You Asked It

Just Wondering

Finding fun, confidence, and forgiveness.

It’s the middle of summer, and so far I have spent my holidays hanging around the house almost 24/7. I don’t really have any close friends, and I don’t know what to do with the next six weeks. I don’t want my holidays to be a complete waste. I live in a small village that is quite remote. I am 16 and not legally allowed to drive in my country yet. So, Rookie, what should a loner like myself do to occupy her time? —M.

First off, whatever you do with your summer, it will not be “wasted.” Don’t be so hard on yourself! There’s nothing wrong with taking it easy.

It’s totally OK to be a homebody and/or a loner, if that’s what you want. But if you’re feeling down and you still don’t want to venture out into the world, there’s plenty of stuff you can do at home that will make you feel like you have accomplished something with your free time. Make a list of books you’ve always wanted to read and read them all; watch as many films as possible by a particular director; listen to all the albums of an unfamiliar band. You could write poetry, learn to play the guitar, start a zine, or rip up all your old magazines and make a collage. Exercising can actually be fun—try my favorite way to break a sweat: blasting music and dancing like mad.

But if you’re feeling cooped up and bored, you should try and get out of the house and explore the area around you, as familiar as it might seem. If you live in a small town, walk around, and maybe even find little places to make your own. If you have a bike, you can ride around and, depending on your stamina, really go far. If you want to get some real distance without a car, figure out where you can catch a bus or a train—public transportation is always going to take you somewhere interesting. I find libraries, museums, and art galleries are the best kinds of places to not feel lonely.

When you’re heading out on your own, grab a good book, some food, maybe a camera, maybe something to play music on. Sometimes silence is nice, but music makes you feel less alone. I always think it’s really fun to explore with my headphones on, as if my adventures have their own soundtrack. You could make a different playlist for each week of the remaining summer holiday.

If you don’t have any close friends around and you are thirsting for company, you can try to make some new friends, online or in person. When you don’t limit yourself, I find that you can strike up a conversation with just about anyone. If you want to hang out with a new friend, then don’t be shy: seriously, just ask them. They will probably be flattered. I was awful at this when I was 16, but now that I am 18, it’s much easier to put myself out there. I now know that it isn’t that big of a deal.

If no one’s around, there’s nothing wrong with doing things alone: it’s a perfect opportunity be independent, to get to know yourself. Think of it as an adventure and you are the heroine. Do things that make YOU happy. Other people won’t get in the way of your plans or complain.

Finally, don’t stress! This is your time to relax and open your mind and enjoy your time off school—that is all you really have to do. —Naomi

I have pretty bad cellulite on the backs of my thighs. Lately it has been making me feel really horrible about myself. I’m constantly worried about how my legs look, and it keeps me from wearing some of the things I want to wear. I wish I could appreciate my legs. I’ve decided to start exercising to try to counteract it; I was wondering if there was anything else I could do? –R.

Dear R.,

Even though it’s gross that tabloid magazines make cover stories out of celebrity cellulite, I will admit that I kind of love seeing non-airbrushed pictures of famous people’s backsides. The reason I find it so delightful is that it reminds me that no one is immune to the thigh dimple. Reese Witherspoon, a Real Housewife, Beyoncé: we’re all human! Cellulite is part of the package. I’m sorry to hear that it’s making you feel self-conscious. I’ve had cellulite for as long as I can remember, and there are a handful of things that I won’t wear because of how they would make my thighs look—hot pants, say—but when it gets to be 90 degrees, I will happily wear dresses that are just as short, for maximal air-conditioning. You know why that is? Because I want to wear whatever makes me feel good.

And you should too! Your legs are your friends! They carry you around all day long! Wear things that make you feel comfortable. Does that sometimes mean that some things might be off-limits? Yes. I have about a million pieces of clothing in my closet that I bought because they cost a dollar or were just too cute to resist but never, ever, ever wear because they were made for someone with a different kind of body than mine. I don’t mean a better body or a worse body, just a different body. My waist is the smallest part of me, and whenever I put on a dress that’s tight around the waist and then flares out, I feel gorgeous and fun and like I have the cutest little bod in the world. I love the ’20s and the ’60s but whenever I try on shift or drop-waist dresses, I feel nothing like Twiggy. And so I don’t wear those. Being a girl means figuring out what both flatters your body AND makes you happy.

