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Find out which classic Bath & Body Works scent you are, based on your zodiac sign

2023-05-09 02:48:37

Find out which classic Bath & Body Works scent you are, based on your zodiac sign(图1)

Find out which classic Bath & Body Works scent you are, based on your zodiac sign

This post is part of Mashable's You're Old Week. Break through the haze of nostalgia with us and see what holds up, what disappoints, and what got better with time.

You probably have a favorite Bath & Body Works scent from days of yore (or now -- no shame), but if you're looking to branch out, we can tell you which one you really embody.

Are you a Plumeria? A Moonlight Path? Oh my god, are you a Sweet Pea? (Lucky.) Find out below using our highly scientific guide. All you need is your astrological sign!

Remember: there is no bad result. These all smelled delightful in the Limited Too era -- if a little overpowering -- and they all smell delightful now.

SEE ALSO: Classic Bath & Body Works scents, ranked
Credit: Mashable Composite/Bath And Body Works
Credit: Mashable Composite/Bath And Body Works
Credit: Mashable Composite/Bath And Body Works
Credit: Mashable Composite/Bath And Body Works
Credit: Mashable Composite/Bath And Body Works
Credit: Mashable Composite/Bath And Body Works
Credit: Mashable Composite/Bath And Body Works
Credit: Mashable Composite/Bath And Body Works
Credit: Mashable Composite/Bath And Body Works
Credit: Mashable Composite/Bath And Body Works
Credit: Mashable Composite/Bath And Body Works
Credit: Mashable Composite/Bath And Body Works

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    • (图2)

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    Still, social media data, while plentiful, has some limitations that can make psychographic analyses challenging. That's why psychographics are predictive, and not completely certain. Analyzing social media behavior (language in posts or "likes") might easily show if someone is happy or sad, "but if you're depressed or not — it’s a more difficult question to answer," Guntuku said.

    "Diagnoses aren't always accurate, even in clinical settings."

    Did Facebook's psychographic data really influence a presidential election?

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    "Whether or not it’s effective in changing the outcome of an election — the jury is still out," Stark said.

    Christopher Wylie, one of the founders of Cambridge Analytica, exposed how the marketing company used data (without consent) from millions of Facebook users. Credit: Getty Images

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    What is known, however, is that psychographic profiles devised from Facebook's data can be extremely valuable. Follow the money: Facebook brought in over $40 billion dollars(opens in a new tab) in revenue in 2017, over $13 billion more than the previous year. Facebook generates nearly all its income from digital ad revenue(opens in a new tab), over 85 percent of which come from mobile ads(opens in a new tab). Mark Zuckerberg's company has a keen understanding of how to sell advertising space -- and to whom.

    The problem arises when this data is used outside these companies, specifically for manipulation.

    For instance, Cambridge Analytica might have used Facebook data to identify sentiments of a certain voter demographic, and then modeled advertisements to play into their ideologies, or to shape their perception of reality, as the company claims it could do.

    People are aware that their online behavior will be used for targeted advertisements, but no one signs up for targeted manipulation. Things get even worse when people are manipulated with propaganda or "fake news."

    And once published for public consumption, those falsehoods spread like wildfire. MIT researchers recently found that false news stories are likely to be retweeted nearly twice as much as accurate news reports.

    After the Cambridge Analytica scandal, will social media data be better protected?

    Due to the intense backlash over Cambridge Analytica's violations, U.S. regulators like the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) are investigating Facebook's privacy policies, and might enforce stricter data protection rules for social media companies.

    "Incidents like this one will likely serve to drive adoption of additional regulation here in the United States, like the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) going into effect in E.U. nations two months from now," said Scott Nestler, who teaches ethics in data science and analytics at the University of Notre Dame's Mendoza College of Business, via email.

    SEE ALSO: FTC confirms it’s investigating Facebook — a huge threat to the social media giant

    The GDPR requires that people be given clearer ideas of what they're consenting to and that their data is anonymized in case it gets out -- as data in the digital age is wont to do.

    Whatever comes of the Cambridge Analytica scandal, the results certainly won't mean an end to psychographic data being used to model our psyche -- at a minimum for sales purposes. Long before Mark Zuckerberg was born, companies employed metrics to determine what Americans want. But now, this data is more detailed and abundant than ever, and its applications are growing. It's not going away, so at a minimum, it should be better protected.

    "Facebook data around personality needs to be considered as sensitive as other medical data," Stark said.

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    Yes, this really did happen.

    The press conference itself was the typical garbage that Trumpworld has been spewing since well before Election Day. Rudy Giuliani, now Trump's personal lawyer, spent his time at the podium promoting lies and disinformation about what the Trump camp has characterized as a fraudulent election.

