SATURDAY OPEN THREAD: Everyone Is At Camp Except Me (and You, Probably)

HEY hello hi you there YES hi it’s the Friday (+1) Open Thread! I am delirious with lack of sleep and excessive caffeine, and I would like to hear all your thoughts and feelings and definitely photos, yes photos, I want to hear your photos ok that’s a thing now. Welcome to the one place on the internet where you should most definitely read the comments.

So I’m not at Camp and I’m gonna guess you’re not either, unless you’re reading this on your phone in the crafts cabin because human interaction got overwhelming. (Hello, Brianna!) It’s all good though WE GOT THIS. I am currently in my A-Camp hoodie, which is practically the same thing. I mean, this hoodie has taken an awkward photo with Allison Weiss in a bar in Soho, y’all, that’s almost as gay as a million queers on a mountain.

And here’s my girlfriend in cat pants, JUST BECAUSE.

So many things to tell you about this week – the UK local and EU elections were on Thursday, that might be a thing of interest to maybe two of you? I see you, politics geeks, and you are not alone. Here’s a fun fact: as a Singaporean and resident of the UK, I am eligible to vote for the European Parliament elections as a Commonwealth citizen. Here’s another fun fact: three years of studying political theory (not entirely voluntarily) means that I can now talk at length about post-national configurations of citizenship as illustrated by this bizarre voting situation, but what I can’t do is figure out how to get myself on an electoral roll in a timely fashion. SORRY, DEMOCRACY.

And speaking of post-national citizenship (as you do), I just submitted my dissertation! Yesterday, in fact. An hour before the deadline. I have since celebrated LIKE A BOSS by… returning all my library books.

Taken in my school library at 3 this morning. PARTY ANIMALS, THE LOT OF US.

Taken in my school library at 3 in the morning. PARTY ANIMALS, THE LOT OF US.

I learnt that if you camp out overnight in school less than twelve hours before your 10,000-word paper is due and forget to bring your laptop charger, the sheer sense of panic and impending doom makes you procrastinate way less. Earlier this week I downloaded my Twitter archive because I hit 25,000 tweets (shh don’t judge) and it turns out that every year without exception May is the month in which I tweet the most. Why? EXAMS. Exams make me feel like talking to the world about everything all the time – and I am very, very far from what you would call a “people person” (or sometimes even “capable of functioning in the presence of other humans”). Here’s a brief list of other things I’ve done this week while procrastinating:

  • Offered to host this not-at-camp open thread situation
  • Offered to carry my girlfriend’s child (she turned me down)
  • Cleaned all my typewriter keys with blutack
  • Unsuccessfully attempted to hunt down the first issue of Lumberjanes
  • Sent cat photos to people on WhatsApp I otherwise rarely talk to (they sent cat photos back, I highly recommend this)
  • Started rewatching OITNB

Now that 60% of my final year’s work has been submitted (and 82% of my overall degree is done!), I feel sure enough of my upcoming graduation to be able to tell people that I’m headed to Columbia next year to do a year-long MA in Sociology. SO. Teach me how to America, you guys. Tell me in the comments what you would say to someone who’s really nervous about crossing the pond for many reasons ranging from “cycling on the wrong side of the road” to “racial profiling at immigration.” Teach me the tricks of renting rooms in NYC. Do you have Walkers salt & vinegar crisps there? Do any of you have a cat I can pet within walking distance of Morningside Heights? Why do none of your measurement systems make any sense to me?

And in return, a thing from Singapore. Pink Dot SG, our one “pride” event, is far from perfect (and by that I mean “induces in me a fair amount of cynicism and distress”) but this video has some of my favourite people in it and at the end of the day this is a community I’m proud to belong to, so:

Now it’s your turn! Talk to me about anything and everything. I’ll be here all week, putting off reading the Leviathan just one more day forever.

How To Post a Photo In The Comments:

1. Find a photo!This is the easy part. Find a photo on the web, right click (on a Mac, control+click), hit “Copy Image URL,” and then…

2. Code it in to your comment! Use the following code:

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*How To Post a Video In The Comments, Too:

1. Find a video on YouTube or Vimeo or WHATEVER and click “embed.” Copy that code, but first make sure it’s for 640px wide or less. If your player is too large, it will not display properly.

2. Copy the code and paste it directly into your comment.

3. Go forth and jam.

Two very detailed and helpful guides that explains how to do these things with more context are here and here!

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Fikri has written 61 articles for us.


  1. I wish I were in that library!!! It looks awesome. I am not at camp either, sadly. Maybe this fall.

    Instead I am at home vacuuming and reading this biography about a wild woman environmentalist. It’s called Untamed and it is awesome.

    • That library never fails to fill me with hatred and loathing, though that might have more to do with the school it’s part of than the building itself.

      Today in continuing with my SUPER EXCITING post-dissertation celebrations I vacuumed all the cat hair in my room. IT WAS AWESOME.

  2. I’m not at camp either, but I wrote my last high school exam this week! I officially survived the International Baccalaureate program and it feels great.

    Next week is grad week with fancy clothes so I’m looking forward to hopping all over the gender presentation spectrum.

    • Dude, I’m a junior in IB, which means this semester has consisted of me crying in a corner over IAs and my EE. I do not have any exams this year, which is good, but that means I’ll have all six next year. I can’t wait (not). Good job, though, on completeing the program.

      • I know exactly how you feel. What’s your EE topic? If it’s something you enjoy, then the whole thing is ten times easier.

