Turkey may be trash, but I’m not above the art of going around the Friendsgiving dinner table (IRL or metaphorical) to reflect on all that we’re thankful for. Just earlier, I asked you, esteemed members of the MR community, what you’re thankful for, and before that, I asked Team Man Repeller what stories we’ve run in 2018 that made them feel thankful: thankful to read, to ponder, to laugh, to smile, to click through pictures and fantasize and shop and think and feel whole.
Below are all of our answers. And by all means, let us know yours! This wouldn’t be a proper friendsgiving without a potluck down in the comment section.
Leandra Medine, Founder
Nora presented all the members of Man Repeller’s team with the prompt, “What’s a post you’re thankful for?” and my mind sprung in two directions. If I had to guess, it looked like two slinkies bouncing opposite each other. On one end of the metal was the investigative work Harling Ross did to answer the question: Does anyone actually eat cereal for breakfast anymore? On the other end was the stunning guinea pig journalism Nora Taylor conducted as part of her look under the lid of some of New York’s most iconic rom-com locations (see: Zabar’s c/o You’ve Got Mail, Serendipity c/o Serendipity and so on and so forth). The common denominator among both these pieces, which seemed to suspend reality for a moment while I found myself enraptured in comedic but poetic and uniquely witty prose, relates to my own pursuit of harmless levity in the digital stories I am hungry to consume and therefore thankful to encounter. I don’t know how to write like this, my touch can seem so much more…philosophical, but I wish I did. It’s all I ever want from the internet — to feel like I’m reading a note from my hilarious best bud who is also smart and interesting and not trying to ignore reality by making jokes but definitely of a mindset that refuses to let the bad stuff chip away at our spirits.
Matt Little, Operations Director
My first reaction was Crystal and my recent Queer Eye Makeover mostly because I was so excited about and thankful for the experience and we had such a fun time on-set.
I’m also so, so thankful for getting to see Man Repeller IRL and for the community who’s fueled our endeavors (like Hotel Man Repeller and Animals Observatory and Adidas) because our events and activations are sooo personally fulfilling and energizing. There’s a very palpable (yet difficult to articulate) magic that you can feel in the air at an MR event and I really appreciate the opportunity to facilitate space for our community to convene in real life.
Finally, this essay by Harling was so poignant and emotional to read and for me resonated in such a way — it made me really thankful to get the opportunity to work with such articulate, vulnerable and introspective humans and the stories we’re making space for on the internet.
Jasmin Aujla, Director of Partnerships
This piece by Haley — “Why I Ended a Happy Relationship” — was written in March 2017 and I thought it was great then but it wasn’t reflective of my current situation. Fast forward to end of last year/early this year, it was and spoke to me in a totally different way. I’ve come back to it and mulled it over a few time this year — it always reassures me that I made the best decision for me and have thus had probably the most honest year of my life. Here’s my favorite snippet:
“It doesn’t help that, as women, we’re constantly fed the notion that we ought to hold on to something good. To listen to everyone but ourselves. Cheryl Strayed of the column Dear Sugar once famously said, ‘Go because you want to. Because wanting to leave is enough.’ Those words had a profound effect on me when I first read them, but what I didn’t understand until much later was the voice saying go wasn’t some mysterious desire I couldn’t help but follow. It was me at my most honest.”
Patty Carnevale, Head of Partnerships
Crystal’s story “Nothing Comes Before My Mental Health: 5 Lessons I Learned After Treatment” has stayed on my heart and I’m so grateful! It reminded me that caring for my mental health doesn’t need to be a lonely process, and encouraged me to be in community with family and friends in opening up and taking care of one another.
