February’s most popular stories on Man Repeller covered love, friendship, career, culture, fashion, beauty, self-esteem…in other words: the conversational stuff of long, sprawling dinners that accidentally last three hours. If you had a busy month and forgot to check in, take a long, sprawling scroll below to catch up. We’ll meet you in the comments.
“The fear of friendlessness is deep-seated, codified into our malleable brains at too vulnerable an age to be easily dismantled. I feel fairly certain this is true, and yet, like the human-shaped pile of contradictions that I am, I still manage to believe everyone’s fine and definitely hanging out without me.”
“So in honor of paying it forward this February, grab some chocolate and join me (and the stars) in analyzing your romantic tendencies. Through my chosen lens of monogamy, here’s my best guess at what kind of partner you are, according to your sun sign.”
“Every time someone reaches to clasp my hand in theirs, be it a friend or boyfriend, I am immediately overcome with a feelings cocktail of 45% delight and 55% stress. I am delighted they want to hold my hand, and I am delighted by the feeling of this person’s hand in mine and mine in theirs, but I am stressed about the etiquette.”
“I’ve never made a career blunder dastardly enough to get me fired, but I’ve made plenty of small ones I subsequently mulled over for weeks on end, like Everlasting Gobstoppers that never failed to run out of stress juice.”
“How do you know when you have over-indexed on a trend? I used to think it was just a function of marketplace over-saturation, but for whatever reason, Disney princess sandals still reign supreme no matter how many pairs are released. So I’ve changed my thesis: you’ve over-indexed when a particular trend stops feeling modern.”
“If the fashion industry is indeed fissured, I would posit that street style is the glue that holds it together. It provides the ahhhhh! feeling of immediate satisfaction that runway shows, though beautiful to look at, might not.”
“As a woman of color, I am acutely aware that, no matter how hard I try, sometimes life will only hand me lemons. My intersectionality means that I have dealt with discrimination uniquely and often, and as hard as I’ve tried to change that reality, it often feels beyond my control. When I decided to seek joy, I hoped it would serve as the sweetness my life needed.”
“Over the years I have grown accustomed to stepping out of the way of my very stylish friends’ paparazzi-captured photographs during fashion weeks — every once in a while getting snapped by proxy between two friends with whom I happen to be coordinating and once because I was in polka dots. But usually, normally, I’m politely ignored.”
“That’s when I realized that the past seven years have been a sprint in the pursuit of validation from anyone who will give it to me. It has allowed me to cast aside a much more systemic problem: that I never learned self-esteem, which is arguably because I never had to.”
You swooped in to deposit hundreds of natural beauty recommendations of your own, turning the comment section into a virtual slumber party replete with best-kept beauty secret swapping. And thus, the story below the story become one unto itself.