The Thorin Oakenshield Dilemna


After watching a movie that strongly favored a bunch of short men run around in furs fighting goblins, I realized that I know nothing about men, despite having a younger brother who was sort of a nudist at one point.

What do men want? What are their dreams? Who are their role models? Do all men secretly want to be hairy barbarians, pillaging the countryside, or do they want to be Brad Pitt or do they want to be Usain Bolt or do they want to be Mark Zuckerberg or the Old Spice guy or Franz Lizst or Elvis or what?

I don’t think the answer is “boobs” or “beer.” If it is, why are you reading my blog, KEN? I KNOW WE USED TO CHAT ON AIM AND THERE WAS THAT ONE WEIRD TIME AT THE MOVIES BUT I NEVER LIKED YOU! Excuse me. My point is, men must have gaping existential depths just like women do—a man authored Nausea, after all. But the men I know tend to keep their jagged chasms close to their chest.

Women are mysterious creatures of mist and flame, but if you want to know what women want to be like, the answer is simple: Carrie Bradshaw. Oh shut up everyone and stop stressing out, it’s true. We all love to hate her, but we all want to be her: cool career, tons of free time to smoke cigarettes while gazing mournfully out the window of our amazing apartment, voluminous hair. And then we want to be our own fabulous selves at the same time. That’s why we’re all so troubled. (If a girl doesn’t want to be Carrie Bradshaw, she’s a soul-sucking hipster, and I simply don’t have time to tell you why that’s so terribly wrong.)

After watching Thorin Oakenshield fight the Pale Orc in his sexy fur vest, I was forced to ask myself: do I really know my boyfriend? What does my boyfriend truly want? He is descended from Viking stock. At the end of the day does he just want to run around in a fur vest, killing Orcs and re-conquering his ancestral home deep in the mountain? I’m totally cool with that. This begs the question, why don’t we live in Middle Earth? Yes, the living conditions are fairly primal, but not when you live in RIVENDALE! #elfpride

I know you’re all looking for some sort of closure here, but unfortunately, when I tried to figure out exactly what men want, the equation quickly backfired:

Men like…bacon!

…so they also like…cupcakes! (Maple-bacon cupcakes are very popular in the States these days. QED.)

…and that means they must like…Sex and the City! (Magnolia Bakery.)

…and Carrie Bradshaw!


Speak up, men: what’s your deal?

Rihanna’s Instagram Feed: Reality Check or Pinspiration?

I spent a productive half hour tonight drinking red wine and browsing Rihanna’s Instagram feed. (If you’re over 40, I simply don’t have time to explain all those words to you.) As I scrolled through photos of freakishly fabulous underthings, Chris Brown’s naked upper half, and hashtags like #dopedealer, I couldn’t help but wonder…(c) Carrie Bradshaw…

I kind of want Rihanna’s life. She and I are nothing like each other, except for our love of flashy things. (She just bought matching TEN GADJILLION DOLLAR Rolexes with Chris Brown, I have a massive peace sign necklace that I bartered for–yes, bartered–and snagged for a cool $3 on a beach in Tijuana.) We also both love catchy songs. And weed. Just kidding! I hate weed, it makes me feel like I have an eyelash stuck to my eyeball. But my optomological paranoias are another blog post entirely. What was I saying? I hate weed, I love heroin…oh yes. Rihanna’s life.

Like, in the music video for Freakin’ Weekend or whatever that song is called, she looks so happy! And then she sings, “Life’s too short to be sitting ’round miserable.” And this question opens up in me a deep, jagged existential chasm, which I think we can safely presume is the intention of all Rihanna’s lyrics. I think, “Am I sitting ’round miserable?” And then I think of all the things I wish I was doing instead of watching Rihanna’s music video:

1. Eating fries at Hopleaf
2. Reminiscing about that time we hung out with the Biblical-looking British guy at Hopleaf and I felt bad because he got a weird tiny thick beer

…and so on. You get the point, my life is full of creepers and French fries.

But then I think to myself, Rihanna is a human being, and as such, she experiences depressive depths and manic highs just like the rest of us. So what if her Instagram feed doesn’t reflect that? She’s a celebrity and it’s all about image. And then I think: what’s my image? I’m not sure, but I sure as hell hope it’s this:


(This man, Daniel Wood, is everything I want to be in life: memorable stare, slightly off-putting hair, BURST INTO FLAMES WHEN TASERED BY THE POLICE.)

One thing I appreciate about Rihanna and all Top Forty music in general (including my bff Britney “omg ur so medicated these days” Spears) is that it’s not high art. I think I might legitimately hate high art. I tried to read some New Yorker-type short stories over break and I was like WHY AM I LOOKING AT THIS AUTHOR’S WELL-PLUCKED NAVEL? This doesn’t move the people! And if it doesn’t move the people, can it approach truth? And if it doesn’t approach truth, is it high art? RIHANNA IS JACKSON POLLOCK TAYLOR SWIFT IS HEMINGWAY.