Haley Nahman, Deputy Editor
So many possibilities! In my role as an editor here I work with so many amazing writers and read so many compelling pieces. Some that immediately sprang to mind:
I’m thankful for this essay by Harling about outgrowing herself, because it felt like one of those pivotal moments for her as a person and writer, and she put words to something I’ve felt many times. I’m thankful for all of T Wise’s wonderful essays: on taking hormones, on emails with his dad, on his name. I’m thankful for this piece Molly Conway wrote about throwing dinners parties. It changed me! I’m thankful for my favorite money diary ever, which was written by my friend Danny. I’m thankful this inspiring story for Indigenous Peoples’ Day that Emma put together, because I still think about some of the lines in it. I’m thankful for this piece Laura Bannister wrote about Gemma Collins falling through a trap door, because trap doors are inherently funny and it still makes me laugh. I loved this story Simedar put together on natural hair. And I probably think about this story about once a week.
There are so many more, but I’ll call it at this article by Harling about testing out ridiculous Instagram trends, because not only did she answer a question so many of us probably wondered but never thought to settle, but she did so in the biggest hat I’ve ever seen. And for some reason I’ve had that hat photo of her on my desktop for months, and every time I close a window I see it and am reminded of its existence and am thereby provided a jolt of joy. For that, in 2018, I am especially grateful.
Emma Bracy, Associate Editor
Thankful for seeing such BEAUTIFUL Black femmes living their best natural lives on our site. Like, these photos? Who ARE these chicks? WHY ARE ALL OF SIMMI’S PEOPLE MODELS?! This story was mad affirming and felt so good to look at — made my pupils smile.
Okay I know this is technically “my” story (the one where I interviewed three New York baristas) but I’m really thankful for being assigned it. It’s my fave kind of story to do, and this one in particular wouldn’t have been possible without collaboration (shoutout to the edit team!). And the photos HIT. Like. Come on. Bridget did so well. Everything about this makes me happy and wanna go get fucked up on some coffee even though I am not a coffee drinker at all (it’s TOO ACTIVATING).
Nora Taylor, Managing Editor
I loved, loved, loved this story from Emily about feeling like she wasn’t the “right” size to pursue her dreams. It makes me so grateful to work with such smart and introspective coworkers, but to also work in a place that defies so many ideas of what a traditional fashion place is like. BUT speaking of Fashion, I do love this swimsuit story written by Amelia, styled by Nicole Chapoteau (so gorgeous!), this story on color trends from Harling (so thoughtful!), and not a day goes by where I don’t think about this maximalism post/tiny suit of armor. Also this entire post was inspired by Emma’s gassing piece, so grateful as hell for that one.
Amelia Diamond, Head of Creative
These kinds of questions overwhelm me because my list is a million miles long. So my first answer may very well be a cop-out, but it’s a true one: I agree with what everyone has already said here: I’m thankful for all these stories! Truly. I’m thankful for them for a million reasons but also because working on the internet has made it hard to read stories on the internet in a leisurely manner — I usually feel like I’m “on duty” — but every story my colleagues have mentioned here successfully suck me out of head every time I revisit them, bring me into another world and make me feel like a “reader,” rather than like a person who works behind the scenes of Man Repeller.
Other stories that made me feel that way in 2018: Edith’s piece on Manhattanhenge (shot and written by her, styled by Harling); Imani’s how-to-make-cowboy-not-SO-cowboy-y styling story (I’ll never be over those Calvin Klein jeans); Leandra’s “Sleepleisure” style story (I want to be this person!); Elizabeth’s trench coat story (Uniqlo, here I come); Meghan Nesmith’s story on couples’ therapy (I’ve referenced it a few times recently in convos with friends); Janet Mock’s episode of The Call; the time Natasha Nyanin declared 2018 her “year of yellow”; Pandora’s tartan story (I want to copy all her outfits); Anum Bashir’s take on “Where’s Waldo”; Stella Von Senger’s spring style shoot; Claire Beermann’s declaration that the shawl is cool (thank you!); the incredible visual homage to black sitcoms of the 90s, written by Kimberly Drew, directed and styled by Shiona Turini, co-styled by Nicole Chapoteau; the HOLIDAY BUFFET, IDK IF YOU’VE HEARD OF IT; and…this is from 2017 but I feel really thankful Juliana Salazar styled one black dress a bunch of different ways because when I finally do buy my damn LBD I want to be able to do the same.