        And as for the exams, they’re not as stressful as you think they’ll be if you start studying really early. Hang in there because it’s totally worth it! :D

        • My topic is on the exclusivity of 2nd wave feminism and how this contributed to 3rd wave feminism. Needless to say, I am actually very excited to write it. The only difficult part is staying within the parameters of a history topic. Its hard not to talk about current events!
          And thanks for the support! Sometimes I just need someone reminding me it will all be worth it in the end! :)

    • Congratulations! I don’t know what I’m wearing to graduation myself – I don’t own any formal wear, and I would wear a kebaya (which would count as formal wear at home, and which I do own) but I don’t want to deal with 1. “omg you finally look like a woman!” (I am not at all uncomfortable in feminine “traditional” wear but I am uncomfortable with people’s reactions to it) and 2. being the school’s ~face of diversity~. The problems of brown baby butches. Also I should add 3. NOTHING MATCHES MY HAIR.

      • Arg, that’s a tough situation and people’s reactions to femininity when they don’t expect it can be the worst.

        On the plus side, your hair is the coolest!

  3. I started re-watching OITNB this week too! I was invited to hear Dr. Kristopher Wells speak along with about 20 other students from high schools within my school district and we were able to give our input on how they can improve our schools in regards to the LGBTQ community. My niece turned one week old and I can’t wait to meet her next month! I also found out when I have my last ever high school test which is so exciting and also scary, I don’t know how I feel about starting college and joining the grown up world.

    • As someone who hated highschool, I must say that college has been wonderful for me. Good luck!

    • AHHH, SMALL HUMAN. <3 You don't have to know how to feel, just let yourself feel all the things. Some things will go as you expect, others won't, and it'll all be totally okay. You got this! (Also, don't sweat it – "college" and "the grown up world" are very far from the same thing.)

      • Isn’t she so sweet!? I can’t help but show all of my people tons of pictures of her. I’m so happy to be an auntie! Haha. You are very much right, it will be okay. Even though I’m totally stressed about starting college I’m also completely stoked, I can’t wait to get out of high school and I can’t wait to start taking classes I’m super interested in.

        • I def wasted way too much of my undergrad taking classes I wasn’t super interested in (because of inflexible degree requirements and a general failing education system under austerity). Then I took a sociology class on ‘race’/ethnicity this year and it changed a lot of things for me, and like you I’m both excited and scared to be starting a Masters course in it later this year. Good luck to both of us!

    • If you look closely there’s a topshop label on them (my friend was also curious)

      • Wow, even I didn’t notice that. Yes it’s from Topshop! It was for a ridiculous amount of money (SGD60/£30) but it was cat pants.

  4. I am the politics geek who was wondering about Commonwealth citizens and the European Union, so thank you!

    • Clearly I know my core demographic. EU citizens in the UK aren’t allowed to vote in local elections, unless they’re from Malta or Cyprus, because colonialism!

  5. I’m trying to talk myself out of my pajamas at 2:30 in the afternoon to go track down a copy of Lumberjanes #2.

    • I’m trying to talk myself into putting on pants and going grocery shopping. But I can also order take-out online. The internet has spoiled me so.

      • Today I woke up at 4pm and all I’ve done since is watch Netflix and order £16 worth of sushi (I don’t even really like sushi, it just seemed like a thing to do). I have not gotten out of my pyjamas. You’re in good* company.

        * subjective

        • I finally got myself out of pajamas and to the comic store, and they didn’t have it. Luckily there was a Humane Society next door so I consoled myself by petting some sad cats.

  6. I’ve been dealing with my not-at-camp feelings by stalking around Frankfurt and listening to songs with “Jealous” in the title (aka only Beyonce’s Jealous on repeat) while trying to find an apartment. There were lots of political things written in chalk on the streets today, I guess because of the elections! Gonna take another year to morph into a Concerned Citizen, this time I just American-accented my way out of my responsibilities.

    • I think I’d take political coverage done in chalk over BBC’s 24/7 UKIP/Nigel Farage song & dance any day. “We don’t understand why people are giving this man so much attention! … Welcome, Nigel, to your millionth Question Time appearance.”

  7. The EU elections are tomorrow where I am and I’m not voting because my voting place is in my village, 1h away by car (and i don’t have a car).
    I feel guilty, there’s a feminist party that looked cool. I hope the far right doesn’t get too many seats .___.

    • UKIP has gained something like 150+ seats, so that’s been fun. I am on the fence on the whole “vote!” vs “what’s the point” thing, especially since these are European elections that are pretty infamous for not being representative anyway, so… idk, I def understand your guilt but I also don’t blame you at all for not wanting to make such a pain-in-the-ass trip out.

      • I’m wondering what the difference is between Ukip and le front national (french far right), which is the party that will likely get a lot of votes this time around in France… But they’re basically both the worst D:

  8. Also struggling through UK exam season! I’m from North America and all of my friends are already done – I cannot wait to join them. On another note: any recommendations on gay clubs in London?

    • Not only are my exams later than my friends in the US and Singapore, the LSE does them later than all the London schools, too. It is the worst. Unfort I am also the worst at bars/clubs – I’ve been to Ku Bar a couple of times and stood awkwardly in a corner both times, and… that’s it really. Are you part of the AS London FB group?

  9. As a fellow nerd who has all the feelings about politics and loves theory, congratulations on finishing and submitting your dissertation!!!! Also, jealous of that gorgeous library of yours, and the fact you returned your books.

    I recently began doing background research for my thesis, so this week I took all the books out of my school library that relate to my topic. I can’t wait till my project is submitted in a few months so I can promptly celebrate by returning them all to their library home.

    As far as how to America, my biggest piece of advice would be to try to avoid Times Square after the de rigeur touristic visit when you get to NYC… It’s super cramped and filled with people. All. The. Time.