    I'm not going to share any footage of the event here since I don't want to perpetuate the campaign's lies. But if you've seen any recent photos of Rudy, standing with his arms outstretched as he looks up to the sky, that's from the Four Seasons Total Landscaping presser. It would be funny if not for the Trump administration's destructive impact on American life during the president's single, four-year term.

    Yelp reviewers were feeling the comedy, though. A peek at the business pages for both Four Seasons Total Landscaping and the nearby Fantasy Island Adult Bookstore serves up some premium laughs at the Trump campaign's expense.

    (It should be noted that the Four Seasons Total Landscaping page(Opens in a new tab) on Yelp is currently adorned with an "Unusual Activity Alert" warning. If the clear attempts at humor didn't give it away, the Nov. 7 reviews we're sharing here are, in fact, jokes.)

    "I had them come out to enrich a bunch of manure and boy did they step up to the bar!" Yelp reviewer Lou P. from Larkspur, Calif. wrote(Opens in a new tab). "Was looking for just the right enhancer for my compost pile and they were super responsive, even on a Saturday!"

    Daniel B. from Oberlin, Ohio also had some thoughts(Opens in a new tab), and he was so excited to share them he did it on a phone. His "review," which is fairly incoherent and stream-of-consciousness, ends with the clarifying parenthetical: "(Done with voice to text so you know its good)".

    Garbage venue When you host the evil presidents dummy lawyers you know this isn't a place to go. I will not hold any more business meetings here.  I don't I don't think I am going to take any of my convention meetings with all my employees cause gosh darnit I employ a lot of them but we don't like what this place is doing the president is goon and his lawyers are 2 bit LA hacks that will try and threaten the integrity of this election if only for the chance to make a little bit of moneyGo suck an egg 4 seasons you and your whole stupid thing and you know what while I'm at it what is even the deal anyway why is it called 4 seasons landscaping stupid it's stupid and you should be embarrassed.

    Matthew D. from New Berlin, Wis. went deep-cut(Opens in a new tab) to reference an unfilled Trump campaign promise. "Buyer beware!" he began. "They said they would build the best and most beautiful privacy wall between me and my neighbor, then dumped hundreds of used toilets in my yard and billed me $100k. What am I supposed to do with hundreds of useless toilets?"

    What indeed, Matthew D.

    A few reviewers, including John M.(Opens in a new tab) from Santa Maria, Calif. and Rebecca G.(Opens in a new tab) from Gilbert, Ariz., brought pictures along to strengthen their definitely 100 percent serious reviews.

    Credit: screenshot by mashable

    This is one of my favorites. Joshua D. from Sterling, Va., riffed on current events(Opens in a new tab) involving the Trump camp when he wrote: "This place is a hotbed for coronavirus super spreaders. Do not visit unless you want to get COVID. I don't know why they would allow these super spreaders there."

    Not to be outdone, the nearby Fantasy Island Adult Bookstore(Opens in a new tab) added three fresh reviews to the pile, more than doubling the store's total reviews so far. Trish N. from San Francisco, Calif. went the more realistic and straightforward route in her review(Opens in a new tab), though she did spare a fiery roast for Giuliani.

    Followed COVID protocols. Owner wore a mask. I felt safer in here than I did next door. Outside there was large group of white men gathering in the parking lot and not wearing masks. I think one had his hand down his pants. I'll give him the benefit of the doubt that he must be trying to fix his shirt but I felt major creeper vibes. Thanks for being the business of pleasure and not manure.

    Tucker H., from Brooklyn, NY, took a more metaphorical approach. "They had a large selection of buttplugs on display in the parking lot for some reason," Tucker wrote(Opens in a new tab). "And a lot of cameras around. Could be a little more discreet tbh. Think I'll have my lotions mailed from now on."

    Funny stuff. But let's be real: This press conference was a hastily thrown together shitshow that had the singular purpose of undermining Americans' faith in our free and fair elections. Trump is a criminal who filled his inner circle (and outer circle) with criminals, and the sooner he's gone from public view the safer we'll all be.

  • Monica Lewinsky says she was uninvited from social change event because Bill Clinton was attending


    Monica Lewinsky says she was uninvited from social change event because Bill Clinton was attending

    Yeah, it's 2018 and this is still happening. 

    Monica Lewinsky called out a faux pas on Twitter on Wednesday after she was uninvited from an event.

    The former White House intern and anti-bullying activist says she was invited to an event about social change -- considering she's an ambassador for several bullying prevention organizations and a board member on another, she is an ideal guest. But when former President Bill Clinton planned to attend, Lewinsky's invitation was allegedly revoked.