Of course, exercising is good, not because it will make your cellulite vanish—because it most likely won’t—but because exercising will make you feel accomplished and strong. Combine that feeling with a dress or skirt or shorts that fall just a smidge above the knee, and you are in business. Also, I will never ever forget this one issue of Sassy magazine from approximately 1994 in which Kim France (who went on to be the editor of Lucky) talked about her “Kim France Pants,” which were black bike shorts that she wore under her very short skirts. A perfect (and timeless) solution. –Emma S.

I am 18 and not exactly a party animal. Neither are my friends. We’ve been wondering how clubbing works. Like, do they have coat checks? Because I don’t want to carry around a handbag while getting my “groove” on. Is it expected that I wear five-inch heels? Because I can’t dance in those. Do you have to pay to get into clubs? Is there a drink minimum? Is it like going to a high school dance? Because I totally hated those. Basically: is it worth it? Thanks, Mimi.

Those girls you sometimes see lined up outside a club, shivering in body-con dresses? Inveterate clubgoers. They know the only way to roll is with your bare essentials. Always leave your junk in the car if you can. Bringing a coat into the club is an invitation to have someone steal it or nab shit from your pockets, whether or not you check it. Some people don’t mind dancing with a small purse, but I find it super annoying. I really like to keep it minimal. I have clubbed with my girlfriends deep in the Midwestern winter: one of us just brought a BIG bag, and we all stuffed our coats into it and put it in the middle of us while we danced. I personally am a fan of wearing something that you can fit an ID and $20 somewhere where it will stay put—deep inside the bra or in a small pocket. I am totally one of those chicks that keeps a twenty her sock. No one is gonna steal my sock dollars, and I can do all the dance moves I want, because I am not holding a clutch or a coin purse with my bus pass in it.

The only clubs I know of with a drink minimum are strip clubs and comedy clubs, so I wouldn’t sweat that so much. The clubs you are talking about going to, ones that admit 18 year olds (I am assuming you do not have a fake ID since you don’t mention it), are likely more clubby-clubs, not just a bar with a good DJ. If you are going to a specific club, check their website/Facebook/Twitter to find out if they charge a cover fee or have any specials. Clubs are usually looking to attract women, so lots of times there will be a reduced cover for ladies before a certain time.

In my experience, these kinds of places are big, cheesy-ish clubs, usually downtown, with valet parking and B96 hits all night. They can be super fun, especially for people-watching and just, like, running to the dance floor with your girls when your song comes on or quietly mocking cheeseball dudes who are hitting on your friend.

Double check that the club doesn’t have a strict dress code, like “no street sneakers” or something. Otherwise, feel free to bust out your tennies or your Toms or your huaraches if that’s going to help you dance all night all night all night long. I like dancing in heels, but I like a mid-rise chunky/platformy heel for better balance. Mimi, you should wear whatever you feel comfortable dancing in, and whatever makes you feel cute! It is summer! Thrift yourself a new dress for the occasion. (Check to make sure you can move your arms in it, though.)

Going out to a club is not like a high school dance. Most of the people there don’t know each other. People go out in small packs mostly to hang with each other, or to shop for some cute company. Your night might be corny and weirdly boring, or it might be super fun. I love dancing with my friends so much that the only thing that really matters is whether the DJ plays the songs that get us moving. If the music’s right you can dance all night. —Jessica H.

My boyfriend came out to me the other day and ended our relationship. I told him we could still be friends, but I’m so, so angry with him. I feel like he used me and lied to me, but we have a lot of classes together next year, and I don’t want things to be awkward. Also, I can’t tell any of my friends the real reason we broke up, because he isn’t ready to come out to everyone yet. What should I do? Sincerely, Julia

I know no one wants to hear “I know how you feel,” but in this case—Julia! Holy cats! I ACTUALLY KNOW HOW YOU FEEL. This happened to me, too! I dated a boy in high school for almost a year who later came out to me, and like you, I felt angry, hurt, confused…God, I felt a lot of things.

The relationship ended on friendly terms, but honestly? I felt like he had used me as a cover-up. I wondered whether he had ever been attracted to me at all. I mean, we had kissed! We had snuggled! We had, um, done a lot more than that! WAS IT ALL A LIE??? Did he actually find me…gross? Was he thinking about guys during make-outs when I was thinking about him? And he never told me until the end, even though I was closer to him than anyone else, and I had told him all of my secrets. EXCUSE ME, asshole. I’m not here for that.