    • RETURNING ALL THE BOOKS FELT SO GOOD though I’ll admit I jumped the gun a little and dumped them before I was done done. I did my whole dissertation from start to finish in a week, which mean that for a week my backpack was stuffed with books that I carried around everywhere because you never know where you suddenly feel like writing a chapter.

      I’ve visited NYC actually, and done most of the tourist-y things. Over the winter holiday season, no less. They caused me much agony.

  10. Tomorrow is my birthday and all I can think about is how my brother’s birthday is supposed to be a couple of weeks after mine but he died on his birthday last year. And last year I was at a cabin having fun and being spoiled without knowing he only had a couple of weeks left to live. And I don’t want to be a drag on everyone wishing me genuine birthday wishes but I just really don’t care this year. Also I wish it was possible to cry without fucking snotting all over the place. Why does crying have to be so undignified?

    Those cat pants made me smile, tho. A world with cat pants can’t be an entirely hopeless place.

    • I’m so sorry Chandra! That’s so hard to have those dates close to each other.
      I’m the ugliest crier, too. I go from fine… straight to sobbing. And unable to speak for at least 10 minutes, until I can finally breathe. It’s the worst!

      P.S. Protip- I removed by birthday from fb this year because it was a hard week for me and I couldn’t deal with having a birthday. It worked really well, and almost no one knew about it! That way I could celebrate later, privately with friends when I was ready.

    • I’m so sorry to hear that. The world doesn’t only have cat pants but actual cats, and they’re pretty great even when everything else is awful. <3

    • *Hugs* I’m so sorry for your loss. While it’s NOT like losing a brother (not even close), my childhood dog died right after camp last year right after my birthday, too. I just wanted to say that you’re not the only one feeling weird and sad and your birthday. My birthday is on Tuesday. I hope tomorrow you’ll have lots of love and support. <3

      • I am so, so sorry for your loss. I lost my brother a week before my birthday, and his birthday is three days after mine. So, I can say with relative certainty that I understand the feelings of grief that come with the birthday time of year.

        I’m sorry that this year you don’t get to be spoiled in a cabin full of queers. I wish I could help you. It has been three years since my little brother died, and I still have days when snotty crying is the most I can do. All I can say is that you have support if you need it — and to be sure to self-care. It’s the best thing for grief, as little as it helps comparatively. <3

        • Katy, I’m very sorry to hear that you had to suffer the loss of your little brother as well. I hope my post didn’t bring up too many painful memories.

          Most of the time I can cope well enough, and the ugly cry-sessions are becoming less frequent. It’s just been harder than usual the last few days. I’m lucky to have a lot of wonderful and supportive people around me, though. I hope you did (and do) too.

          (And for the record, I wasn’t actually at A-Camp last year, so the only queers in my cabin were me and my girlfriend. :) She had rented a remote cabin on a lake as a surprise.)

  11. unless you’re reading this on your phone in the crafts cabin because human interaction got overwhelming. (Hello, Brianna!)

    hahaha Fikri I love this. I’m in the dining hall with 3,000 people so yes I actually wish I was in falcon instead.

  12. Today I tried to ask a person I like out, and got turned down so that super sucks. But now I don’t know whether I should continue to be sort-of-friends, or drop that relationship like a hot potato!
    Anyway, I need a girlfriend ASAP ’cause I can’t go to college next semester without ever having dated anyone ever! (Right?)

    • Oh man, I had that feeling–the I’ve never dated anyone, so I’ll never date anyone feeling–in high school, and then all through college, and then fell in love a year AFTER college. So don’t count on the past to absolutely predict the future. If it worked like that nothing would ever change.

      You’re asking people out! You’re on the right track!

      I’m also sorry, because I remember how annoying this advice was to me, when I measured my singlehood in geological time.

    • Plenty of people date other people for the first time in college (or even after college)! It’s a great place to figure out that whole dating thing.

    • Meh, you’d be surprised at the number of people who haven’t had a relationship yet when they get to college….heck, you’d be surprised at the number of people who still haven’t had a relationship after college. It happens….

      As far as how to USA, understanding our measurements is overrated. I work in a lab so I just use the metric system whenever possible.

    • Better to go to college unattached! I was far from the only one of my friends to have never been in a relationship when I got to college, and there is no one from high school who, looking back, I wish I had dated. However, I do strongly support random pre-college summer makeouts.

      • Seconding “Better to go to college unattached!” especially if you’re leaving your hometown and not (just) because I was dumped a month after moving here. However this comment has also made me reflect on the fact that all my girlfriends have been from high school, HM.

    • I was in relationships for years before I even started figuring out the dating thing. And it turns out “hooking up with your best friend” is not, in fact, a sustainable dating strategy. So good on you for asking someone out! Like everyone else has said, college is a great time to figure a lot of this shit out, and it’s always totally okay to do things on your own time.

    • So many people don’t have serious relationships (or even relationships, full stop) until after college. So many. ALL THE PEOPLE. Well, no, not all the people, obviously, but you’d be surprised how many people don’t find love until “late” in life.

      As for the hot potato quandary — can’t help you. Seems like no matter which way I go with that particular question, I screw up it. Best of luck?

    • At least you had the courage to try! Remember the piece Ali wrote about texting? ( if I could link it would, I’ll read her HTML lessons again) anyway, if you can find a way to still be friends great! Good luck!

    • Aw, you guys are all so sweet, it made me cry a little! Thank so much for your words of encouragement and advice! Y’all are AWESOME!

    • yes. you can go to college without the experience of previous loves. your first love is you anyway right? you do you…ever read The Secret?