    According to the Huffington Post(opens in a new tab), the offender was Town & Country Magazine, which held its Philanthropy Summit on Wednesday.

    SEE ALSO: Monica Lewinsky Breaks the Silence on Clinton Affair

    The summit's speakers included Bill Clinton and Parkland survivor and gun control activist Emma Gonzalez.

    "It's 2018," Lewinsky said on Twitter, "emily post would def not approve."

    Author Emily Post wrote "Emily Post's Etiquette," a book that covered everything from which fork to use at dinner to what's appropriate to discuss at the dinner table. She's also famous for saying, “A gentleman does not boast about his junk.”

    Emily Post definitely would not have approved. Credit: United States Library of Congress

    And then Lewinsky called out the event's organizers, tweeting, "Please don't try to ameliorate the situation by insulting me with an offer of an article in your mag."

    On Twitter people shared their support for Lewinsky after she publicized the situation. Gina McGalliard, a journalist, pointed out that it's surprising that Clinton is still invited to events in the #MeToo era.

    And others, like Erin Gloria Ryan, a TV writer, and Andrew Shaffer, an author, said they'd choose Lewinsky over Clinton any day.

    Clinton was served with articles of impeachment in 1998 for lying about his affair with Lewinsky, then a 22-year-old White House intern. Their relationship was revealed while Clinton was being investigated for a sexual harassment claim. Although Clinton was acquitted and served the rest of his term as president, Lewinsky's reputation was significantly damaged.

    Earlier this year, Lewinsky tweeted about how she's marked Jan. 16, the date the affair essentially went public in 1998, as "the day i survived another year" and asked fellow survivors to retweet if they "survived the unimaginable" too.

    Lewinsky has been especially outspoken since the Harvey Weinstein scandal broke -- she wrote(opens in a new tab) about it in Vanity Fair. "My trauma expedition has been long, arduous, painful, and expensive," she said. "And it’s not over."

    Mashable has reached out to both Monica Lewinsky and Town & Country Magazine for comment.

    UPDATE: May 9, 2018, 5:49 p.m. PDT: A representative referred us to Lewinsky's tweets when asked for comment.

    UPDATE: May 10, 2018, 10:24 a.m. PDT: Town & Country issued the following statement via Twitter.

  • Plaid shirt guy wins the internet with silly faces during a Trump rally


    Plaid shirt guy wins the internet with silly faces during a Trump rally

    Going viral and becoming a meme is pretty easy in the age of Trump: Just stand behind The Orange One at his rallies and — this part's key — make silly faces during his speech.

    Doing so will turn all eyeballs from The Donald to you. It'll also get your removed from the rally courtesy of the Secret Service. But, worth it!

    SEE ALSO: Sia's story of meeting Donald Trump on 'SNL' comes with a crappy twist ending

    This is exactly what happened when Tyler Linfesty attended a Trump rally in Montana on Sept. 6. He quickly became immortalized on the internet as "Plaid Shirt Guy" after he was spotted visibly reacting to the president's words just behind his right shoulder.

    "Some people thought I was being disrespectful – I was not planning to be disrespectful," Linfesty told(opens in a new tab) ABC Fox Montana. "Some people thought I was part of a conspiracy theory, like I was planted there, my friends were planted there — I was not planted there."

    Linfesty says he was just there to meet Trump, shake his hand, and take a photo with him.

    "I was just there to see the president and I had my natural reactions when I thought he said something I disagreed with, I visibly disagreed," says Linfesty.

    Linfesty was removed from the event mid-way through Trump's speech, after which the Secret Service asked him to leave -- and not come back -- according(opens in a new tab) to CNN.

    You can see him being whisked away right at the 50:45 mark in the entire video below:

    "I think I know why they removed me. It’s because, well before the rally they told us that ‘you have to be enthusiastic, you have to be clapping, you have to be cheering for Donald Trump,’ and I wasn’t doing that because I wasn’t enthusiastic, I wasn’t happy with what he was saying."

    Whatever, man! The Internet has deemed you meme-worthy. Just look at how many people you made happy:

    Congrats and enjoy the spotlight because it won't last forever.

  • Immerse yourself in the culture of Québec City

    Immerse yourself in the culture of Québec City


    Québec City is a charming Canadian outpost brimming with Old World charm, gorgeous natural beauty and architectural delights. Perfect for a weekend getaway from both Boston and New York, this sophisticated city has its finger on the pulse while also providing a rare glimpse into the past.

    For those in search of a vacation infused with history and bursting with vibrant museums, unique art galleries, world-class restaurants and lively festivals, look no further than this unique North-American destination. Here you’ll find that arts and culture is the Québécois way of life and definitely worth exploring.

