Dames on dames on glamorous dames on dames, as far as the eye can see!
Julia really wants these glasses. Also the hot dog.
Hi! We are Julia and Adam, and the thing you need to know about us both is that we are always recommending this profile of Lindsay Lohan from a 2013 issues of The New York Times Magazine. To confidants, new friends, strangers and bodega boys alike. Like, seriously everyone should read this. It’s a go-to.
Speaking of go-tos: That’s the theme of this newsletter! We’re going to be recommending the things we can always rely on: the peanut butter-nutella combination of a Netflix show that never fails, the perfect meme Tumblr that always delivers, the one podcast you know will never let you down. They’re there for all occasions: to enlighten, inform, delight and beyond.
Our gchat friendship is built on this solid foundation of go-tos. “Work sucks :(“ “Here’s a link!” “I’m bored :(” “Here’s a link!”
An excerpt from our gchat conversation about this very theme:
Julia: I think the theme of our newsletter should be "go-tos,” like, the Lindsay Lohan profile is our go-to recommended reading. What are our other go-tos?
Adam: Go-tos! Yes! I am on this train. It is leaving the station.
Julia: Oh GOD, I was about to be like "You're on a literal train?!"
Adam: Silly Julia. This is Atlanta.
First, a confession: I spent far too long on this trying to list out my go-tos, fretting all the time — were they too out-dated or old-fashioned, too cutting edge or unnecessarily edgy, were they too too or eye-rollingly blasé? And then in the middle of all of this pondering I was brought back from commercial break to the latest episode of Tiny House Nation, which combines many things I love without any shame or pretense: renovation shows; aerial shots of rolling farmland by the water; that kind of lighting that is like the sun setting through the leaves on a summer afternoon as it crisps into fall; tiny houses. (I love tiny houses.) A lot of me is bound up in how much I love tiny house renovation shows on HGTV. What I want to be more than anything else is that one friend who shows up at the end of the episode and cracks the one good joke during the housewarming party in the renovated tiny house and everyone laughs and the lighting is perfect and outside the August air has just started to turn.
All of this to say! Go-tos I think are so much less about what they mean to everyone else and so much more about what they mean to you. (Embrace the cliché.)
Get to go-to-ing, I say! Here: I’ll start.
A go-to for … when you didn’t expect it to be so humid outside and you showed up to work 45 minutes early and look like you’ve been in a rainstorm:Sit down at your work computer and put in your headphones and do NOT pour yourself that first cup of work coffee (it is a mistake, with your current body temperature) and press play on Perfume Genius’ “Hood,” which is a little song that is sad and slow and piano-heavy, just the thing to bring your heart rate down. And tucked at the center is an emotional epiphany worthy enough to end the recent Looking movie on HBO (also a go-to, in its way!). The song is just the thing, once you’ve cooled off, to kick you into the day.
A go-to for … that sliver of time before the party begins, the dinner date arrives or your friends show up at the concert and you need something to do to keep your mood up and your boredom down: This Tumblr post, which points you to this Tumblr.
A go-to for … a night or weekend in alone, just you and your blankets and some cider: All four seasons of Everwood, a small-town drama from the mid-aughts that — to trot out a stupid frame of reference which I promise finally, actually applies here — never quite got the notice it deserves. It’s emotionally rich and wise and funny and just wacky and rude enough, like if Frank Capra had to recite episode descriptions of Gilmore Girls from memory, except he’d been drinking. It is not streamable, which feels like heresy to type out about anything in 2016, but it’s all buyable on Amazon. Co-starring Chris Pratt!
A go-to for … when you have had the worst possible day: This string of tweets.
A go-to for … when you have Googled “Netflix LGBT top picks” and been unsatisfied with the result: Jongens, which is on Netflix but has a weird name and is Dutch. Don’t be alarmed! It’s actually tender, lovely and specific to its characters (teenage boys), setting (racing high school track), and plot (falling in love).
A go-to for … payday: A wall tapestry. One of the giant ones — some kind of nature scene. Something that shows the sky.