    • i didn’t date til college so you are not alone. i actually just finished my undergrad with TOO many exes, ha ha ha XD

  13. My house is getting renovated and I’m hiding out in my room with the cats and rewatching House of Cards for inspiration on how to be a bad ass bitch a la Clare Underwood

  14. I would love to have an open thread closer to the GMT/CET timezone, in case this could become a thing….

  15. First of all – I remembered my username/password combination, yay!

    That library pic. I wish there was a library that big somewhere around here. Not that the ones I have access to are bad, but, well. Still.

    Those cat pants look supercute :D

    It seems my neighbour’s away, so I have the apartment building to myself. Nice. I’m considering watching Pitch Perfect (again), because why not. It’s such a lovely movie ^^

    Uhm, what else. I’m gonna vote tomorrow, I /think/ I know what to vote for. I’ve read a bit about all the parties, though I probably should have started doing that a little earlier. Oh well. There’s our other election in the fall, so I can do some more research up till then at least.

    Actually, now I’m not sure if I want to watch Pitch Perfect, or an episode of Farscape, or an ep of Orphan Black, or Primeval, Or Fringe, or… well. Maybe I should just read instead. Decisions, decisions. (Currently I’m reading Anna Karenina and Fingersmith, and I quite like them both. And I will so watch the Fingersmith adaptation when I’m done, and I have the Anna Karenina movie, with Keira Knightley, waiting for me when I’ve finished the book. :D)

    I wish I was at A-Camp. It sounds so awesome! One day I will go. *nods* Until then, I’ll read what’s written about it here, which is always fun. :)

    • Informed voting, I like it. If I had voted, I would have voted Green, and I know they wouldn’t have won but I’d have done it anyway. However I am really pleased to be living in a borough where UKIP got the lowest number of votes.

      I vote Orphan Black, and I look forward to meeting you at a future A-Camp!

  16. I’m in NYC for the Mark Morris Dance Group summer intensive but since I just got in very early this morning and slept ’til noon I’ve decided to head over to the lower east side and check out Bluestockings. Sounds awesome :) feels good to be lazy in the city.

    Also, don’t worry about it. I have lived in the states since I was 8 and the measuring system still doesn’t make sense to me. But then neither does the metric. I’m just not a numbers gal.

    Also major props for submitting your dissertation!!!! That’s freakin’ huge :)

    • Thank you! It didn’t sink in till today that I’m finally done with it, probably because yesterday I was so exhausted I couldn’t have told you my name… but I could have rehashed arguments about liberal nationalism vs postnationalism.

  17. I handed in my last final EVER on Monday and I, too, celebrated by returning my library books.


  18. After almost two years of mutually unacknowledged sexual tension with a friend, and several months of crazy awkward negotiations about what we both feel about each other (why did I ever think processing was just a silly stereotype?!), we finally kissed this week! I’d never kissed anyone before, so I’m a bit giddy :D

    • Trust me when I say I know EXACTLY how you feel. Here’s to plenty more months of processing – but now with kissing! – for you two.

  19. I can confirm the availability of Walkers Salt & Vinegar because without it, I could never have gotten my girlfriend to New York.

  20. It is sunday already here in NZ.
    I have found a recipe about 3 weeks ago that made me very excited to make. I made it last night and it was just as good as I had hoped it would be. It is a bit of a heart attack festival, but, worth it, if it is going to be an ongoing reason for said heart attack.

    It is Cheddar cheese, Granny Smith Apple, Leek and Rosemary pie in flaky puff pastry. Omg foodgasm.

    For my sins I am going on a walk today to try and repent.

  21. I just submitted by thesis paper, so I’m pretty relieved about that, but still have to plan a thesis exhibition (fine arts program). But I’m so close!
    Also, those cat pants are glorious.

    • I still have all my exams to go, but shh, let’s focus on the important things: no more theses for us. Congrats and good luck with the exhibition!

  22. Hi! I studied abroad in London for like 4 months-ish which means… I know a teeny tiny bit about life in the UK. Woo. So I will attempt to give some advice, I guess?!

    1. Crisps/chips. We do have Walkers in the USA, but they’re called Lays. Marvel in the hilarity of that for a moment. LAYS.

    2. Everyone here wears sweatpants all the time. I know London is a fashion city so I bet people wear sweats outdoors in other parts of the UK (Maybe? Do they?) but that was the first thing that shocked me when I came back from London. USA = land of sweatpants.

    3. People can be just as racist and ignorant here as anywhere else, probably even moreso. I know that going through British customs/immigration can be intense and weird, and I think that customs in the USA is fairly comparable. But people are also cool and nice sometimes, too! Just like anywhere, I guess.

    I don’t (and never have) lived in New York so I can’t give any regional advice. But, congratulations to you! I hope you have a wonderful experience and run into wonderful people way more than you run into shitty people.

    (Also I’m procrastinating on important life things such as preparing various things for work and applying for jobs. Whoops.)

    • Thank you! I am procrastinating on the rest of the things I need to do to graduate, look at us responsible humans. We have Lays instead of Walkers in Singapore, too, but they’re not the same. :( I’ve been through US customs four times now (twice for Camp) and each time it’s been bad enough for me to not want to go back… and then I end up committing to a year there.

    • Yeah, Manhattan’s probably more like London than Average Town USA in the clothing realm. Sweatpants are not something I remember seeing regularly outside of people’s bedrooms or maybe the gym while living there. Brunch in yoga pants? yes. (I can’t figure that one out. Really? You’re going to brunch while zen and sweaty or you’re going to yoga just having stuffed your self and chased it with a cocktail disguised as juice?)

      And now I am procrastinating.

      • CONFESSION: I do not own sweatpants. I do not understand sweatpants. Are they the same as trackpants? It’s hard to tell from Google images.

        • Are trackpants made of nylon-y material? Sweatpants are usually softer/cottony. Maybe that’s the difference?

