You Asked It

Just Wondering

Where we answer your questions with only a little more sophistication than the good people of Yahoo! Answers.

How much weed is 2 much weed? —Anonymous

Well, if you have to ask…

Ever hear the term “everything in moderation”? I think weed is included in that category. I guess it would depend on how an individual might define
“moderation.” But I don’t really know the answer. I think if you smoke weed and it affects your work, relationships, ability to move, memory, psychology or social skills, then you’re smoking too much. Some try weed once and it’s a nightmare of paranoia and tears, and they should probably smoke zero weed. Others smoke numerous times a day every day and lead perfectly happy, functional lives. I’d say there is no authority on what, for any given person, is too much. But have you ever heard someone say, “You need to smoke more weed, you don’t smoke enough?” Not really, only the opposite. So in this case, less is probably a good idea. Especially if you’re under, let’s say, 18, and your brain is still growing and developing. My personal preference in that case is as little weed as possible, but you’re probably not gonna listen to me. And again, if you have to ask, then you probably already know the answer yourself.

Love, Lesley
How do you kiss? What are tongues supposed to do? —Anonymous

The lean-in should be at an angle, but it doesn’t matter which way you tilt your head. (Eventually you’ll alternate—try switching directions when it’s time to take a breath.) Coming in straight on, at least at first, makes it too easy to bonk noses or clash teeth. These run-ins are bound to happen anyway, but just giggle and keep going. That part doesn’t usually make the movies, but in real life it might lighten the mood. Just kiss your partner on the cheek, smile and start again.

Once the lips actually touch, it’s like dancing, but not like dancing for a normal person—dancing like you were born knowing how to dance and were already super good at it. Fit your lips together like Tetris blocks, every which way, puckering your lips and releasing until you find a rhythm. If one way doesn’t work, just adjust. No one is going to take kissing privileges away from you, and since they’ve already agreed to kiss you, your special friend is bound to be understanding. You get unlimited tries!

Tongues! Ew. (But also, wow!) Don’t lead with your tongue, because you’re not trying to lick their face. But once your lips are waltzing together, you can gradually open your mouth wider to indicate it might be time for your tongues to touch. If you’ve made it this far: CONGRATULATIONS, you’re making out. Now, with your tongue, you can cross the threshold of your own chompers. Feel free to go slow at first to keep your spit in control—there’s plenty of time and no one likes a slobberer.

BUT! The only thing worse than a Too-Much-Tonguer is a Total-Tongue-Hider. Making out with no tongue is like eating a Blow Pop wherein you never get to the gum: it’s still a lollipop, so it’s pretty good, but you probably want the soft inside part, too. Maybe you’re like a Sour Apple (tons of tongue flavor) but your partner is more of a Cherry (less out there, just the basics). The only way to know is to try. Flavors can mix!

Present them with yours and if they greet you back, keep sharing. You can graze or wrestle, even gently bite or pull your tongue back altogether. Part of the reason people can kiss for so long is that you can switch styles, speeds, directions and it’s still good.

Better than the Blow Pop gum, the flavor doesn’t fade in two minutes. And never mind what they say on TV—it doesn’t get stuck in your braces either.

Love, Joe
None of my “friends” know who I am. Personality, I mean. They see me as whoever they want me to be. I feel empty because of it. What do I do? —Anonymous

Oy, this! I hate this. It’s pretty common for people to be so caught up in their own lives that they cannot, for the life of them, bother to notice others. It sucks and is awful. But let us not discuss how much it sucks! Instead, let’s discuss what I am hearing, in your question: you are very keyed in to what your friends think of you. Maybe too keyed in. If they don’t see who you are, you start to feel “empty,” as if you don’t exist. And this, to me, indicates that you are giving too much power to your friends.

Everybody wants to be liked. One of the easiest and most convenient ways to do that is just to reflect your environment; you’re into music with the musicians, you talk about dating with the friends who do the date-talk, you’re a sci-fi nerd with the sci-fi nerds. Etcetera, etcetera. I was all about this, at a certain point in my life. And there was a pretty obvious reason for that: I did not like myself. I had absorbed the message that, whoever I was, I wasn’t worth people’s time or care, and that the only way to “fool” anyone into thinking otherwise was to imitate other, better people. The sad part? All the people around me had gotten the same message. Especially the girls. So we had an entire world built around trying to reflect one another, and seeing ourselves only as reflected in one another, and … have you ever seen a mirror reflecting a mirror? It’s not that interesting. It’s just a whole lot of shiny, empty space.

