Cupshe, A Public Service Announcerant

I don’t generally consider myself any more intelligent or knowledgeable than the average person I pass on the street. So it always throws me off when I discover that something I know isn’t common knowledge. But it seems I am discovering more and more that I was a friendless nerd growing up, and I sought the company of random and seldom useful data on the Internet more than that of my peers.

In any matter, I always feel morally…maybe civically obligated to share these things. So on that note, my cousin texted me.

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My family is going on a trip next month, and she sent me this picture of the outfit she was getting. It’s cute, and she said our other cousin ordered one too, and it might be fun if we all matched. She sent me a link to the site. She didn’t give me a direct link to the outfit for sale, only the home page. So I had to wander through the whole site to find this piece. And the more pages I clicked, the more I scrolled through, the more confidence I lost in this clothing company.

“Have you bought things from this site before,” I asked my cousin.

“No, but it seems pretty legit. I found it on Pinterest!”

Pretty…legit…

…Pinterest..

Legit…  

No.

So much…no.

Where do I begin? Well first off, I became initially skeptical because, as I started clicking on items, all of the pictures on the description page were blurry. How can you sell something as visual as fashion, and not feature clear imaging of what you’re selling? Every item for sale.cupshe-1Then… well, let me just show you a few photos.
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We have what looks like a professional fashion shoot photo, a kind of sexual photo of some oompa loompa tanned blonde chick, and a… a sweater. Just a sweater, chilling by itself.

Uhm, question.

How the feezy do these three pictures come from the same source? I’m supposed to believe that this is a reputable business? A business who posts bathroom selfies of garments for sale and believes that’s viable marketing? Surely we have not gotten that bad as a society yet. I mean, I know we’re close, but we can’t be there yet.

This was the point in time that I texted my cousin back and asked if she had purchased clothes from this site before. And she said no, but the photo of the outfit she bought was on Pinterest.

Because if it’s on the Internet, it must be legit, right?

Pinterest is a great website. You make a profile, and you can create pinboards to post your interests and catagorize them. It’s aesthetically nice, as you just endlessly scroll through nice pictures from other users that you follow, and repin what you like. You can add the Pinterest widget to your browser so if you like a picture from anywhere on the Net, you can immediately pin it to one of your boards on the platform. And the cool thing is, each pinned picture is actually a saved hyperlink to the webpage it originated from. That’s why it’s so great for the crafty among us. Recipes, needlework patterns, shopping, fitness routines, beauty how-tos, whatever! You can go back to them whenever you want by just clicking your pin later on.

What?

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How could you tell I’ve been a member of Pinterest since it began, back when you needed to be invited and only considered to join after a social media background check?

So why is “I got it from Pinterest,” then, not a legitimate excuse to purchase anything online?

Because Pinterest, while it likes to act as though it is more sophisticated and classy than other websites, gets its content from us. Just like every other social media platform. 

And we, as the mass populace, don’t do things right, and have the collective intelligence level: stupid

That will always be the downfall of social media. The users generate the content, and people are generally morons. Pinterest worked hard for years to screen their members and educate its users of plagiarism, copyright, and sourcing, and of course people still pinned images from Google, or didn’t cite sources of content, or didn’t question the validity of the sites they visited for these pins. And over time, when it comes to buying things and using Pinterest to find what you want, the site has effectively become the Wikipedia of eCommerce. Just because it’s there, doesn’t mean it’s true.

Now then, so far we have a sketchy source, an even sketchier display of product, and I’m still ranting, so what else is wrong? Well with all of those red flags, I decided to research reviews of the website.

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But let me stop being mean. There are some positive reviews…

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…in broken English.

It is with the legitimacy and trustings. I am the convinced.

I digress. Anyways, it took me a whole two minutes to find all of this information. It’s so easy to look things up online that it pains me to discover that people just don’t. Or don’t even think to, or find something off about these Chinese discount fashion websites. I feel like getting sucked into these things is today’s equivalent of getting conned by Nigerian princes emailing you for help. You should know better.

I mean, you can go ahead and take your chances. I’ve purchased plenty of things from Chinese sellers that seemed too good to be true. But I at least knew I was taking a risk, and that the best case scenario is generally that I get something of okay to low quality, maybe on time. Anyone buying things with the highest expectations, because they saw it on Pinterest, kinda deserves the L.

UPDATE: Luckily, my cousins did in fact receive their packages in time for our trip to Cuba. I’d consider them some of the few success stories, so huzzah. I instead, opted to have my aunt make me a similar cover up so I could kinda still join my cousins in the whole matching thing. It came out amazing.

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Handmade wrap skirt, courtesy of @2ChicDesigns!

TL;DR: Word to the wise, check the legitimacy of online shopping sites before you throw your money at them. And no, don’t take your inquiry to Pinterest. Hopefully happy online shopping to you all.