          Lays chips here don’t have crazy flavors like bacon and prawn but I’m sure I’ve had salt & vinegar. I really like Ms. Vickie’s Salt & Vinegar chips but I just googled them (to make sure I got the name right) and it turns out they are also owned by the monster corporation that is fritolay. Huh.

        • I feel an in-depth people on the street experiment into sweat pants is called for. This is a moment for Captain Sweatpants, connoisseur of comics in Big Bang Theory, to preside and inform us where it is at with Sweatpants on the local and global stage.
          Sweat Pant round circle, to clear up any trans-Atlantic/ rest of the world confusion, for once and for all.

    • All sweatpants should be burned. Or at least banned from being worn outside your home. I also lived in England and Spain for some years and was shocked at returned to the US at how many people think it’s okay to wear sweatpants (or pajamas, or even adult onesies) out in public.

        • Oh my goodness those are kind of amazing! I’m on annalou’s side, we need some kind of exposé on global forms of sweatpants. Some of the teenagers at the school where I work have random pajama days and they wear Hello Kitty pajamas and Packers onesies (I live in Wisconsin) and I think it’s really cute.

      • Haha, well I’ve definitely noticed an undergrad/grad school divide when it comes to wearing sweatpants on and off campus – I was quickly peer-pressured into abandoning all but my most formal sweats in my first year of professional school. Though I’m sure this varies by department/region/type of college culture/if on-campus-housing is reserved for undergrads.

        Also, hopefully this trend has already died since it’s been a few years since I’ve been to Shanghai, but it was definitely a weird fad in like 2009 or so to wear full-on pajamas in public in certain ritzy parts of the city, as a status symbol to imply that 1) you didn’t have to work, and 2) you lived in that area. The city agreed this was so stupid, they really did pass a measure banning people from wearing pjs outside the home (though it was more a cleaning up the city for the world expo thing than a real fashion police thing, which makes it slightly less funny). I just feel this story needs to be shared as a cautionary tale in a roundtable on Global Sweatpants Theory. XD (Also, it did make me think about the unintentional status symbol aspect of wearing sweatpants in a university town.)

  23. Congratulations to everyone who is done with exams, a program, a semester, or a term paper! As of last week I’m 3/4 of the way through my graduate program, and just need to make it through a year of clinical rotations.

    My first rotation is in rural Maryland, and I’m back in town for the weekend. Today I ran EVERY errand; I went to the post office, UPS store, bank, grocery store, out for breakfast, a hardware store, Goodwill, the dump, a wine shop, Target, and a bike shop. Now I’m going to finish my laundry, pay some bills, and clean up my room for my sub-letter. I am the goddess of getting things done.

  24. Snaps for finishing the dissertation! I am so not a Habermas fan but you do you. Also way jealous of your girlfriend’s cat pants.

    I had my Master of Arts defence this Wednesday and passed THANK GODDESSES. Congrats to everyone else celebrating academic finish lines ! Feels so good.

    • I may have read that as “Defence of the (Dark) Arts” and was confused but in the best possible way. And don’t worry, I’m not a Habermas fan either, it was just necessary reading for my topic – the entire process was really exasperating because I’d have to read and explain the (white Western) canon as you do in political theory papers, and then go “yeah but also this isn’t how it works at all in Singapore” because I was writing about local stuff.

  25. High five for the Not-at-Camp Club. I am in the last two weeks of my first year at my graduate program. Which means I shouldn’t be on here, but here I am. This past week was super busy and grossly stressful, but I unwound the past two mornings. I grabbed brunch with the lady yesterday, and today we went garage sale hopping. Nothing too excited acquired, but saw a bunch of cool junk. Here’s a horribly cropped photo from my Instagram. It’s a doodle of myself and how I’m feeling about school right now.

    • I cannot draw, so I have decided to express my school-related feelings in cat gifs:

  26. Enjoy the ivy etc consortium Borrowdirect (the fast snobby version of interlibrary loan for procrastinators or those who change their topics somewhat belatedly *cough*). It’s grown quite a bit and really has most of what I’ve needed in the past couple of years. I never seem to attend the school that has the material I need…

    Been a while since I was in the area regularly, but the Hungarian Pastry Shop used to have the most delightful bathroom graffiti. And pastry. My fav bar, sadly, is no longer there to recommend.

    • My partner did a year in Yale and I def remember marvelling at that. The University of London system is apparently set up to do the same thing and my school has the largest social sciences collection in the UK, but it’s all a pain to work out. When working on my dissertation I got desperate enough to text friends in Singapore to say “hey you don’t happen to be in your uni library RIGHT NOW do you?” because I am just so bad at library.

  27. Just finished my exams the other week and moved to New York to work at the Lesbian Herstory Archives for the summer. I still feel like I should be writing papers so I constantly feel like I’m procrastinating, even though I’m done for the summer!

    Also, my girlfriend is at A-camp with their sister so I’m hearing all about it. So jealous of everyone who is there (and who get to see my girlfriend’s pretty face).

    • My girlfriend would be so jealous of you! She loved the archives when we visited last year, whereas I on the other hand am generally confused by history and the collecting of stuff.

      My girlfriend’s best friend is on the mountain rn (she won a campership) and has been sending us excited texts from there, so I share your jealousy.

      • My girlfriend’s sister sent her to camp! They’re together in the lumberjanes cabin actually. I think it’s the cutest. I’d probably think it was cuter if I wasn’t on the other side of the country.

        My internship starts on Tuesday and I’m here for 3 months. Then I go back to my school (Smith, in MA) to study archives there too. My whole life became archives like a month ago. I don’t know how it happened.

