Things Are Getting Chaotic on Man Repeller This Month


Every once in a while, a word or phrase comes along that is embraced so thoroughly that it feels, if only for a moment, like all of humanity is singing the same tune. There’s a honeymoon period with these terms, before they lose their potency and retire to Florida where they live out the rest of their lives as cliches. As a lifelong nerd, I’ve always found it satisfying to track the life cycle—and the honeymoon period is probably my favorite part. That’s when we become drunk on collective recognition, inventing and reinventing ways of using language to deliver our ideas and observations about the world to each other more efficiently, and hopefully, entertainingly.

Right now, the word “chaos” and its adjective form “chaotic” seem to have reached their feverish peak. I’ve found it interesting that they’re used interchangeably as positive and negative descriptors, with widely varying stakes: An episode of Vanderpump Rules can be chaotic; your unhinged-but-harmless roommate can be chaotic; the very fabric of our society—from climate change to the democratic primaries—can be chaotic. (In fact, Mayor Pete Buttigieg used “chaos” four times in a single response during the Democratic debate last week.) Sometimes, we use the word to express our utmost amusement and other times to express our deepest anxieties through gritted teeth.

Regardless of what tone the word takes, there’s an underlying acknowledgment that chaos is ephemeral. It’s simply not built to last. Unsustainable in all forms. It’s a transitional phase, and transitions are always exciting in some way. When we acknowledge something as chaotic we are acknowledging the fact that we don’t have control over everything and commit ourselves to watching things run their course, not trying so hard to tame the energy, but to experience it instead.

So, yes, March is “chaos” month on Man Repeller. Here’s what you can expect (although, I would encourage you to surrender to the unexpected, naturally).

  • Extremely ”unconventional” roommate stories (later today!)
  • An ode to the “get what you get” tattoo
  • Really fun “getting ready” videos featuring Leandra on IGTV (kicking off today and updating all week)
  • A check-in with the writer of one of our most out-of-control money diaries
  • A detailed accounting of rush hour in one of New York’s busiest cafes

One editor suggested that we turn the MR office into an escape room for the month, but I drew the line there….

And now I’d love to know what you want to read about this month. What’s causing chaos in your life right now, good and bad? Which kinds of chaotic things do you still desperately want to tame and which ones do you embrace wholeheartedly?

Photos by Alistair Matthews. Prop Styling by Max Rappaport.

Mallory Rice

Mallory Rice is a writer who sometimes has bangs and sometimes does not. She was previously the executive editor of this fine website.

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