This is a really crappy way to live. It results in shallow, empty relationships. It results in having dozens of friends, and feeling lonely every time you hang out. Fortunately, the solution is simple (if not exactly easy): You figure out who you are, and you share it fearlessly.

Do you have a journal? Get a journal. Write in it, until you figure out which topics fascinate you. Then, start conversations about them, and see who takes up the challenge. Make a list of all the weird interests you have—English folk music! Woodworking! Screen-printing your own T-shirts! Whatever!—and then figure out why you like those things, and how you can get really knowledgeable or skilled when it comes to at least one of them. Then, tell everyone about how much fun you are having, with your woodworking and such. Your friend-sorting process begins here.

Some people are going to be all, “Ugh, you build cabinets?” These are not the friends you need. Toss ’em. Some people are going to be all, “Whoa! I don’t know anyone else who can build such awesome cabinets! Good for you!” These are real friends. Keep them. And then, unbelievably but inevitably, someone is going to share with you the fact that they are building their very own spice rack, and you are going to have someone who shares this “weird,” previously lonely portion of your life. In fact, you are going to draw all sorts of new people to you. People who do not NEED to project a convenient personality onto you, because they are really into the personality that you have RIGHT NOW. Which has been your goal all along.

Don’t get me wrong: You’re always going to relate to most people with only a portion of your full self. Only very rare and very good friends can handle absolute, unfiltered honesty. But as you get more comfortable and honest in your relationships, you’re going to create an environment in which comfort and honesty are acceptable. And at that point, your friends are going to start relating to you in a new way. And you are probably going to find out something shocking: you weren’t seeing the “real them,” either. And they’re happier to know you, now that it’s OK to be themselves.

Love, Sady
Why is conformity the norm and why are we labeled “indie” or “hipster” when being ourselves (and passionate about what we truly love)? —Tara, Los Angeles

I’ve been called a hipster what seems like a thousand times. My peers are often quick to label my tastes in music or movies as “indie” even when those things really aren’t independently produced. Sometimes it seems like I’m known more as a hipster and, well, less as an actual person. Why? Why am I, and so many other people like Tara, instantly deemed hipsters for honestly just loving something and being ourselves? The answer is simple: people are threatened by difference.

Conformity is easy. Liking what everyone else likes is safe and cozy. To step outside the prevailing culture is scary for some people. Not to mention that liking something that other people don’t like doesn’t make you very popular. If you want to be popular and likeable, the easiest way to do that is to like what the popular people like, which is usually not too risky, or weird, or … interesting. Some of that stuff is great (I unabashedly love Justin Bieber, iCarly, and Hot Topic), and having predictable, middle-of-the-road tastes isn’t necessarily a bad thing. But if that’s all you like, it might mean you’re afraid to step out of line and truly express yourself by loving something that might be different.

That’s why when a lot of people encounter someone like you, who is expressing herself and being passionate about what she loves, they call that person a hipster. Because they hate your freedom! So they put you down. They accuse you of trying too hard to be different, to be “indie.” Why do they think you’re trying too hard? Why can’t they accept that you love what you love effortlessly? Isn’t that silly? People throw the hipster label onto others whom they’re jealous of or threatened by, or, sometimes, when they’re genuinely intrigued by a person’s uniqueness.

Sometimes people use the word hipster in a neutral or even complimentary way—to describe someone as artsy, quirky, cool or generally into independent films and music. That’s right, sometimes “indie” and “hipster” have their bright side! A friend once told me, “I like being called a hipster. I take it as a compliment. It means I’m different!”

So, Tara, and all teenagers who face this problem, you can choose to either embrace or ignore those who call you a hipster. The important thing is that you know you’re unique, and effortlessly so. You love what you love because you love it, simple as that!

Love, Hazel
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  • Adriana September 27th, 2011 7:12 PM

    French kissing is gross.

  • I.ila September 27th, 2011 7:18 PM

    my friends friend bit her tongue while making out and threw up all over her boyfriend.

    Sorry for that image.

    But I really like this. especially the lost image thing. This sometimes happens when you do what other people tell you to instead of going your own way. If you have a friend or companion who is overbearing, then let them know that you are the boss of your personality.