        • Our friend is also in the Lumberjanes cabin! SMALL WORLD. Well yeah ok we are talking on Autostraddle about A-Camp so yes small world.

          I am so averse to stuff that when all of mine burnt in a storage fire last summer part of my reaction was relief. I would be a horrible archivist I’d just be like “do we really need to keep all of this?” BUT you are doing important work!!

          I’ve visited Northampton and the Smith campus but unfort we were there a day after school let out, so there was no one around. Brunch (at The Green Bean, or something?) was yummy though. :d

        • Ah! I love the green bean. Being in new york makes me miss my little valley so much.

    • Have a cool time this summer work I ng for the Lesbian Herstory Archives. Wouldn’t trade that experience for the world. I’m sure you’ll meet lots of interesting women. Have fun!!

  28. This week Allison Weiss followed me on twitter for about 30 seconds. I have the screen shots to prove it which I tweeted after she un followed me… so yeah.

  29. So I saw the first picture and immediately thought ‘ohmygod what an attractive human let me stare at this picture for a while.’ And then I scrolled down and the next thing was a picture of your girlfriend and I felt like a creep.
    But your girlfriend is also a very attractive human and she has rockin pants so it’s all good.

    • Sorry if this is super awkward, I just woke up and all I had for dinner yesterday was oreos and I think my mind may still be celebrating. Congratulations on your dissertation! The word dissertation alone is enough to send me into cold sweats.

    • Aww, don’t feel like a creep! My girlfriend can out-creep just about anyone, trust me on this (and she’s proud), and we’re not monogamous – though even if we were, it’s still not creepy?

      She does have rockin pants though.

  30. Hi Not-at-camp friends! I have a favor to ask…if you have a moment please send some positive energy or make an offering to Dionysus so that I can get this really excellent job that I need desperately. I should hear about it Monday or Tuesday!

    Also, this is a cute comic since this post needs more pictures.

    • People in dinosaur hoodies deserve excellent jobs. Sending you all the positive vibes!

    • aw, that comic almost made me cry. Good wishes on the job- I just got a job offer that will change my life a little so I understand!

    • Good luck with the job!

      My girlfriend’s Pomeranian is pretty sure you’ll get it; he wears the dapper bow tie because he’s super professional:

  31. Welcome to NYC (in the near future)! I am a Columbia Law alum with two cats within (longish) walking distance of Morningside Heights. Are you planning to live there? Because I will say that living in that neighborhood as a grad student creates a very special kind of resentment of undergrads. They start later and finish earlier and invade all the bars you want to like and lay around half-naked outdoors before it is reasonably warm enough for that kind of thing.

    But anyway. Explore every neighborhood possible! Walk everywhere. Go to the parks when it’s nice out. Don’t start looking for a place to live until less than a month before you want to live there. Don’t be nervous because many of us were new here once. And feel free to ask me questions if you have them!

    • I haven’t decided where I want to live yet, mainly because I’m completely unfamiliar with the area but also because I’m lazy as fuck/haven’t actually finished my first degree. But I’m looking forward to exploring! AND CATS. YUS.

      • I thought of another – get lost on the subway. Everyone does, even if they’ve been here for years.

        Also I love your hair in that pic. If you want to get a coffee or pet a cat once you get here, let me know! Sometimes I have temporary kittens.

  32. Is it possible for a translesbian to go to A-camp? And I understand the concerns, but I know my emotions and feelings , and need to be accepted for those feelings I feel for all of you, and the feelings I need from all of you. I am totally open to talk about concerns and issues, and committed to solve them to the satisfaction of all.


    • Sarah, the A-camp FAQ says that trans women at welcome at camp and that they do their best to make it a trans* friendly space!

  33. Well wing ma’am came out for Android this weeks so I was excited to try it out. But, then yesterday I had to sign up again, cause my account was deleted. I live in a big city, but not enough people are on there so hmm. I was told I have Monday off for the holiday so I may hang out with a bunch of cute queer ladies in nature. Yay.

    • Ahh, that sounds like the best thing. London’s currently experiencing its yearly two weeks of “summer” and I’ve been spending them indoors doing work with a cat who’s been hiding a lot because it’s too hot. I bet the weather’s gonna be shit by the time I’m finally liberated from exams – enjoy the nature for me!

    • Oh that’s good to know (about Wing Ma’am). I’m still waiting for Dattch app to come out for Android.

        • AS did an article about the app a while if you’d like to check it out: Dattch New Lady Dating App

          But basically this “ (While the app may expand to include trans men, genderqueer individuals and other non-binary folks, the current focus is on bisexual and lesbian women).

          That or, maybe someone who currently uses it and reads this can better answer your question hopefully.

    • This is a good plan. I totally chose Columbia just so I’d be in the right country for camp.

  34. Yesterday, I graduated from NYU again, this time with an MFA. I am now a master of the fine art of musical theatre writing, or so my degree says. Today, I became a vegetarian again, and I went to work. I’m still working on getting a day job. Why is being a grownup so hard?

    Congrats on Columbia! NYC is awesome, expensive, and awesome. Paying a fortune to live in a shoebox with a million people is a fact of life, but once you accept that everyone does it, it’s not as bad. I hope I get to meet you!

    • Congrats on the MFA! Singapore is ridic densely populated too and has housing policies tied to heteronormative ideas of family to boot, so “paying a fortune to live in a shoebox with a million people” is gonna be my reality forever.

  35. I’m from London, and my wife is from the US (although we’re now in Canada)…my first impression in the US was ” I’m in giant-land”. The fridges, the cars, the milk bottles, the stoves, everything is twice the size. Londoners swear a lot more, and are more sarcastic – I also found NY to be more racially segregated than London, but it was a while back, so who knows now…
    Also don’t forget you’re not supposed to cross the road wherever/whenever like in London. I’m sure you’re going to have a great time though- and Americans are fab at talking to people they don’t know, so you’ll make friends easily!