 

The Most Unnecessary One-Sided Two Year Standoff

I occasionally view my life as a cinematic experience, with each day or notable experience being another episode. Most of these episodes are partly based in reality, and partly whatever my imagination runs with based on that experience. I can usually tell the difference.

Usually..

But, sometimes I get lost in the dramatic and end up with an arch nemesis.

No matter how many times I remind myself that I’m getting carried away in the weirdness that is my own head, and that it is, in no way, representative of real life, I still didn’t let this go. For two whole years.

So, here goes.

It always starts with a guy, doesn’t it? While this story is ridiculous, it begins pretty typically. Well, kind of.

So there was this guy.

And I decided that I needed to know this guy, because this guy was really talented and I liked his face. Due to his profession(DJ) and his aforementioned likable face, I figured he got approached by women pretty often.

Probably attractive women.

Women who don’t dress like they live underneath City Hall.

Women who don’t act like their socialization was exclusively left up to playing The Sims growing up.

I needed to stand out, is what I’m saying. In a way that didn’t rely on my neglected looks, social ineptitude, or age, because I was twenty and couldn’t lurk at his parties. I needed a different direction.

So I knit him a hat.

I know right? Genius.

I knit a hat for him and two members of his crew. I also ended up selling one to a DJ in San Francisco and a local event promoter. I got a nice little 15 minutes of Instagram fame, twas fun. Anyways!

I have this thing… where I make a knitted good, give it away, and then obsess about its condition constantly.

Did I tie in the ends correctly? What if it unravels and falls apart? What if it’s not big enough for their head? What if it SPONTANEOUSLY COMBUSTS? Why don’t I see them wearing it? Did they like it? A pack of coyotes took it, didn’t they? Or a dingo ate the beanie. I can make it again, y’know. I can fix it! I don’t mind. Just let me know! Just, I just need to know where it is, how it’s doing, if it’s happy, if it’s getting ample sunlight and riboflavin, I don’t know. I…I just need to know if it’s okay. IS IT OKAY?

I got to hand deliver one hat to likable-face person, and he was happy. We selfie’d together while he wore it. He tagged me in posts of him wearing the hat online in the weeks following. Everything was cool. I was at ease. 1 hat down.

A friend delivered the next hat for me. He recounted the giving away of the hat, and I was again tagged in a post online of the beanie with an accompanied thanks. Everything was cool. I was at ease. 2 hats down.

Conflicting schedules prevented a proper exchange with the receiver of the last one. So when I saw online of an event for Record Store Day, I decided to go and deliver the hat there. He wasn’t there when I arrived, and I had to leave because I forgot about a prior engagement. I left the beanie with the store clerk and left.

I never heard about the hat, nor did another opportunity to meet ever spring up. Everything was uncertain. I was not at ease. 2 hats down. ONLY 2 HATS DOWN. TWO HATS DOWN OUT OF THREEand a growing paranoia that the third one was probably on fire somewhere.

Flash forward to Summer 2014. There was a free concert in Rittenhouse Square, and I was working with one of the performing artists. A lot of friends and music-y people came out. It was quite the affair. Until…

So I’m standing around with my uncle, waiting for everything to start. A friend walks up and says hey. We chat for a while. And then, hwalks up. The receiver of the third hat. Yeah, did you think I was still talking about Likeable-Face Person? No, no, forget that guy. If this story were about him, it would make too much sense.

So he says hi to our friend, and our friend introduces him to my uncle.

I am standing in between my uncle and our friend. Like, in the middle of the two. Dead center. Note this. And he is standing directly in front of the three of us.

He shakes hands with my uncle. And I’m kind of just waiting for a quarter of a millisecond of eye contact so I can introduce myself like, “Hey nice to formally meet you, I made you that hat and stuff.” Like…you wouldn’t just interject to introduce yourself in the middle of something you weren’t part of, right? I’m too socially remedial to know for sure, but I’m pretty sure you wait for some kind of an “in.” I was waiting for that “in.” But no. That “in” never happened.

He looks back over to our friend and says, “Well good seeing you, man,” AND WALKS AWAY.

I told you I was right in between my uncle and our friend, right? So he meets my uncle and then shifts his gaze right past me to say bye to our friend. AND WALKS AWAY, I REITERATE.

………..

Huh?

Am I… visible?

Can ANYONE see me?

Am I even really here? I’m here, right? Panic set in. I poked my uncle and waved my arms frantically in his face, “CAN YOU SEE ME? DID YOU FEEL THAT?”

“What the hell is wrong with you?”

“SO YOU DID??? It’s just HIM then! He… he shunned me.”

Shunned.

