It’s a Friday Open Thread, but on a Thursday!

Hi, Straddlers! If you’ve been around for a while, you’ll recall that we used to have a lot of open threads here on Autostraddle dot com. And if you’re brand new or simply never clicked on those posts, you may be wondering, what is an open thread?! Whether you’ve been here since 2009 and pine for the days we did Friday Open Threads on a weekly basis or whether you just discovered Autostraddle and joined A+ yesterday, I’m here to invite you to the giant sparkly slumber party that I hope today’s open thread will become!

An open thread is, quite simply, a place where commenters can gather together and chat about anything y’all wanna talk about! Sometimes they’re themed, sometimes they’re feelings atriums to process hard events, sometimes they’re silly, sometimes they’re sexy… but they’re always open, honest, and ideally, a lot of fun!

Over the years we’ve stopped publishing open threads as regularly as we used to for a variety of reasons (for the most part it was hard to compete with the kinds of conversations that now happen easily on social media and it was challenging for our staff to keep up with writing and hosting them) but we often hear from readers that you miss them. So today, in honor of our 13th birthday this month (!) and the extraordinary fundraiser Nicole is leading to keep us going (hopefully for 13 more years and then some!) we are hosting a rare and special open thread!

So, welcome! Hop into the comments and get chatting! Some potential topics to start us off: What’s your favorite meal you made this week? What was your favorite thing to do at sleepovers when you were 13? Are you watching Killing Eve? Which entry on this list most resonated with you? Have you gifted a friend an A+ membership yet? What do you love most about Autostraddle? What do you love most about your friends? What do you love most about yourself? I’ll try my best to pop in throughout the day but for the most part, this open thread is a place for YOU to be yourselves. Enjoy, and as always — thank you, for everything. Really truly. You’re the reason we’re all here, and we wouldn’t be without you.

That’s my favorite part of Autostraddle, for the record, always and forever: you.

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  1. I have actually missed these open threads! Happy birthday Autostraddle, thank you for existing <3
    And I'm sad I missed the call for gay things I did when I was 13.
    #27 made me laugh, especially because it means we must be a similar age and MSN screennames were so serious in the early 2000s.

  2. Would anyone like to swap queer audiobook/podcast recs?
    I’m particularly into romance/romantic elements and cosy audiofiction just now.

    My recommendations are:
    “The Girl Next Door” by Chelsea M. Cameron and “The Secret Lives of Church Ladies” by Deesha Philyaw (audiobooks)

    “The Strange Case of Starship Iris” and “Me & AU” (podcasts)

    • i will always recommend _hood_ by emma donoghue, which isn’t really cozy or light (huge tw for death and homophobia) but it is very beautiful and my favorite book for a reason. plus there’s a boy cat named Grace who features prominently so

  3. awwww i have missed these! i never commented but would always read all the comments. but here i am again! does anybody know how to make being 21 a little bit more tolerable. because i’m so ??? all over the place all the time?? my emotions, sleep schedule, employment situation…

    also ok so I recently dropped out of college on the east coast and moved back to the midwest, chicago, partially bc it made the most sense for me (affordable, lots of things I like to do) partially so I could live near my parents (~2hrs away). i’m supposed to start college here in the fall (~1 yr left) but my parents might be moving to seattle in the next year or so and i don’t know whether to stick around in chicago (where I do love it) or move to be in seattle with my parents (OR, most of the rest of my family lives in the bay area of california, so i’m considering moving to berkeley or oakland or san jose (i guess) and trying to finish school at a uc or cal state). i do really value being close to family, and i don’t have /that/ many friends in chicago, i could do the other stuff i like in seattle or the bay, the weather is nicer.. on the other hand the cost of living is SO high, i might end up having to live /with/ the family instead of on my own, transit is bad out there and i don’t drive… anyway if anybody has ideas on any of these things like please help

    • I don’t have a ton of advice for being 21 except that eventually you won’t be 21 anymore and you’ll be grateful. Hang in there, basically.

      As for the moving question, I can say i wish i had focused more on affordability when choosing where to live in my early 20s. To be fair my city was exponentially more affordable 10 years ago than it is now, but I now feel stuck here because it’s very hard to save up for a move when your rent is super high. So if you’re willing to live with your parents indefinitely, go for the move to an expensive area. No shame in having familial support if you can get it, especially if you get along well with your parents. But if you’d be mainly supporting yourself, stick to somewhere you can afford to live. If your cost of living is lower, you’ll be able to afford trips to see your family.