    I’m on the bus about to start my weekend with my wife by drinking tea on the porch…then I’m continuing reading Fruits Basket in Japanese and English (Manga is great for translation practice). Mandarin would be more useful for work though…I should really start learning that next. Have a good weekend everyone!

    • I was in Köln a couple of months ago, and marvelled at how no one crossed the road even when the coast was completely clear. Y’know how in London, once one person steps off the kerb, everyone follows suit and then we just kinda trust that no one’s gonna run down a crowd? They totally don’t do that in Germany.

      (And yes, I was that one person.)

      I’ve never quite recovered from finding this in the US:

      A “gallon” of “tea” with a… sports personality on it??

  36. Hey all! I was all pumped to attend May camp this year. Having endured the cold of Snow-Camp last year I was excited about the prospect of wearing shorts and not freezing as soon as the sun went down. At the same time, I was applying for jobs closer to my girlfriend. As fate would have it, I landed a job that started the same week as A-Camp. They offered me a raise if I could start that week, so I had to give up my spot. Now, while my girlfriend is basking in queertopia, I have spent the week learning the four letter code for 75+ grass/forbe/shrub species.

    Am I the only one stalking the autostraddlecamp hash tag? Luckily there is always next year.

    The rest of the weekend holds nothing but relaxation and Diablo 3 for me as I eagerly await a trip to the airport to pick up my girlfriend.

    • people who have girlfriends at a-camp should start a club of jealousy. We’ll make t-shirts.

      • I’m just taking notes of all the awesome things she is doing so that I can make sure we can do them again next year together!

  37. My lady love and I moved into a new apartment! Her parents helped a tonnnnnn and if they weren’t there we’d be up shits creek. They are so awesome.

  38. I’ve been waiting for this open thread! My heart is on the mountain right now but my body is here making money and being responsible for my current situation.
    But at least I’ll be going to San Diego Pride for the first time this year, so hopefully I’ll get a huge dose of community there to sustain me.

  39. I just went on a horseback riding trip with a social anxiety meetup group and it was fucking amazing. i hadn’t been on a horse since i rode one through the Grand Canyon last year and it made me remember how much i love being on a horse.
    His name was Lumpy. Who names a horse Lumpy??!
    Then i got home and my eyes swelled shut. Yay, I have a new horrific pollen allergy!

    Now I’m drinking tea and re-watching Gossip Girl. Have a photo of my dog in a raincoat.

    hope that worked!

    • Whoops, I messed up the image link too. You’ve marked it on Flickr as “all rights reserved” so I can’t figure out how to get to the image source code. But anyway, in return, here’s my cat being obscene(ly fluffy):

  40. My girlfriend is at a bachelorette party so she’s not at home and I just realized that it’s maybe the first time I’ve gone to sleep in our bed alone since we moved in together in August? It’s so strange, and makes me feel super codependent…

  41. My ex is at ACamp…which is weird. My significant other is gone for the weekend so I’m hanging around the house pantsless with my mini zoo. I worked out a bunch and now I’m watching all the TV I wouldn’t if my SO was here, and melodramatically listening to Gavin DeGraw. Because I can.
    Yesterday I experienced some of the worst street sexual harassment I’ve ever experienced so I’m also having an existential crisis. Also looking up conceal and carry licenses because of that.

    • I am glad that you are “ok”, Woya…
      That is awful that someone else felt they be abusive to you in a sexually violent way. I hope that this random person does not know where you live and I hope that you can talk about it with someone. If not, you have my eyeballs if you need to vent. Sending hugs and repair energy to you.

  42. Ok I need to complain for a sec:

    I was walking with my grandfatherly person yesterday, and at one point we passed a couple guys and he said “How would you like a date with one of them?” *nudge* *wink* It completely took me by surprise, I forgot that I never came out to him. I felt super awkward so I just said “No”… and now I’m realizing (again) that I’m not done coming out and I’ll never be done coming out, and I really really hate it. I never know how to respond when I’m thrown off, and being assumed straight really throws me off. Cognitive dissonance sort of thing I guess.


  43. I am waiting for the DRIVING RAIN to stop so I can move my boat to my lovely new mooring where it’s basically sticking out into the canal so it feels like it’s adrift. I mean, it moves in the rain (obviously) but it’s not as fun. I wanted this to be a ‘Pimms on the roof’ kinda moment rather than a ‘tripping over drip-catching pots’ one.

    Other than that I am relieved that UKIP didn’t get a look in in my local elections and waiting three more minutes for the EU results to come through…

    So yeah. Not at camp! I am waiting for an Autostraddle hoodie to come though :)

    • Same r.e. UKIP and rain, but so I can wash and rust proof my camper. Ah the joys of the north! But so many canals so it’s beautiful. Have you been to 5 rise locks? Hope you get it all straightened up and set soon.

  44. …… This is gonna sound really weird, but I think I sat behind you and your girlfriend during that one AWARE roundtable about the harassment and stalking act (how apt).

    .. excuse me, imma go fangirl now

    • This is the best though. We both had pink hair and were probably excessively handsy (sorry about that, I hadn’t seen her in months and I’d literally gone to AWARE straight after landing at the airport) so we’re pretty easy to spot. I’m gonna guess we’re def gonna cross paths again, so say hi next time! :D

  45. Just spent 10hrs 11mins and 13secs Skyping with my super amazing gf who lives 15559km away from me, while she’s studying for her MSc papers (everyone wish her luck now!).

    A brief list of things we’ve done this week while she’s procrastinating?