    Blast from the past at the Les Fêtes de la Nouvelle-France

    Credit: TQ - TURGEON, LINDA

    Don a period costume and play your part during this lively, historical and gastronomical festival. From the First Nations who have called this region home for millennia, to French explorer Samuel de Champlain who settled here in the early 1600s, the capital city of Québec has a rich, proud history steeped in tradition that residents are proud to continue. Experience what life was like as an early settler in the region and participate in events that honor the traditions of the First Nations who came before them thanks to the hundreds of artists, crafters and culinary pros who bring history to life during the week. Jam-packed with things to do, see and eat, this annual event invites thousands to celebrate all things Québécois at the four-day Les Fêtes de la Nouvelle-France or the New France Festiva(Opens in a new tab)l(Opens in a new tab).

    Key phrase:

    Je me souviens. / I remember.



    Explore our collective culture at the Musée de la civilisation

    Go on an anthropological adventure at the Musée de la civilisation(Opens in a new tab) (Museum of Civilization) and explore the cultural ties that bind us — from ancient civilization through modern day and the sociocultural movements, habits and technology we encounter in our daily lives. This popular, interactive destination features several attractions and a host of rotating shows, all intent on bringing to life the nuanced and at times complicated experience of living on this planet. An upcoming program journeys into the heart of Québec’s history and rich culture. With more than 375 objects and archival documents, and an original film, the program chronicles the lives of the first peoples who inhabited Québec, the contacts between the Aboriginal peoples and the Europeans, as well as life in the days of New France and under British rule.

    Key phrase:

    Bonne journée! / Have a good day!


    Celebrate all things French at the Musée de l’Amérique francophone

    In the centuries since the French settled here, the Québec capital has maintained strong ties to the homeland culture, language and way of life. Express your inner Francophile at this revered cultural institution dedicated to honoring life in New France, a must for history buffs visiting the area. Located in the heart of Old Québec, the Musée de l’Amérique francophone(Opens in a new tab) features a strong permanent collection exploring society in the region, as well as host of rotating programs. Current exhibitions range in scope from art and religion to the French diaspora within North America. Housed within the 17th century Séminaire de Québec, it’s also the oldest musée (that’s museum en français) in Canada, with many precious relics on display in the historic chapel.   

    Key phrase:


    Parlez-vous français? / Do you speak French?


    Art meets life at the Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec

    The Pierre Lassonde Pavilion at the Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec(Opens in a new tab) (National Fine Arts Museum of Québec) is an expansive exhibition space that naturally elevates the works it houses. Situated alongside the historically significant Plains of Abraham National Battlefields Park, the pavilion’s crystalline exterior harmoniously integrates its surroundings into every exhibit. Designed by architectural firm OMA, the mindfully-designed space creates new ways to discover and enjoy the art by blending form with function, and art with life. The pavilion is the biggest cultural project by the city in some 50 years and a testament to Québec City’s institutions and how they continue to evolve, grow and expand toward the future.

    Start planning your trip today with Québec City Tourism(Opens in a new tab).(Opens in a new tab)

  • Recreate the magic (and misery) of theme parks with video food tours

    Recreate the magic (and misery) of theme parks with video food tours

    Internet of Yum digs into all the things that make us drool while we're checking our feeds.


    Ah, a sunny day spent at the theme park. Whether you’re riding high on Dumbo’s back or rubbing Vaseline on your chafed thighs, whittling away a summer weekend with resort amusements is among the most magical — and miserable — of vacation activities.

    From the moment you put on your sunscreen to the second you wish you’d packed bandaids, nothing beats a day at Disney, Universal, Busch Gardens, Six Flags, Cedar Point, Knott’s Berry, or your favorite local attraction. It’s the perfect blend of high-highs and low-lows that makes for a memorable (if chaotic) adventure you and your pals will be reliving for years to come.

    No virtual experience captures a day at the park like theme park food tours.

    Of course, the coronavirus pandemic has closed many of the world's most popular theme parks, in many cases for the longest periods in the parks’ history. Before COVID-19(Opens in a new tab) hit California, Disneyland had only shuttered for single days at a time following the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, the 9/11 attacks, and the 6.7-magnitude Northridge Earthquake.

    So what’s a park lover to do with the happiest places on Earth shut for the foreseeable future? Why, board a tram to the fantastical land of YouTube of course!

    Theme park culture (especially Disney parks culture) thrives online. With first-person ride-throughs of our favorite attractions running alongside clips of pitch-perfect character meet-and-greets, it’s easy to get lost in a video binge as long as the line for Space Mountain. But no virtual experience captures a day at the park — and the emotional rollercoaster that comes with it — like theme park food tours.