A go-to for ... a long commute home: The podcast Within the Wires, written by Jeffrey Cranor and Janina Matthewson and performed by Matthewson. It’s serial fiction styled as a series of relaxation tapes issued to you, the unnamed resident of an alternate reality, but studded with secret messages that accumulate into the plot. Spoiling nothing, it is safe to say the series is soothing and mysterious and powerfully sensory. It also has an LGBT undercurrent that turns into the tide.
A go-to for … when you don’t want to read any more paragraphs! and just want bullets!
Jill Lepore’s “Battleground America” (go-to #longread)
Richard Siken’s “Litany in Which Certain Things Are Crossed Out” (go-to poem)
Legally Blonde (go-to movie, gift, bonding experience, and sick day treat)
Hi! Here is a gif from Lindsay Lohan’smust-watch, must-consumeinterview with Oprah Winfrey.
And OK, so the thing with me is that I have a couple projects in Dames World that you may have seen in your respective Dames Internet musings (my newsletter about cool women throughout the ages, a project to end the gender wage gap, some writing about lady things and tech and tech lady things) — sooooo, much of my culture consumption is all about exactly that world. Plus, of course, the Lindsay Lohan profile but we WILL GET TO THAT LATER DO NOT WORRY. Now! For go tos!
Thank YOU, Oprah.
A go-to for … some visual inspiration: My favorite thing in the world is to search the “illustration” tag on Tumblr. Wrap your brain in the pillowy folds of illustratedladies.
A go-to for … sprucing up your inbox: I recommend two newsletters almost constantly. Helena Fitzgerald’s beautifully-worded little trips of observation at Grief Bacon, and Washington Post writer Caitlin Dewey’s weekly roundup of Internet yums, Links I Would Gchat You If We Were Friends.
A go-to for … thoughtful friend gifts: These lettered bangles from Rhys Maymake beautiful talismans for your brightest BFFs. Bronzed and hardy, but truly sweet in their simple customization (I own two!).
Me, callin' up all my Dames
A go-to for … feeling literary and smart *and* pop-culturally literate: The concept of Slaughterhouse 90210 is truly genius: take the slickest, slyest, prettiest lines from literature (everything from Hemingway to Maggie Nelson) and collage it against screencaps from your favorite shows. This has been my personal favorite of late: Jade Sharma + The Sopranos. Also this: Peggy Olson + Anaïs Nin. And if desktop scrolling is just too impermanent for you, creator Maris Kreizman also made a book for desk perusing!
A go to for … almost-instant calm: My primary indulgence is $30 candles. I know. I know. I’m not proud of it. But if you want to join me in my guilt-ridden, god-forsaken bouginess, these are truly the only candles upon which to burn (HAHAHAHAHA see what I did there) your paycheck.
A go-to for … feeling witty and buoyant and free: My friends and I have this thing we say to one another. On our brightest, happiest, most creative, chocolate chip-filled days, we call ourselves “children of Nora.” In everything: from her books to her movies to the pieces of art inspired by her books and her movies (like the Mindy Project! Or Lena Dunham’s entire oeuvre!), Nora’s art just fills you up with promise and possibility.. Nothing makes me happier than curling up with When Harry Met Sally. And I’m a firm believer that her Wellesley commencement speech should be required watching for all young women aspiring to lives of deliciousness.
Deliciousness as in deliciously delicious, but also deliciously funny, deliciously full.
A go-to for … social media recommendations! People you should follow on social media: I frequently just go to Jenna Wortham’s Twitter and read backwards and pocket every link I find. Same goes for Durga Chew-Bose’s Tumblr. And everything for Anna Holmes, Kim Drew, Tavi Gevinson and their kind. Surround yourself in these women and let their taste guide you to taste nirvana (it looks like a wonderfully plush kitchen from a Nancy Meyers movie).
Things We’re Going To Right Now
People smirk when I say this bc she’s my squirrel, but Alex Laughlin’s podcast“The Ladycast” is truly my favorite podcast! It’s all just convos with awesome women doing awesome things. Women like Jill Fillipovic or Amber Discko or Esmé Wang.
Preteen Julia was pretty much everything you expected her to be: bookish and cranky, jacked up on College Board books and Claire’s lipstick. I wish I had had Clover Letter when I was 14. Luckily, I have it now — and I super enjoy their daily profiles of the teen tastemakers and up-and-coming changemakers comprising today’s generation. The kids are gonna be alright, y’all. Well, the young girls, at least.