    – Flipping through Alexa Chung (obviously!)
    – Watching me sleep
    – Reading this thread and she telling me that Fikri and her gf is not in a monogamous relationship (is it a hint?)

    Anyway. Way better than A-Camp me reckons. Although not as cool as cat pants and the hoodie.

    • My partner and I definitely did massive marathon Skype sessions too… before we were even dating. WHO COULDA GUESSED WE’D END UP TOGETHER.

      Hello to both of you, and good luck to her! I don’t know who’s hinting what here but if we all got together we’d be the most transnational quad ever.

  46. Fikri, you are awesome! A very enjoyable open thread!
    Super congrats on your dissertation! Done in 1 week?!!! That’s amazing!
    Obv. I’m not at camp either. I’m ordering a hoodie so I can pretend I’m camp cool.

    This week my online summer classes started. I’m only taking 2 classes but they require so much work I literally spent every day this week doing the work for them! It’s my first time taking online classes. I’d heard that they were more work than regular classes but…I need to get a job this summer but now don’t know how I’m going to swing it with the classes. And I feel like a jerk because people here accomplish so much more in school than I do (like writing a dissertation in a week). Maybe I’m just slow. *pouts*

    I dated someone once from across the pond. They lounged around in sweats when not at work and ate lots of chips. Also, people sent over stuff that’s different here, it was mostly candy bars as I recall. I don’t feel qualified to offer advice on NYC or warnings about racism but I wish you the best!

    • Aw, thank you! I def don’t recommend completing a dissertation in a week, but I DID IT and feel super accomplished rn. \o/ Don’t feel bad about your own work though – do stuff at your own time and pace / you do you. And I do strongly recommend AS hoodies because they are the softest and best and sometimes strangers (even awkward Brits!) come up to you out of nowhere to yell “Autostraddle!” and give you two thumbs up.

  47. I dragged myself to vote after a too long and stressful nightshift today. I was so out of it..but then, everyone kind of was at my inner city neighborhood at ten in the morning on a Sunday? The guy in front of me actually got his street name wrong. Isn’t it funny how they don’t make you walk a line or see if you’re sober before doing a thing like elect government? On another note, we had a vote for keeping a former inner city airfield a park vs. erecting apartment buildings on it. I mean, the choice is obvious, right? But the city needs money and worded the countermotion so cleverly..if this passes it is going to make me lose all hope in mankind. Like, again. Off to catch some more sleep,hopefully. Have an awesome sunny Sunday, everyone!

    • I’m not sure they make you walk a line before doing something like running for government.

      • That’s giving me all kinds of “House of Cards” feels, and guess what? Berlin gets to keep its kick ass huge park, because people aren’t stupid after all. So happy. If you ever hop by the town in the summer, it’s mandatory you have a BBQ there and watch the sun set behind the old tower.

  48. i know it’s sunday but fuck it, i’m here now, right? two of my friends are at a-camp and posting pics that make me hella jealous. i want to be there but i am mooooooving this week and it was going to be too much. but! i am moving to denver, which is fantastic, and lots of lovely people have come out of the woodwork to see me off. i leave after only THREE MORE SLEEPS.

    • Have a great time in Denver. Here lots of diversity there, especially those in thirties and forties. Hope it’s a good thing to be moving. I want to move back to Boston. On my wish list. I’m dying to go to a-camp but don’t know if I am in shape to climb. I have a bad right foot and also overweight,though trying my best now to get in shape.
      A-camp sounds awesome. Maybe someday. Sweet three dreams.

      • thanks! yep, it’s a good thing to be moving, though i’m going to miss everyone. and diversity for thirties is good since i’m smack in the middle. i hope you get back to boston and to a-camp!

  49. Yesterday I attended my girlfriend’s sister’s wedding, which was absolutely beautiful! This was my first wedding as a grown-up, and I really appreciated all of the symbolism. The only downside was that I attended as my girlfriend’s “roommate” since she is not – and may never be – out to her parents/extended family. So I had to watch her be gorgeous all day in her bridesmaid dress and remind myself I couldn’t hold her hand or strong arm her onto the dance floor. It was really hard, and I kind of had a meltdown when the band started playing sappy Elvis songs and I left abruptly to go take a walk so no one would notice. But she came and talked to me and I cried a bit and then everything was okay.

    But the cake was seriously the best damn cake I’ve ever had, and the endless beer and mojitos were delicious (although may have been partly to blame for the melancholy…), and I got to get dressed up and hang out with a bunch of dogs, because the bride had the brilliant idea of telling everyone to bring their dogs to the outdoor wedding. Fluffy beasts are the best icebreakers!

  50. I wish I was at camp, but degree duty calls. I have literally been stuck in my Uni library for so long that I’ve forgotten what the sun looks like.
    However, your caffeine hype gives me much cheer :D

    Also, those cat pants are fabulous. :3 xxx

    • Divine retribution for us not enjoying the sun appears to have taken the form of shit weather for the next week. BOO.

  51. Going through UK first year of uni exam season and shitting myself about it. I proudly voted this week, showing off my filthy queer badge to the absurdly white male UKIP reps that lurked at the polling stations.

    I am terrified that UKIP gained so many seats in this election, along with all the other horrendously nationalist parties across Europe.

    • I remember my first exams and how I was totally overprepared for (some of) them, and how panicky I was but then how… okay? they were. They were totally fine, and so will you be. Three years in and “exam prep” is half-heartedly going through a few recorded lectures. Good luck and good job on voting! I live in a Labour stronghold, which still annoyed me (am far left) but I can’t imagine having to walk past UKIP reps.

  52. Sweatpants make me think of the students at our university who were part of movement and dance groups. They always look so centered and comfortable and ready to break out a move

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