But why? Was I hard to see? I’m six feet of person, there’s no way. Did he reach his meeting-people quota for the day after meeting my uncle? OH MY GOSH, the hat probably caught fire. Or he broke it. Or it grew sentience and left to live its own life. Or maybe he never got it. The clerk kept it for himself and never said anything about it and he thought I was lying when I told him I left it at the record store for him. He thinks I’m a liar. His head is probably still cold…in the middle of summer.. Oh my gosh I could have fixed all of this if he just said something. But he shunned me. Shunned. 

It could have just ended there. I could have let it go because it wasn’t like I was going to see him often enough for it to matter. It would have just been one of many awkward interactions you have in a lifetime to never recall again, as is life.

But no. The next day I scroll through my Instagram feed to see a video clip of the show from his account. I managed to see myself in the background among the crowd. Y’kno, standing dead center in between my uncle and our friend. Very clearly not invisible. Relatively easy to see and difficult to shift a gaze right past and whatever. I posted a comment like, “Hah I see myself in the background, great night” or something like that.

No reply.

Shunned again. Digitally shunned. It was official, this was no mistake. He hated the hat. He must have set it on fire himself, I thought.

My 21st birthday rolls around, and I start hitting all of the parties these guys throw that I had been missing out on all this time. I mean I’m not so crazy, guys. I knew none of this was real outside my mind. So when I started going out, I had full intention of finally introducing myself and becoming friends IRL. Yeah, side note: We were Facebook friends and followed each other on Instagram since I made the first hat, like…this was all after that. Another post for another day but those don’t translate over to real life very smoothly for me, which brings us to this debacle.

There were maybe two or three instances where I was chilling out at a party and was like, Yup I’m gonna formally meet this dude tonight so this can stop being weird and everything is gonna be coolin’ and yeah. And as I approach or see him coming up to the bar where I’m sitting, ready to tap him and say hi or whatever, SOMETHING HAPPENS WHERE HE STRAIGHT UP SWERVES ON ME AND TALKS TO SOMEONE ELSE JUST. BESIDE. ME.

SHUNNED. again and again.

learned hopelessness

I was just never going to meet him. I mustered up all the courage to meet him that I had. There was none left. And the more time to pass would make it even less appropriate to introduce myself because we weren’t complete strangers. Just in real life. I can repost your mixes on Soundcloud, you can like my Insta posts about coffeeshops, but..what? Would I ask how your daughter is doing in person when I’ve never spoken to you before for you to tell me you have a daughter? That’s not okay. That’s creepy. It’s this weird social limbo space. And so I marked him my Arch Nemesis, because we could never be cool, and I avoided him at all costs.

Do you know how hard that was? I ran into him, everywhere.

He went to all of the Night Markets and other food festivals.

He coffee’d in the Philly coffee scene like I did.

He’d be the opening DJ for every concert I went to.

HE BECAME MY NEIGHBOR.

Okay, I became his neighbor I guess, but like…details? He still doesn’t need to walk out of restaurants right as I’m walking past or use the trolley at the same time as me. It takes so much out of me to be normal and calmly, un-screamingly get away as fast as possible without being spotted every time.

I had a friend once try to trap me into an introduction after a concert. He was my ride to the party afterward, but I caught on…I saw him conversing with my Arch Nemesis, and I left the venue and took the sub to the party instead. I was dedicated. I would die before having another awkward exchange with this man, or worse yet get shunned an nth time.

But two years of dipping, ducking, fast walking, and silent screaming all came to a crash and burn. I slipped up last month.

I was at Likable-Face Person’s party. It was the end of the night and all the cool people who don’t get kicked out when the bar closes, and me, were standing around talking. I was adding to the conversation while also looking down at my phone. Someone replies to my comment, and as I say something back I look up and it was himMy Arch Nemesis.

We had conversed. I said a thing. He said a thing back. And I responded again. That was dialogue.

Dammit. Alright Storm, don’t you dare scream. Calm down, stop breathing so fast…uh..uhhh…go to the bathroom or something. Or I don’t know do so–

“Storm, you ready? Let’s go,” I hear my ride yell from the front door.

SAVIOURRRRRRR. And I thought I had gotten away for good.

But there we were, at another party just a week or two later. Same scene. End of the night. Everyone chatting. I had stepped away into another circle of more chats. But in a break of topics, I was directly addressed by my Arch Nemesis. And I was trapped, acting normal, talking back and having conversation. It was…nice. I hated it. The voice inside my head was hoarse from screaming endlessly. And then,

“…You know that hat you made has gotten passed around to everyone in the family. My daughter wears it most now.”

Oh my God, the hat is…okay?

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That’s…all I wanted. Th-thank..you.

So we’re like…friends now? We hugged, it’s kinda official. I met his family. His wife is really nice. Soooo hooray reconciliation? …of a beef nobody knew was a thing? Yeah, hooray!

Even still, that didn’t stop me from seeing him at the co-op market last week and scurrying away to stare at kale until the coast was clear and only then going to the register to check out..

Old habits die hard I guess.