    A delightful blend of park appreciation and Mukbang(Opens in a new tab) formatting, this YouTube subgenre is a lightning rod for online audiences. Professionals and amateurs alike have undertaken colossal culinary challenges, eating iconic foods in munching marathons that are recapped in videos lasting anywhere between 15 and 30 minutes. It’s a decadent, slightly overwhelming affair that regularly garners these brave creators hundreds of thousands to millions of views.

    "Well, we know our audience is obsessed with Disney."

    Search “food tours” on YouTube and you’ll soon see the face of the format’s reigning queen.

    Delish senior editor and “Iconic Eats(Opens in a new tab)” host Tess Koman has visited more parks than many of us will see in our lifetime, all in pursuit of tasty foods to show her subscribers. With the help of Delish’s lead creative video producer Chelsea Lupkin, Koman chronicles the extreme excitement and tremendous discomfort of overindulging on amusement park snacks.

    "To be perfectly transparent, the whole 'Iconic Eats' thing was a happy accident," Koman says over the phone. "I had recently come to Delish and pitched myself as on-camera talent, but in the way of iconic foods in certain places around the country — whether it was beignets in New Orleans or deep dish pizza in Chicago or whatever it might be... And at the same time, I was headed to Disneyland on a press trip and just kind of thought, 'Well, we know our audience is obsessed with Disney.'"

    Returning to New York from California, Koman was just happy to have another video under her belt. But when her Disney trip video blew up "so hard and so fast," she knew the possibilities were limitless.

    And so, "Iconic Eats" was born.

    Credit: YouTube Screenshot

    Visiting Epcot, Dollywood, Legoland, and more, Koman and Lupkin now have their production format down to a science. They start by coordinating with park representatives (an essential step Koman says helps filming go smoothly) and creating a meal-to-meal schedule.

    "By the time I get to a park, I have a schedule of everything I'm going to be eating and when over the course of a single day," she says, emphasizing the importance of having a game plan but keeping her on-camera vibe spontaneous.

    "Actually, what I do is, once the schedule is entirely finalized, I won't look at it in the time between finalization and when I actually show up to the park so I can kind of surprise myself all over again."

    "With Galaxy's Edge, I remember it was 5 a.m."

    How long Koman has to eat the park's dishes — typically, 10 to 30 per venue — varies greatly. Depending on how much time park operations can spare, she may have all day or just a few hours to get through everything on her itinerary.

    "Disney without fail wants us there as early as possible, for crowd control reasons or whatever it might be. With Galaxy's Edge, I remember it was 5 a.m."

    Starting her day at Oga's Cantina with a Blue Bantha (basically milk and cookies) and facing a hard stop at 11:30 a.m., Koman had to sprint through Orlando's galaxy far, far away in just 6 and a half hours — roughly how long it would take to wait for and ride Millenium Falcon: Smugglers Run twice.

    "There is an element to [these videos] of super, super, super excitement and gratefulness: 'I can't believe this is my job, blah, blah, blah.' But it's also got a bit of 'Oh my god, what have I done?'"

    Still, Koman says Galaxy's Edge wasn't the most anxiety-inducing shoot she's done. That title goes to Animal Kingdom: "There's so much to eat and it is so big!" That shoot didn't end until nightfall.

    A self-described Jersey girl, Koman is always honest about her job's more stressful aspects. In her videos, Koman often talks with Lupkin about the havoc these mammoth menus wreak on her stomach. To prevent matters getting too out of hand, she has a backpack with all the essentials.

    "I have Tums, I have Pepto, I had Imodium one time, honestly."

    "In my personal bag, I have Tums, I have Pepto, I had Imodium one time, honestly. I have my sunscreen. Chelsea has her sunscreen, and she always keeps bug spray on her. She's like our designated bug spray person. Oh God, what else do I have in there? It's funny because I actually don't unpack that backpack. I leave it the same between trips."

    With her go-bag at the ready, Koman is eager to get back to the theme park scene as soon as it reopens. But in the meantime, she's thrilled folks at home are finding her videos.

    "My knee-jerk instinct when all of this happened because we rolled out Knott's Berry Farm and Magic Mountain during shelter-in-place mandates was that people would stay away from them because it would make them sad more than anything else. But there's some kind of connection there that is making people happy to think of sunnier times."

    It's the same special sauce that Koman thinks pulls viewers in during regular park seasons.

    "In their own very special, strange way the videos provide a service for something that people really look forward to. People spend a lot of time and resources getting their families to these parks, and when they get there they really want to enjoy themselves. So I think the idea of a curated food tour, in a place that they are already really excited about plus the [YouTube] search volume on the park itself has proven to be a very interesting and winning combo."

