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Don't Like Me, Love Me!

In the first few years of becoming a New Yorker, I’d often walk for miles in search of where ‘my people’ were. Often times this would lead me to The Great Lawn or Sheep’s Meadow in Central Park or the Christopher Street Pier where the beautiful people hung out. There was also a Starbucks on the corner of 47th street and 9th avenue that I would prop my laptop up at and sit for hours people watching. The combination of humans that would come in and out of these spaces was so colorful and vast; unlike anything I had seen before in rural Pennsylvania. From homeless folks to the well-groomed gents of the avenue… there was everything. I loved it.

But there was a part of that spectrum of humans that just felt as if though they were trying so hard. So hard to either be what they considered to be cool or to be purposefully “weird”. In high school they were the HotTopic crowd – myself included; my entire bedroom and t-shirt collection was a hodge-podge of HotTopic couture and decor. In NYC, they were the fashionistas, or the misfits, or the alt-folks. In hindsight they were all royalty in their own right. Before social media was a thing, it was all about your outfit and your best foot/shoe forward. 9th Avenue, Central Park, the Piers… they were preening peacock fashion shows. Get noticed. Garnish attention. It was a mating grounds of sorts.

Now we know this as a like, or love, or share, or retweet or react. That’s how we mate, and preen, and peacock around – on social media. Street fashion and ‘looks’ have morphed into Instagram posts of photoshoots and selfies; glossy and styled as if frozen mid-step down 9th Avenue. Getting dressed up and being extra rarely finds itself in broad daylight. It’s no longer for the sake of existing, but for posts and likes and shares. When looks do show themselves in sunlight, it’s like seeing a cockroach – one just freezes and pays attention. Otherwise the avenues, and piers, and parks are athleisure wear and tiny little swim suits. No complaints; it’s just different now.

Love Me is all of that – the parks, the piers, the people – tied up in a bow with a heavy synth to reminisce about the lost years of socially seeking out serotonin in the pre-iphone, pre-social media days. In a way, it's reclaiming my hot-messiness of those few hot-girl summers I had in NYC as we attempt to do the same in this weird post-current pandemic land. May we find it.

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