I was so angry. But now that I’m older, and also gay myself (in high school I mostly liked boys–I didn’t totally figure out that I was only interested in women until I was about 21), I can see how completely confusing the situation was for everyone involved.

My boyfriend, whom we’ll call Jeff, was young and scared. Like me, he was attracted to the opposite sex, but NOT NEARLY AS ATTRACTED as he was to his same sex. Basically, he was not totally-for-sure-certain that he was gay yet and not ready to handle being out in high school. Maybe he was just a late bloomer or just hadn’t found the right girl yet. Jeff admitted later that he was experimenting with me, making a kind of last-ditch effort to be sure he wasn’t mistaken about his orientation.

But it turned out Jeff really was gay. And when he told me, I was furious. He begged me not to tell anyone, so I couldn’t even get the I-just-broke-up-with-my-boyfriend pity-party I was entitled to have with my friends! RUDE!

Julia, I think it’s commendable that you still want to be friends with your ex-boyfriend. Jeff and I are friends to this day. But I also think you’re allowed to be mad for a while. It’s valid to feel lied to and used—who wants to be a cover? Ultimately, you have to remember that the situation might not be crystal clear for him. He wouldn’t have dated you if he didn’t like you. And he might be figuring things out as he goes along. It’s possible he is (or was) attracted to both boys and girls.

If I could go back and do it differently, I would have reacted to Jeff’s confession with a little more empathy. It can be scary to realize you’re gay, especially in high school. The world is still not safe for the young and queer. Please don’t out him. He’ll come out to everyone when he’s ready. Tell your friends “it just didn’t work.” Relationships are based on friendships, and real friends hold each other accountable for how they hurt each other, but still give each other empathy when it’s needed. —Krista

If you have a question for Just Wondering, please send it to youaskedit@rookiemag.com.

23 Comments

  • WitchesRave July 24th, 2012 7:31 PM

    Great advice guys once again.

    Im currently powering through imdb’s top 250 greatest films list this summer to occupy myself and to become more cultured!

    Thanks for the link to the Sassy scans!

    witches-rave.tumblr.com

    • unefillecommetoi July 24th, 2012 9:46 PM

      criterion.com is a good site for movies too. i’ve spent my summer finishing homeschool highscool (yaay i graduated) and studying for filmschool. no summer is wasted ever.

      • starcollector July 26th, 2012 8:09 PM

        Summers before film school = so many movies watched that my brain is slowly rotting… with pleasure? It’s like eating your favorite food seven times a day, except it hasn’t gotten old yet ;)

  • Sharon July 24th, 2012 8:38 PM

    I always feel kind of bad about myself when I read rookie because most of the articles/photo stories have to do with friends/girl gangs and I don’t really have anyone that i’m compatible with in my town or school. So that first question really rocked my world SO THANKS.

  • Nickysperanza July 24th, 2012 9:56 PM

    We should become penpals! I feel completely the same way and I try to keep myself busy and explore on my own. Also keeping an open mind helps too:)

    http://www.gimmeebrains.tumblr.com

  • Clairebearscare July 25th, 2012 12:15 AM

    The first question=my life.
    The advice was awesome. THANK YOOUUU

  • faithdarwin July 25th, 2012 12:30 AM

    Dear teenaged Rookies: As someone who recently turned 21, I would just like you all to know that clubbing is the most overrated thing in the whole entire world, in my opinion! It’s just terrible music played way too loud, weird dudes trying to rub up on you while you dance, and overpriced drinks. In my humble opinion, if you like dancing, have a dance party with some friends. Clubs are so not worth it! (I am telling you this because for a while I would occasionally get dragged out by friends and would convince myself that I would enjoy just because it seems like something that is enjoyed by lots of people. Once I accepted that I simply do not like going to clubs, my life got so much easier.)

  • psychedelicmango July 25th, 2012 1:17 AM

    i feel like that’s how a lot of us rookie-readers are, feeling like no one around us in our small-minded suburban towns really gets us, but here we all are! on rookie! and to me, that’s what rookie is all about..

  • emile July 25th, 2012 2:08 AM

    cellulite can be caused by inadequate hydration. make sure you’re drinking lots of water, especially in the summer. staying properly hydrated is super important for many, many reasons.. great skin is just a fabulous byproduct. :D

  • Susann July 25th, 2012 2:16 AM

    I could relate to the first two questions so much and I always love the great advice you guys give!