    For park guests missing their favorite vacation spots this summer, Koman recommends watching ride videos, trying out iconic park recipes(Opens in a new tab) at home, and getting excited for trips to come. As in theme parks, life is full of ups, downs, and loop-de-loops. This wild trip will be over soon enough, and Koman will be back to her regularly stuffed programming.

    "It's all kind of up in the air right now, but I can't wait to be back."

    More deliciousness from Internet of Yum:

    • Misophonia is why I hate food ASMR, and maybe why you do too

    • Guy Fieri has reached an emotional turning point

    • TikTok recipes are a pain to follow, but a joy to watch

    • Can't stop watching gross food videos? Here's why.

  • Stop sneeze-shaming. It isnt even a coronavirus symptom.

    Stop sneeze-shaming. It isnt even a coronavirus symptom.

    Everyone in the path of the novel coronavirus, which at this point is pretty much all of us, should know by now the best advice to avoid catching this highly communicable bug. Wash your hands frequently, for 20 seconds at a time, and stop touching your face. You should also know what pointless panicky behavior looks like: Wearing a mask when you're not actually sick and buying up all the toilet paper.


    And then there's one behavior that seems like it might be sensible, but in fact falls under the panicky column. It has nothing to do with actual coronavirus symptoms, and only serves to increase the growing levels of fear and distrust. We speak of sneeze-shaming.

    Related Video: How to say 'Hello' without touching

    According to the WHO and the CDC, the main symptoms(Opens in a new tab) of coronavirus are a fever, a dry cough, and difficulty breathing. Very few of the afflicted — some 5 percent, according to statistics from China — find themselves sneezing. "Runny nose is rarely a component of the illness," Dr. Marta Feldmesser, chief of medicine of infectious diseases at Lenox Hill Hospital, told(Opens in a new tab) the New York Post. "If people start sneezing, that's not something that should trigger concerns."

    Someone should tell that to the sneeze-shamers, whose overblown reaction in recent days is starting to look a little like this:

    There is, of course, a perfectly innocent reason to find yourself sneezing around this time of year. Spring has sprung across much of the U.S., and it's a particularly bad one for the more than 50 million Americans who suffer from seasonal allergies. California plants have already begun their annual shedding; as I write this, the pollen count in both the north and south of the state is ranked(Opens in a new tab) "medium-high." Thanks to above-average rainfall and temperatures, meteorologists are forecasting(Opens in a new tab) a "long and severe" season for tree, weed, and grass pollen.

    The perfect storm of allergy season and coronavirus panic seems almost designed to increase paranoia among a fearful population. "As an allergy sufferer, I can't deal with the glares," one sneeze-shamed California friend told me. "It's frustrating as hell." Her response breaks down into one of two categories: saying "don't worry, it's just allergies" if there are kids present; "resting bitch face" if there aren't.

    At a coronavirus press conference, Massachusetts Secretary of Health and Human Services Marylou Sudders demonstrates the proper way to cover a sneeze. Credit: Jessica Rinaldi / The Boston Globe via Getty Images

    Of course, allergy sufferers should still follow good sneeze etiquette. Sneezing into the crook of your elbow is the best way to contain it; sneezing into a disposable tissue is also acceptable. If the sneeze sneaks up on you and you use your hands by accident — well, now you have another good use for all that hand sanitizer you're carrying around these days. (Again, washing your hands for 20 seconds is the best response.)

    If you must grumble or glare in public, reserve it for the buffoons who cough on their cellphone screens like it's some kind of modern-day handkerchief (and like it isn't full of germs already). Disapprove of people coming into the office(Opens in a new tab) when they're clearly sick, so long as your main focus is on whether their employer has a retrograde work-from-home policy that forces them to come in.

    Never forget, however, that coronavirus causes fever, coughing, and labored breathing. If you're worried about someone who's out and about when you think they shouldn't be, look for beads of sweat on their forehead. The logical (if extreme) preventative measure is to do what this Orange County, California restaurant(Opens in a new tab) chain has started doing to all its customers: test their temperature at the door. Perhaps in the future we'll all wear forehead temperature gauges in public during outbreaks, just to reassure the excessively nervous.

    But sneezing in general is not, and should not be, something to be ashamed of. We have enough trouble right now dealing with record levels of disinformation, xenophobia, and government ineptitude swirling around the coronavirus. Let's not add sneeze-shaming to the list.

  • In the dating game, women are pressured to play the part of a stereotypical cool girl

    In the dating game, women are pressured to play the part of a stereotypical cool girl


    Play it cool. Keep it breezy. Treat 'em mean. Don't reply straight away. Be aloof. Be distant. Be hard to get. These are the rules you need to follow in order to be "The Cool Girl" — a prevalent dating trope that many women feel pressured to conform to lest they be labelled clingy or desperate.

