Things I Read That I Love #321: I’m Not Normally Like This

HELLO and welcome to the 321st 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 know more about poppers!!! 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.

This Man Does Not Make Poppers, by David Mack for Buzzfeed, July 2021

Poppers, which are “first and foremost, a sex drug,” create a rushy headiness of delight and also (which’s why they’re so popular amongst gay men), can loosen the anal muscles. We have I believe discussed poppers here in the past. Well they are not really legal but are widely sold regardless and this is the history of “the homosexual peyote.”

A People’s History of Black Twitter, by Jason Parham for Wired, July 2021

An incredible three-part oral history tracing “From #UKnowUrBlackWhen to #BlackLivesMatter, how a loose online network became a pop culture juggernaut, an engine of social justice, and a lens into the future.”

At The Bend of the Road, by Aube Rey Lescure for Guernica, July 2021

On walking the Camino de Santiago as a woman, in the aftermath of a crime, listening to Bolaño on tape — utterly vulnerable and utterly free.

As Seen on Riis Beach, By Brock Colyar and Andrew Nguyen for The Cut, August 2021


America Has a Drinking Problem, by Kate Julian for The Atlantic, July/August 2021

Alcohol has a certain cultural purpose and has throughout evolution — to assist in the forging of social bonds and goodwill and ease the mechanisms that prevent people from connecting with each other. But solitary drinking “is uniquely pernicious because it serves up all the risks of alcohol without any of its social perks” and is apparently pretty uniquely American.

The Most Stylish Scammer: 20 Years of ‘The Talented Mr. Ripley’, by Haley Mlotek for The Ringer, December 2019

I recently read this book for the first time – I saw the film ages ago, specifically in theaters when it came out in 1999.

Highsmith, Minghella, and Ripley were all obsessed with beauty not because it is good but because it is capable of being the exact opposite. Audiences have the luxury of wondering: What if our obsessions are not just weaknesses but also a warning?

Why did the East Bay Depot for Creative Reuse lay off its entire staff?, by Zack Haber for The Oaklandside, January 2021

I recommended shopping at The East Bay Depot in a recent post about home decor and a commenter directed me to this piece, which describes why, in fact, you should not shop there after all!

No, You Beg, by Allie Conti for New York Magazine, July 2021

How the dog adoption market in New York City went haywire during the pandemic, making competition to adopt a dog entered a realm of exclusivity rivaled by competitive colleges and adopting actual human children.

The Tinder Swindler, by Natalie Remoe Hansen, Kristoffer Kumar and Erlend Oftre Arntsen for VG, October 2019

This story about a scammer who paid for new girlfriends with money stolen from current girlfriends is a multi-media experience told through words and also gathered video clips.

Crush, by Larissa Pham for The Believer, April 2021

When I say I have a crush on you, what I’m saying is that I’m in love with the distance between us. I’m not in love with you: I don’t even know you. I’m in love with the escape that fantasizing about you promises. Poisoned, stung, bitten and bridled. The promise of being ground down until I disappear.

Sinead O’Connor Remembers It Differently, by Amanda Hess for The New York Times, May 2021

Fascinating that she never wanted to be famous or popular and that all of the controversy over her tearing up a photo of Pope John Paul II on Saturday Night Live was welcome because it freed her from the prison of being a pop star.

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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. ah i’ve missed this column so much! excited to open all these links and slowly whittle away at the tabs over the next week

  2. Kind of a non sequitur but I remember that in the same printed on paper edition of the NYT where I read the reviews of the Talented Mr Ripley back in 1999 and thought ‘oh I should go see that’ there was also an article on this new phenomenon, ‘weblogs’, which some initiates referred to as ‘blogs’.

    I remember because I had a heated discussion with my breakfast companion about how duly horrified I was by the mere idea of keeping a diary on the internet that other people could read, nor could I imagine that words only typed, only on a screen, could possibly have any of the emotional nuance, impact or nurturance that handwritten words on paper did.

    So there’s that, and here we all are now.

    • heck and yeah to this. i, at first, thought social media and it’s precursors sounded like a lot of work (though i am not a low effort person). then i tried it because alot people i liked were into it – but it is in fact a lot of work, and i don’t have the brain space to try to be interesting or relevant in a general, regular, and public way. looking at how gen y/z’ers post everything in all sorts of ways is a marvel to me.

  3. kind of sorry that Sinead piece is at the times. i don’t want to give them clicks because they are terrible, but would have been really interested in her retrospective.

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