If you fail to set boundaries, the only person you should be angry with is yourself.

Photo by Isaiah Rustad on Unsplash

When someone requests permission, they are asking what your preferences and boundaries are. It is that person’s responsibility to ask permission and accept your response.

However, it is your responsibility to honestly answer their question. If you’re not honest with them, if you grant permission when you didn’t want to, you have no right to be angry with them when they do something that you don’t like.

They did their due diligence; you failed to do yours.

An example: Throughout college, I had always shared dishes with my roommates.

When I first moved to Pittsburgh for my Ph.D., I asked…

Although sexism is problematic, depictions of sexism don’t have to be problematic, if done responsibly

Ross his with his son Ben, who is holding a Barbie. Ross is asking his ex-wife Carol “What’s my son doing with a barbie?”
Ross his with his son Ben, who is holding a Barbie. Ross is asking his ex-wife Carol “What’s my son doing with a barbie?”
Image via NBC.

Endless articles and listicles have been written about why Friends is problematic and did not age well. Some of the points they make are excellent; for example, although the show is set in the diverse city of New York, there are very few actors of color. However, there are other points I have to disagree with. For example, most articles cite Ross’ sexism as problematic, pointing out that Ross took issue with his son Ben playing with a Barbie in one episode, and with the male nanny Rachel wanted to hire in another episode.

Both of those behaviors are 100%…

Structural inequities in the US are affecting who has the easiest access to vaccines

Photo by Hakan Nural on Unsplash

I was able to get the first dose of the coronavirus vaccine relatively quickly for my age group, as was my entire immediate family. And, the speed at which I got vaccinated may have saved my life. Three weeks after my first dose, I ate indoors with someone who later tested positive for coronavirus. Luckily, I didn’t get sick, most likely due to the protection offered by the vaccine. If I had gotten vaccinated a couple of weeks later I would have likely fallen sick, and there is a small chance that I could have been hospitalized or even died.

Elliot Stabler may elicit sympathy for renegade cops, which would endanger the Black Lives Matter Movement

Image via NBCUniversal

I’ll admit it, back in the day I enjoyed watching Elliot Stabler and Olivia Benson on Law and Order SVU. Their chemistry was electric, and I went to bed imagining that cops were working that hard to keep me safe. And although Stabler occasionally broke the rules, it was only because he cared so deeply. Yes, Stabler may have once thrown a suspect through an interrogation window, but that was only because he was a serial killer and rapist, and his victims included children. What kind of moral person wouldn’t be furious at that suspect? Yes, Stabler may have locked…

Why I can walk up to a stranger and say “I have a knife”, and receive a thank you in return

A knife
A knife
Photo by Harrison Kugler on Unsplash

Fine snow fell through the air; the perfect weather for sipping hot chocolate, but not so great for driving home for Thanksgiving. My friend and I were at a gas station, filling up the tank before driving home to our families. I noticed a woman at the pump in front of us whose tank was frozen shut. Knowing that my friend typically carried a Swiss-army knife on him, I asked, “Do you have your knife on you? Maybe you want to offer it to her so she can get her tank open.”

“Umm…I can’t walk up to a woman in…

Why didn’t the Democrats consider cost of living when drafting the bill?

Photo by Matthew Lancaster on Unsplash

A couple of years ago, when traveling was still a thing, I traveled through Vietnam and Cambodia. I could get dinner, dessert, and a drink for a couple of bucks. If the cost of my meal ever went into the double digits, it was an outrage. I got foot massages nearly every night, just because they were so cheap and felt good after a long day of walking. I even booked a four-hour spa session, because when it only costs $20…why not? …

Currently, our election system benefits politicians who don’t represent the views of all their constituents

Photo by Element5 Digital on Unsplash

When I was in school, I learned that the British system of government was dangerous because they had a monarchy; the king or queen could hurt their constituents without consequence. When the Founders were designing America, they decided to use elections keep politicians moral and honest. A politician who needs to defend their seat in a future election will do what it is best for all their constituents because, if they don’t, they will be voted out of power next time. This idea made sense to me, and I believed it.

However, is it working? Donald Trump is “practically and…

In Stranger Things, they had to water down the truth about Hawkins Lab. Now, the crazier the conspiracy theory, the better.

Nancy and Jonathan come to see Murray Bauman, and bring him the bottle of vodka that sparks his brilliant idea. Image via Netflix.

One thing that fueled Stranger Things’ popularity is its nostalgia factor: the bright clothes, the malls, the mullets. However, although it is set in the past, it is not so far in the past that the characters’ decisions and motivations seem completely foreign to me (case in point: I will never understand the necessity to constantly duel others in Bridgerton and Hamilton).

When I originally watched Season 2 of Stranger Things, I agreed wholeheartedly with the characters’ decisions and motivations. For example, Jonathan and Nancy wanted to expose the truth regarding how Hawkins Lab unleashed a monster from another dimension…

A show set in the 1960s surprisingly has lessons that are applicable to our current reality

Beth Harmon sits at a chessboard, but some of the chess pieces are replaced by bottles of alcohol and pills.
Beth Harmon sits at a chessboard, but some of the chess pieces are replaced by bottles of alcohol and pills.
Beth Harmon could only become the world champion after she realized that she didn’t need drugs to win. Image via Netflix

Recently, I binge-watched the new Cold War-era period drama The Queen’s Gambit. I initially thought it would be a form of escapism — the protagonist, chess prodigy Beth Harmon, shook hands with her opponents and sat across from them sans mask. She often flew across the world, unafraid of sitting in such close proximity to others. Her perfectly curated outfits were a far cry from the sweats that have become my quarantine uniform. However, I couldn’t truly escape, because in that TV show I found so many lessons that were applicable to our current reality.

Beth Harmon was fiercely independent…

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