    The cool girl started out as a stock character born out of male-authored literature and movies. But, the trope has since become so pervasive, the cool girl is now firmly cemented in dating culture, with no sign of disappearing anytime soon. The cool girl is no longer merely a character in a book — she is the acme of female desirability. She is the three-dimensional flesh and bone incarnation of the male fantasy. She is the rejection of the nadir of female behaviour — clinginess. And to many of us, she is a stifling behavioural standard that forces us to hide our true personalities.

    Ever since I started dating as a teenager, I have internalised the notion that I need to to feign indifference and affect cool standoffishness in order to "Get The Guy," so to speak. Unconsciously, I carried this rule into adulthood — it manifests in my behaviour at the start of relationships, it infiltrates the advice I give to friends, and it fuels my anxiety until the mask slips and my authentic self is exposed.

    In the books I read, the films I watched, the most beguiling and intoxicating female characters were unobtainable and remote — their desirability being inextricably tethered to their silent disinterest and unattainability. Think of Eustacia Vye from Thomas Hardy's Return of the Native, Cecilia Tallis in Ian McEwan's Atonement, Estella in Great Expectations by Charles Dickens.

    "I kind of feel pressure from the world in general not to be who I am."

    Lately, I've begun questioning the suffocating pressure I feel to adopt this role whenever I start seeing someone new. Who told me I need to masquerade as someone else and to literally adopt a different personality in order to be desirable to the opposite sex?

    Writer Katie Tamola, who dates men, told me the "cool girl" ideal has been drummed into her since she was a child. "I've just always had people close to me tell me I need to play it cool with dudes," she tells me. Tamola says family members and teachers have told her to "stop being so emotional and expressive" — especially with men.

    "I kind of feel pressure from the world in general not to be who I am," Tamola says. "I've always been emotional and immensely passionate about things. I often find myself wishing I could be the calmer, cooler version of a girl that I see portrayed in media."

    SEE ALSO: It's time to reclaim singledom as a symbol of power

    Student Alex C. (who prefers not to disclose her full name) tells me that "attempting to be the "cool girl" doesn't just apply to heterosexual dating."

    "I constantly feel this pressure as a gay woman dating women," she says. "It definitely seems to be the case that the person who is the least interested and most aloof holds the most power, and will get hurt less if things go south.

    "I believe some of the pressure also comes from trying to avoid the lesbian U-Haul stereotype where women get serious way too quickly because nobody is putting on the brakes," she says.

    Alex explains that she now tempers her expectations and holds herself back from expressing the full extent of her feelings. "It's a shame dating has come to this because how can anybody feel really excited about a date or know if someone is really interested in them when we're all suppressing those feelings?"

    "The person who is the least interested and most aloof holds the most power."


    The cool girl is everywhere. She's in the books we read, she's on our TV and movie screens,(Opens in a new tab) she's in the dating advice we give and receive. From every angle, the pop culture we consume solidifies the cool girl ideal as the zenith of feminine desirability. Perhaps one of the best descriptions of this trope can be found in Gillian Flynn's Gone Girl. Flynn's summation of this trope hits the nail bang on the head: "Being the Cool Girl means I am a hot, brilliant, funny woman who adores football, poker, dirty jokes, and burping, who plays video games, drinks cheap beer, loves threesomes and anal sex, and jams hot dogs and hamburgers into her mouth like she’s hosting the world’s biggest culinary gang bang while somehow maintaining a size 2, because Cool Girls are above all hot."

    Dr. Stacy Gillis(Opens in a new tab) — senior Lecturer in 20th century literature and culture at Newcastle University —believes the cool girl is rooted in "how women are discursively positioned within patriarchal structures of power." Gillis views this trope as related to a "predator-prey conquest model" whereby the cool girl is unobtainable until she's conquered by the right man. "It's about unattainability, but with the hint that you will be able to be attained," says Gillis. "With the promise that with the right man, he will be able to break down this woman's barriers."

    Research into the ways in which women present themselves on dating apps can also shed some light on the pressures women still face to conform to certain behavioural ideals. Siân Brooke,(Opens in a new tab) DPhil researcher at the Oxford Internet Institute, has conducted research into how women present themselves on dating apps like Tinder and Bumble.

    "'Coolness' or 'being cool' is a trope that is gendered and often racialised," Brooke tells me over email. "When used to describe women, 'coolness' refers to the adoption of typically masculine ideals of behaviour, such as a liking football or gaming." Brooke believes the cool girl is a rejection of an antithetical feminine dating stereotype: the clingy woman.

