The mission of Reductress is to take on the outdated perspectives and condescending tone of popular women’s media, through the eyes of the funniest women in comedy today. Also, we want people to think we’re pretty.
Birthdays: We all have them, but what do they mean? Are they a chance to take stock of lessons learned on your time on this Earth? To reflect on one’s own mortality? To receive a Starbucks gift card from your aunt? This year as my anniversary of life draws near, I wonder, is it really my birthday if don’t throw a big celebration and surround myself with loose acquaintances who don’t give one single shit about me?
For as long as I can remember, this very time-honored custom of spending time with the people who feel the most indifferently about me has been how I ring in the latest year of my life, and I can’t imagine where I’d be without it.
Spending my birthday with people I don’t care about and who do not care about me all started when I was a child. In first grade, my mom threw me a birthday party and invited every kid in my class. Seated at the center of the table, I watched in awe as classmates who had never spoken to me sang Happy Birthday; their little voices all came together and recited those special words specifically and obligatorily for me. When they kind of mumbled the name portion of the song, I felt so full and so empty all at once.
Twenty years later, I’m happy to say this tradition lives on!
Of course, as I’ve come into adulthood and really learned who I am, certain elements of this celebration have changed. For instance, my big birthday party now takes place in a bar, and instead of classmates I invite coworkers, friends from college, people I vocally dislike, and even the friends of people I vocally dislike just to sort of fill out the space!
Nothing makes me know that it definitely is, in fact, my birthday like seeing my ex’s roommate walk past with beer in hand and give me a half nod as if to say, “Kind of weird that you invited me to this, but also weird that I actually showed up, so instead of unpacking any of that let’s just continue upholding the unspoken contract to perform these unfulfilling social rituals.”
I love this!
So this year as I prepare for my annual birthday bash, I look forward to agonizing over what I’m going to wear for hours, then spending a night surrounded by virtual strangers who never think about me on a day that isn’t today, all while talking to the same two friends I talk to all the time and hoping that my crush who I invited at the last minute will show up (they won’t!). Happy birthday to me!
Witnesses confirm that cool skater girl Izzy Brooks was momentarily mistaken for a loser skater boy while skating through Washington Square Park last Thursday.
Brooks, who wears her hair short and was donning an androgynous outfit at the time, left some thinking she was just another miscreant, aging man-child as she whizzed by on her board.
However, sighs of relief and appreciation could be heard as lookers-on realized she was, in fact, a seriously cool young woman.
“I was having my lunch in the park when she skated by,” said one witness, Lucia Steele. “At first glance, I was totally irritated, cause as far as I’m concerned, skaters are all certified fuck boys.”
But a mere split second later, Steele’s attitude transformed as Brooks turned a corner and revealed she had been a cool-as-fuck and admirable woman skater the whole time.
“What an incredible reveal,” Steele said. “Just like that, she went from someone I would never swipe right on to someone way too cool to ever swipe right on me.”
Additional witnesses agreed that everything about Brooks from her reckless skating to her big pants initially struck them as tired and unappealing, until they realized she was a woman and consequently one of the coolest people they would see that day.
“At first I was like, this lame skater boy really has a dagger stick and poke on his arm? Give me a break,” said Roseanna Reese. “But then I was like wow, this sick-ass skater girl has a dagger stick and poke and it looks absolutely incredible. I want one.”
When asked about the perception whiplash she caused in the park, Brooks reported that such reactions are a common occurrence.
“Learning how to skate as a young girl was extra hard because the scene was so male-dominated,” said Brooks. “And the culture still has a long way to go in terms of inclusivity. But, yeah, I guess I have the advantage of being seen as much cooler than my male counterparts by most women.”
In an unfortunate development this evening, 29-year-old Valerie Higgins has texted her friend group to say, “Sorry y’all, slight change of plans!” hours before they intended to meet for a group outing.
The group understands that this can only mean one thing: The night is ruined.
“She’s bringing a new boyfriend for sure,” says Lauren Appel, friend of Valerie’s. “Either that, or she’s going to suggest we meet at like, midnight now instead of 7 like we planned.”
“No one ever says ‘slight change of plans’ and then actually proposes a good idea,” chimed in Valerie’s friend, Angel Bennett. “They only say it to soften the punch of announcing that they can’t pick us up or that someone has pneumonia.”
Though the cynicism may seem severe, past events do unfortunately validate their concerns: Of the six times in the past year Valerie has proposed a “slight change of plans”, each has resulted in what all sources present unanimously named an “unmitigated disaster of an evening”.
“There was the ‘slight change of plans’ where Valerie asked us to meet her at a bar an hour and a half outside of town, rather than the one down the street we had all originally planned on,” says Lauren. “We wound up getting lost outside of Cincinnati and never even getting to the bar.”
“And then there was the time her ‘slight change of plans’ involved trying molly for the first time on Claire’s birthday rather than just going out for drinks like Claire wanted,” adds Angel. “Claire doesn’t hang out with us anymore after that.”
As the situation currently stands, the friends are left in an anxious limbo between finding out Valerie has a slight change of plans, and finding out in exactly which way their night has been ruined.
“It’s like a Schrodinger’s Cat thing,” says Valerie’s co-worker, Yvonne Hudgens. “Until we see that follow-up text we can’t really know for sure if our night is ruined or not. But I’m telling you, that cat is dead.”
Amongst the friends, speculation runs rampant as to what Valerie could have in mind. Suggested possibilities range from her trying to merge two difficult friend groups tonight, to her inexplicably trying to get them all CPR certified – both of which have happened in the past, according to the group.