    Fashion in Pepperland

  • ivoire July 25th, 2012 2:26 AM

    Heyhey M! You know what’s fun? Taking really cool photos of your neighborhood! Disposable cameras are really easy to find and to use and you can have great fun with those.

  • streaked lights July 25th, 2012 3:21 AM

    Really relevant advice for me! I just moved to a new country, and I always feel so bored and lonely. I’ve always thought that going out was like, a group thing. But now that I think about it, I can do all the stuff that I couldn’t have done with my friends, like museums and exploring (They’d complain throughout; ‘I’m tirrrred, can we eat now?’)

    Oh, and thanks for the club info too! I don’t think I’ll ever be much of a club person, but at least I have this info, just in case.

    http://www.anooshadraws.blogspot.com

  • hattilongsoks July 25th, 2012 3:38 AM

    The first question and answer are brilliant. I think a lot of people get the ‘lonely’ summer blues. And it can be really hard to cope with at times but the answer given is fantastic and has given me some ideas.

    Thank you Rookie Mag for being awesome as always x

  • Toilets July 25th, 2012 5:16 AM

    Last night I went clubbing in flat lace-ups, was the shortest of my group by about a foot, and a girl came up to me in the bathroom and went, “Oh, you’re so dinky and cute!”

    So worth it when everyone’s staggering around on their stilts at 3am and my feet feel like rainbows and sunshine.

  • starsinyourheart July 25th, 2012 9:43 AM

    i have to know, was the all night all night all night long a Demi Lovato reference or a Lionel Richie reference? hahah!

  • Anna July 25th, 2012 4:33 PM

    The first q and answer <3 Thank you M and Naomi

  • smilingrottenflesh July 25th, 2012 5:19 PM

    Krista, you are wonderful.

    Can Rookie write about cultural appropriation? Not just explaining what it is, but exploring ways to navigate style when mainstream fashion largely avoids conversation about appropriative offenses. I know there are many helpful resources online that have addressed instances of Urban Outfitters’ numerous falters and Gwen Stefani’s career specifically, but whenever I go on reading binges trying to educate myself on this issue I never feel… resolution? I guess because it’s something I have to seek out, instead of this being a discussion in the public sphere.

    I trust Rookie would be helpful opening up a dialogue here, so that we can all confront some of theses problems in the fashion atmosphere today, instead of continuing to ignore them.

  • NotReallyChristian July 25th, 2012 6:01 PM

    M, I totally feel your pain. Living in a small village in rural Cambridgeshire, there’s not a whole lot to do (especially when the only people I actually like here are on swanky holidays in Borneo). My favourite summer thing: swimming in the river (or lake, or sea, but for me it’s a river). When it’s hot, like it is in Cambridge right now SHOCK HORROR, the river is a dusty 20-minute bike ride away and when I get there I just want to jump right in! It’s best to pretend I’m hanging out with Virginia Woolf and Rupert Brooke, who used to swim in the same river back when they were badass young student-poets in the 1910s :)

    p.s. Make sure your swimming-place is safe! Don’t swim in the middle of / right downstream from a town, and if you swim in the sea watch for tides and stuff.

  • Ben July 26th, 2012 3:27 AM

    I always have lots of projects and stuff I do in the summer but I also just like to explore and be lazy at home and stuff! I was just today thinking about how I really don’t have many close friends too!
    Those last links are really scary and depressing! I wish people didn’t do these things! It’s not OK!

  • Franckswife July 26th, 2012 7:50 AM

    Oh yeah, love your advices guys. I’m not depressed anymore now. Thanks Naomi !

    And as it was said in the comments, this feel-lonely summer is a perfect time to have penpals ! Who wants to be mine ?

  • DrewNotBarrymore August 1st, 2012 12:19 AM

    A huge, huge THANK YOU to “M” for asking her question. I thought I was the only one who had this problem, and I felt like a loser, hahaha. >.< I hope you have a wonderful-six-week-summer! :)

  • taliakathleen August 1st, 2012 3:48 AM

    I always prefer to go clubbing on week days (I know it’s weird, but me and all my friends work on weekends so it’s just easier). I find that the music is better (look for theme nights) and rocking up in jeans and flats is more accepted. Less people who will look down on you for that as well (and less seedy guys trying to hook up).
    And you don’t have to drink. Most people will but if you volunteer to drive then your friends will love you extra, you will save a million dollars on drinks and taxi fares and, if you are in the right sort of club with the right sort of people, you will still have fun.