporary blackout, thinking to yourself how great it is that this particular blackout does not include your being lodged between a public mailbox and garbage dispenser, unsure of how you get there in the first place but rather, celebrates a universal truth I have a hunch we are all coming to accept: now and again, we just need a reason to, you know, get lost.
Collage by Madeline Montoya; Photo by Edith Young.