Hi! — this is Adam: I devour everything Jill Lepore writes for The New Yorker and her recent “A Tale of Two Conventions,” about her visits to both the DNC and RNC conventions, was almost worth an immediate second read. Lepore, a Harvard history professor, is brainy but not pedantic and such a good tour guide of the years that you end up feeling like she is giving all of these facts to you, just you, as an illuminating between-us aside. When she isn’t writing wicked sentences, that is. (And if you’re new to Lepore and you love this — yay, so do I! — then consider her in book-form, with The Secret History of Wonder Woman.)
Another new obsession: Erin McKeown’s “The Queer Gospel,” which is somehow exactly what it sounds like and not at all, plus high clear girl-group harmonies and a smidge of the ‘60s. Even better news: McKeown’s discography is long and inviting to newcomers.
Jill Lepore writing on Wonder Woman is truly magnificent.
Things We Never *Actually* Got to (But Will Some Day!)
OK, so you can’t get to everything. Or have go-tos for everything. Below, we discuss two blind spots.
Don’t judge us!
Julia: Honestly, I just don't think I'm ever going to watch Game of Thrones
it's something I'm saving for like, the day I get mono or something. But it's a go-to I really think I'll just never get to
Adam: THAT is a wonderful category to have created for yourself. You get the social satisfaction of being into something trendy enough to say you'll get to it! But you never do!
Julia: I seriously don't even get any of the references and I feel like it's diminished my pop culture literacy!
Adam: And honestly a lot of it is just bare breasts and women being mistreated and the excuse of historical "accuracy" justifying a lot of murk and castrations
Julia: Oh REALLY. What makes it a go-to then?
Adam: It's expensive and VERY large for a TV show, with really nice special effects mostly and like 1,000 shooting locations
Julia: Everyone is like "ooooh Game of Thrones"
Adam: And a lot of the actors are really, really good!
Julia: Huh! Well, better get to getting mono then. OK SO why won’t you listen to “Serial?”
Adam: I feel like Sarah was making me do all the work.
Julia: She is!
Adam: But I like my perspective of having done very little research and still being certain Adnan is guilty. See, what's nice is, based on what we do for a living and my penchant for small lies, most people assume I have seen it and I just never disabuse them of this notion
Adam: I have every excuse to actually get to it because I am always driving from one place to another place (hahaha Atlanta :(). And I LOVE the Mailchimp joke. What am I missing??
Julia: Maybe nothing? Huh.
Adam: But you know what I LOVE, is reading about people reacting to Serial
(b/c I am a broken person)
Adam: So I guess Sarah got me in the end.
WHEW OK WE ARE ALMOST FINISHED
Seriously, you have to read the Lindsay Lohan NYT piece.
So the deal with this Lilo profile in NYT Mag is that it is simultaneously deliciousand harrowing, chock with details about on-set breakdowns and naked directors and day-long disappearances, with one of the best opening sentences in 21st-century journalism. It’s like the catalogue after a train wreck — here are the broken lights, here is where the guardrail got twisted — but told to you by one of the chatty EMTs who was first on the scene. And it gets Lindsay, without confusing that for any kind of nonsense about having to absolve her.
HERE’S WHERE YOU CAN FIND US (I HAD TO DROP THE “GO-TO” CONCEIT HERE BC IT IS JUST TOO FATIGUING BY THE END GOD I NEED A GLASS OF WINE OR SOMETHING JUST SO MANY LINKS MY GOD THE LINKS)
Important Dames Business!! LIVETWEET next Sunday, 9/4!!!!!
And coincidentally, now that Julia and Adam have sharpened your appetite to a fever pitch, it's a Lindsay Lohan-centric one!! To properly mourn the end of summer, we will be watching and livetweetingMEAN GIRLS, one of the greatest high school movies of all time!!!!! There will be more specifics in next week's email, including our hashtag (Maybe #MeanDames???? ONLY TIME WILL TELL!) but for now: SET ASIDE YOUR EVENING and START GETTING JAZZED!!!!