    • I hear you on being 21! My 20s were super rough in terms of everything being all over the place. I hate when people say it’s the best years of your life because for me that was absolutely not true. I know this isn’t super helpful but I will just say – hang in there, 30s are so much better (at least for me and so many of my friends) so just know life won’t be like this forever. If I could go back and tell my 21 yr old self anything it would be to let go of the feeling that I have to have everything figured out and that choices in my 20s would determine my entire future. Because yes choices and events in my 20s impacted where I am now, but it wasn’t the be all and end all with no chance to re-route that it felt like. Especially college decisions! Majors and minors just really don’t matter outside of academia the way they make it seem.

      I’ll also add that I live in Seattle and haven’t had a car for over 7 years. It is a very expensive area to live, and the cheaper areas have worse public transit, but not driving isn’t impossible. I haven’t found that it’s any more difficult to make friends here than anywhere else’s I’ve lived, and if you’re in college that makes it easier, but some people say the “Seattle freeze” is a thing and makes finding a community hard.

      On a personal note, my family lives very far from me and while I’m happy with the life I’ve built and feel I made the right choice in where to live, I do wish I was closer to my family – so if moving to be close to family feels important I would encourage that. Again, it’s not permanent! If you move out to the west coast and hate it, Chicago isn’t going anywhere.

      • yes! i’m trying to be patient with myself and remember that like, my brain is not done developing yet and it’s ok to struggle sometimes. thank you for the info about seattle, it’s helpful to hear from someone who really knows!

    • Seattle is close to Portland… and I’ve always been drawn to Portland and moved here once I graduated HS. I went to PSU (Portland State University) and I highly recommend. Portland also has great transit, we have the MAX. It’s about a 2-3 hour train ride up to Seattle so you would be able to visit your family frequently too. People are just so accepting here and you feel it everywhere. I would consider thinking about it!

      Also, you might be thinking about the weather. It’s rainy in the winter months but the summers are absolutely gorgeous and basically sunshine the entire time.

  4. Happy birthday Autostraddle and welcome back FOT. I missed you!!!

    Love all the birthday content and am a bit sad to be too busy with work at the moment to comment more regularly. Life with 40+ is less fun than with 13. Less horses and slumber parties also 😁

  5. Is anyone else dealing with their job making them return to the office? I’m going to have to go back to the office in a month and I am not doing well at dealing with it. I’m so angry, insulted, and upset to a level that honestly surprises me. All of the reasons they give for making us go back are so patronizing and could easily be handled remotely. They had the audacity to say they are confident the benefits would outweigh the cost and yeah, maybe if I was a CEO/VP making that level of money and only had to go in once or twice a week it would. But I don’t make that kind of money and will have to be in the office every day but Friday, and since the benefits of WFH have been physical and mental health and work life balance and financial for me I can confidently say the benefits will not outweigh the costs. I wish I didn’t like my job so it made more sense to start job hunting. And don’t even get me started on how the pandemic isn’t actually over and all signs point towards another rise in cases in another month or two. At least my company has a vaccine mandate to be in the office but still.

    I keep telling myself to reframe this in a positive light, to think about the good things and proactively start planning and doing things like freezing a bunch of meals and waking up earlier so going back is easier – but I’m so angry and upset that I’m being stubborn and refusing to engage in any positive reframing about this. Which I know is stupid and I’m probably making it worse on myself but that’s where I’m at, emotionally.

    It’s really hard to be told how amazingly everyone has been doing for two years, and be asked to fill out polls with my ideal schedule and feelings about wfh vs. office, and know most employee’s feelings match mine, and then have all those things ignored because a bunch of old men can’t imagine not having a fancy office where they can see people working long hours.

    Anyway this is an invitation to come rant with me and be overly dramatic about something that, in the grand scheme, is not really that terrible!! But let’s lean into the 13 yr old sleepover theme and throw ourselves a pity party!

    (And I mean, if you have found healthy ways to work through your feelings and prepare to return, you could share those too I guess)

    • I have had the exact same issue this week. They aren’t making us come in every day, but it’s still a lot more than most people wanted (and people who wanted to go in more are free to go in more, I don’t see why that should dictate when I go in).
      I think my main fury is that they asked everyone to say what they wanted and have totally ignored what people said. If they were going to dictate anyway I wish they’d been more honest about it.
      If they have a vaccine mandate at your place can you pretend you’re unvaccinated and stay home? Or is that too cheeky/risky?

