Things I Read That I Love #114: The Marketability of Hot Blonde Twins

HELLO and welcome to the 114th installment of Things I Read That I Love, wherein I share with you some of the longer-form journalism/essays I’ve read recently so that you can read them too and we can all know more about Sweet Valley High! This “column” is less feminist/queer focused than the rest of the site because when something is feminist/queer focused, I put it on the rest of the site. Here is where the other things are.

The title of this feature is inspired by the title of Emily Gould’s tumblr, Things I Ate That I Love.

The Training Bras of Literature (January 2004), by Amy Benfer for The Believer“It’s a brilliant construction. With twin heroines, the writers are free to have not one, but two ideal versions of teenage girlhood. But what keeps the series fun is that Jessica is really the star. She is a heroine. And she’s a bitch.”

Ryan Leaf’s Jailhouse Confessions, Written by his Cell Mate (September 2013) by John Cagney Nash for Playboy – This was surprisingly really interesting. I’d never heard of this guy before, Ryan Leaf, apparently he was a big time football player who tanked once he reached the NFL and ended up in jail after developing a painkiller addiction. The story comes from an interesting vantage point.

Slavery’s Last Stronghold (March 2012), by John D. Sutter and Edythe McNamee for CNN – Intense award-winning multimedia story about slavery in the sandy desert lands of Mauritania, where slavery wasn’t criminalized until 2007 and at the time of this article, only one slave owner has been prosecuted and the government claims there is no slavery there, despite an estimated 10% to 20% of the population living in slavery. The authors speak with activists, current and former slaves, and current and former slavemasters. According to a more recent article in The New York Times, the government finally kinda-sorta acknowledged the problem in 2013.

Does a More Equal Marriage Mean Less Sex? (February 2014) by Lori Gottlieb for The New York Times – “Is the trade-off of egalitarian marriage necessarily less sexual heat? It’s possible that the sexual scripts we currently follow will evolve along with our marital arrangements so that sameness becomes sexy. Regardless, more people marrying today are choosing egalitarian setups for the many other benefits they offer. If every sexual era is unhappy in its own way, it may be that we will begin to think of the challenges of egalitarian marriages less as drawbacks and more like, well, life, with its inherent limitations on how exciting any particular aspect can be.”

How a Convicted Murderer Prepares for A Job Interview (2013), by Sabine Heinlein for Among Murderers: Life After Prison“One of the most revealing experiences the men shared with me was their seemingly endless track through New York’s job readiness programs, a requirement to qualify for housing subsidies, welfare and the agencies’ employment referrals. This is what I saw.”

Why It’s Worth Banishing Men Every Once In A While (January 2014), by Ann Friedman for The Cut – I mean, you don’t have to convince me.

The Boy Who Heard Too Much (August 2009) by David Kushner for Rolling Stone – About a blind boy growing up in a really rough home with no resources who learned he had a special talent for hearing things that enabled him to hack everybody’s phones and do fucked-up shit.

Dear America, I Saw You Naked (January 2014), Jason Edward Harrington for Politico – Well this was fascinating! Also I’m never going in a full-body scanner because radiation SO THERE. This is by the guy who wrote that blog about the TSA — Taking Sense Away — all about how everything w/r/t the TSA is nonsense.

The Younger Man (September 2013) by Alex Carnevale for This Recording – “Joe Orton’s partner Kenneth Halliwell started to crack long before he read his boyfriend’s diaries, before he began imitating Joe’s voice on the telephone to find out what people would say about him to the man he lived with. In a tiny London apartment, Orton’s secrets from Halliwell were few and far between. But as Kenneth found out, he did have them.”

US Flouts Its Own Advice in Producing Overseas Clothing (December 2013), by Ian Urbina for The New York Times – I hope you’re sitting down for this: The United States buys clothing for its workers and army bases from companies who run factories with horrific working conditions. I know! The U.S. doing shady shit!

The Secrets of Ivy League Tour Guides (January 2014), by Liz Lian for – Obviously this led me into a Princeton Eating Clubs K-Hole, but anyhow — the title is pretty descriptive so I think you can take it from there.

The Sochi Project – Hey I just read this huge thing that is like longform times ten million and I liked it enough to write about it in its very own post, so you should check that out too.

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Riese is the 41-year-old Co-Founder of as well as an award-winning writer, video-maker, LGBTQ+ Marketing consultant and aspiring cyber-performance artist who grew up in Michigan, lost her mind in New York and now lives in Los Angeles. Her work has appeared in nine books, magazines including Marie Claire and Curve, and all over the web including Nylon, Queerty, Nerve, Bitch, Emily Books and Jezebel. She had a very popular personal blog once upon a time, and then she recapped The L Word, and then she had the idea to make this place, and now here we all are! In 2016, she was nominated for a GLAAD Award for Outstanding Digital Journalism. She's Jewish and has a cute dog named Carol. Follow her on twitter and instagram.

Riese has written 3223 articles for us.


  1. I’ve always opted out of body scanners… until I spilled ginger ale on my pants about 5 minutes before landing in Detroit. I couldn’t bear asking for the pat down when it looked like I’d peed my pants.

  2. Every time I go to the airport I reminisce about pre-911 flying experiences.
    ALTHOUGH, the last time I flew (Christmas time), I was apparently tagged for “TSA pre-check” in both St. Louis and Nashville, which meant I apparently didn’t look at all like a risk so they let you keep everything on, keep everything in your bag (laptop, liquids, etc), and just let you step through the most basic/janky of metal detectors.
    I was almost offended that I didn’t look like I could take down the plane.

  3. This is one of my favorite features — love “stocking up” on longform for the weekend. Thanks, Riese!!

  4. I always look forward to this feature and these are great as usual. The Boy Who Heard Too Much got me this week. I’m blind myself and can imagine how easily a kid like him could go down that road. Fascinating read.
    The only thing I didn’t like was the author calling his hearing a super power – ugh pet peeve, nerves grated all over the place. We just learn to pay more attention out of necessity, though in his case with a high degree of focus, definitely.

    That’s a minor gripe, though. It was excellently done otherwise.

  5. when they first started the scanners, i was intent on not going through them. the first time i had to choose between that and a pat-down, i chose a pat-down. unfortunately, that was horrifically triggering for some reason and i ended up sobbing in the middle of the airport as a very polite lady did her job.

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