  • Hunter September 27th, 2011 7:23 PM

    Adriana took the words right outta my mouth…or….my fingertips…whatever…

  • erin September 27th, 2011 7:27 PM

    I like the one about hipsters. My friend’s brothers always call the two of us hipsters, just because we have our own personal styles and listen to music that isn’t on the radio. But we’re just individuals.

  • omgjc September 27th, 2011 7:59 PM


  • leylag September 27th, 2011 8:01 PM

    YES thank you for answering questions that are usually too awkward or weird to answer but also i completely agree with the journal thing! i actually can’t wait to write in my journal every day it might be the highlight of it too
    everyone do it it works!!

  • dreamyj September 27th, 2011 8:06 PM

    Great advice. I’m not in high school anymore, but I I too really identified with the lost identity question. I tend to have the same general personality when interacting with my different friends, but I feel that a lot of stuff changes too, and I tend to take their lead. I don’t really mind, but sometimes it can get overwhelming, absorbing other people’s energies for so long, if that makes sense? I find it can make me negative, in the sense I am self deprecating in order for someone to correct me and tell me who exactly I am. I still haven’t figured what to do, but a journal sounds like a good place to start. =)

  • Pyxie Gwynne September 27th, 2011 8:48 PM

    ” If you’ve made it this far: CONGRATULATIONS, you’re making out.”


  • Whatsername September 27th, 2011 9:20 PM

    Wait, people use “hipster” as an insult? I’ve never heard that. My friends and I call ourselves hipsters all the time, for the fun of it.

  • littleDani September 27th, 2011 9:43 PM

    plenty of people i know call me a hipster, even though i’d consider myself more of a geek. i guess when i complain about terrible movies and music, it makes me sound like i don’t like anything mainstream. meh.

  • Gretchyn September 27th, 2011 11:05 PM

    I really loved the response to the question about not being known by your own “friends”. I could definitely relate + the way you worded it was perfect. Rookie mag will become my go-to advice for teenage life~~

  • fullmetalguitar September 27th, 2011 11:30 PM

    I like that you finished off answering the lost question with saying maybe they weren’t seeing their friends as they really are either. One thing I’ve noticed is that a lot of people who say that their friends don’t really know them or understand them actually never open up to those friends – out of fear or insecurity or whatever, and that’s not fair. You can’t assume that you know the other person so well that you know they’d dislike the real you. That’s bad for you and bad for them. Sometimes those people who you say aren’t real friends are that way because you never let them be a real friend to you in the first place. Just a thought!

  • juliette September 28th, 2011 12:22 AM

    i hate when people label you as ‘hipster’ for going places that are bit more interesting entertainment/fashion/everything-wise than the dead monocultural suburbs in which you’re forced to live. do you have to go places you hate to go just to avoid being labelled? don’t get me wrong, i find pretentious people incredibly annoying, but it seems everyone and anyone is called ‘hipster’ these days.

  • DeliriumRose September 28th, 2011 1:16 AM

    Your brain is not done growing and developing at 18. It continues until you are about 25.

  • Cherokee September 28th, 2011 3:47 AM

    To me, weed is probably less harmful than alcohol and cigarettes (well, I am sure this has been proven.)

    I know plently of people who smoke everyday and they are fine. Yeah, there is the paranoid thing, but I have only known one person who said she became paranoid when she had a smoke, and she doesn’t touch it now.

    There are A LOT worse things you could do then smoke weed, to be honest.

    (This is also coming from someone who doesn’t smoke that much, either.)

  • chloelrd September 28th, 2011 5:00 AM

    I fully agree with all of these, good advise! But noting on the indie/hipster thing, I think it is sad what people are turning ‘hipster’ into. Indie is a completely different thing! A hipster is someone who is in their twenties or older and the word was first used a long time ago. I hope it doesn’t turn into the same thing that indie did because it’s a pretty good word and was first used in the 40′s to describe people into jazz etc.

  • jessejames September 29th, 2011 9:55 PM

    Bahahaha, I had my first kiss last night and I kinda sucked at it but all I could think of were tetris blocks. (:

  • SammyBrrr October 3rd, 2011 4:12 AM

    I disagree with one part of the hipster question. I don’t think that liking nothing but “mainstream” things means you’re afraid to like other things. Maybe its just what some people like.