      • Haha that’s sort of delightfully cheeky! Unfortunately I already had to provide proof of vaccination since I work on some state and federal gov projects.

        And yes, it’s the ignoring what we actually want that’s part of the rage for me as well. Especially because they tried to couch it in such paternalistic terms, that they’d decided this was the best thing for us.

    • I don’t have much advice but am here to offer commiseration. I had to go back to the office/classroom last fall and I nearly had a nervous breakdown over it because I was absolutely not ready. I was able to negotiate a partial leave for the first semester to ease myself back in slowly, and I think that helped a lot – is there any chance you might be able to request something like that? See if they’ll let you go in for just two or three days a week for the first few months? I don’t know if that’s possible, but anyway I sympathize with your struggles and I hope it goes ok for you.

  6. Nice to see the open threads are back. I am right now having trouble meeting queers for dating/queering it up reasons since 2020. On the other hand I’ve been fortunate at making friends in person(with people usally cooler & less awkward than me). In fact, now part of a crew of awesome ftwn-b riders who also like hanging out on dirt roads at the top of mountains, shredding the patriarchy & drinking beer &/or kombucha. It’s been a good distraction from how slow work has been & the hellscape that is world. It’s also been a solid confidence booster.

    Recently I’ve been watching a lot of city planning YouTube videos & a part of me kind of wants to work in city planning. I had 2 electives related to city planning in college & it was cool, but as I get older, I can appreciate it more, but it also horrified at how poorly most cities in US & Canada are when compared to Europe. It also would be cool to queer up cities more, cause queerer cities are safer cities.

  7. Happy 13th Birthday, Autostraddle!!!

    I’m also really disappointed that I missed the deadline for the gayest thing I did when I was 13, so I’ll share the story I would have submitted here. I couldn’t come up with anything right away because 13 didn’t seem like a particularly queer year for me, so I had to do what I would best describe as a mental archaeological excavation into my past for any clues of queerness, and once I was able to remember exactly what media I was watching at the time, that unlocked a bunch of memories and feelings full of new queer context and connections and meanings. So here is just one of the gayest things I did when I was 13.

    High School Musical had just come out, and I had a huge crush (though I had no idea this is what it was) on Ashley Tisdale, Vanessa Hudgens, and Zac Efron. Our school held a charity carnival in the gym every year right before spring break, and our homeroom decided to host a karaoke booth, so of course I brought in my CD of HSM karaoke tracks for anyone to use. I wanted to sing “Breaking Free”, Gabriella and Troy’s duet and one of my favorite songs from the movie, but I couldn’t think of anyone to ask to sing it with me even though I was in choir, and for some reason I just really wanted to sing both parts of this duet, so I got up in front of almost half the school and performed the whole song all by myself, even though I’m sure it was kinda weird and completely mediocre (especially since our school’s Sharpay and Ryan — literally, they were also a sister and brother pair who were professional-level talented — had brought down the house with their performance of this song a little while before me, just to show you how much I felt like this specific song was the one I had to perform even though it made no sense for me to do). This was one of the most mortifying yet boldest things I’ve ever done in my life, so a pretty classic memory of what it’s like being 13.

  8. Yes, there are a lot of us angry out here, and we gotta apply for jobs where we get to be fully remote. Leave the paternalistic BS behind.

    Protect yourself. No one else will.

    And while you’re at it, be sure to ask for more money. Those of us who are queer/female/BIPOC are underpaid and undervalued, and we don’t even realize how often we settle for less. Now that I’m close to retirement I see this even more clearly. Yikes.

  9. hello i missed open threads! happy thursday, chag purim sameach!

    i’ve been slowly trying to get my cat accustomed to the concept of the outdoors because i think she has potential as a backpack cat and now that the weather is nice (knock wood, maybe spring will stick!) we’re doing Porch Enrichment. she likes to sit on the deck and make little hunting chirps when birds fly by

  10. I missed the boat on this yesterday because I was at my girlfriend’s, reading for work (postdoc life), then picking my mom up at the airport, but I did still want to hang out here belatedly. (Side note: why are the Burbank airport traffic cops so darn strict?! If the person you’re picking up isn’t there in 30 seconds, they start shooing you away and making you loop around again. I wish they had a cell phone lot to wait like the Denver airport does.)

    I didn’t do much cooking this week, just some rice, but my girlfriend made us some corn with Serrano chiles and cilantro the other day, plus some fresh tortilla chips. She made the beans we had with that too, during the previous time she visited. We are both relishing the experience of dating a fellow Mexican-American with similar taste in food.

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