    Credit: vicky leta / mashable

    "A particularly prevalent idea is that women are 'clingy,' which was quite common in research I have conducted both on dating apps and memes," says Brooke. Clinginess is, per Brooke, a gendered term which pertains to "excessive emotional dependence" — an "undesirable" behaviour in dating culture.

    "Clingy is not just attachment but is specifically associated with men complaining about a woman’s behaviour and perceived excessive need for attention," says Brooke. The negative connotations of being branded "clingy" may, according to Brooke, cause some women to choose to act "distant and removed" from a potential partner. "The negative association of feminine behaviour can lead women to adopt masculine traits that they see as making them more desirable in dating, where so-called feminine behaviour is often demonised."

    Brooke says during her research she found that women who use dating apps often choose to feature a selection of images that exhibit common cool girl attributes. "My research has shown that women will populate the images they have on their profiles with items they believe show 'coolness,' such as engaging in physical activities in photos where they aren’t 'made up' (i.e. hair and makeup)," she says.

    So, where does this ideal actually come from? Male-authored female literary characters have historically embodied characteristics like aloofness and unattainability. They are often troubled and in need of taming. Gillis says this trope can be found in popular fiction at the end of the 19th century, beginning of the 20th century, but it may well go further back than that.

    "I can certainly think of a few instances of it appearing in 1860s sensation fiction, and this is a longstanding discursive structure," says Gillis. "It's very seductive, women are coercively interpellated into feeling that this is how they need to be in order to attract male attention."

    "It's that distancing come hither look, you see this being written about in popular fiction in the end of the 19th century, beginning of the 20th century, and invariably those women in those narratives end up married," says Gillis. "It's an inversion of the Rochester-Darcy model except that there's no agency for women behind it because it's still located within patriarchal structures."

    "We become supplicants, we want the male gaze to come at us so we'll do whatever it takes."


    Things have arguably moved on a little in society since the 19th century, so why is it that women still feel pressured to adhere to an outmoded concept of female attractiveness? Gillis believes this comes from a "desire to be desired within the patriarchy."

    "If there's only certain ways in which you can be desired within the heteronormative patriarchy then you're inculcated into this position," says Gillis. "This is how we — as minorities in a patriarchy — are interpellated into these positions whereby we become supplicants, we want the male gaze to come at us so we'll do whatever it takes."

    In my own infuriating experience, I feel a kind of damned-if-you-do predicament when faced with my desire to rail against this archetype. "The thing is, though," a female friend recently said with a grimace. "Being the cool girl actually works." She's right, in a way. Women are continuously told that this behaviour model works, that it's a tried and tested trick of the trade, one that you can deviate from at your own risk.

    SEE ALSO: Snobbery about romcoms goes all the way back to the 1930s

    So, how do we go about dismantling this stereotype? Gillis hypothesises that queer popular culture has the power to upturn these stereotypes that are still a source of pressure for women. "[Queer popular culture' is a space in which there's a playfulness to these tropes and roles, they're seen as something you can move in and out of."

    "Any stereotype can be dismantled, it doesn't happen overnight. The challenges to this come from Young Adult and LGBTQ fiction which mocks these longstanding romance traditions," she continues.

    In the meantime, I've made a vow to avoid playing the cool girl when I'm dating. I can no longer pretend to be someone I'm not just so I can fulfil a rigid stereotype of female attractiveness. I am not the cool girl, nor will I ever be. Take it or leave it.

  • ASMR toys at big box stores may just be fidget toys in disguise

    ASMR toys at big box stores may just be fidget toys in disguise

    Launched in October, just in time for the holiday shopping season, was a line of multicolored, brightly packaged toys(Opens in a new tab) that promised to be "oddly satisfying," and give you tingles.


    Two out of six of the products came in blind bag packaging, which has become a children’s toy industry trend(Opens in a new tab) in and of itself, with price points ranging between three and 20 dollars. Each toy had tactile and auditory features such as plastic gears that make a clicking noise.

    ASMR had come to the shelves of Wal-Mart.

    Since its quiet emergence onto the internet in 2010, Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response (ASMR(Opens in a new tab)) has become a cultural phenomenon and a viable interpersonal community. It has led to thousands of ASMR creators and 13 million videos on YouTube alone(Opens in a new tab), including Cardi B’s W Magazine ASMR video(Opens in a new tab) which garnered well over 46 million views. While rigorous studies of the sensation are in short supply, there are self reported benefits of relaxation and improved sleep(Opens in a new tab) among people who experience it.

    This is not the first time that ASMR has bled into the world of marketing. In 2017, Ritz Crackers ran an ASMR-inspired campaign and noticed a 33% increase in sales relating to their launch(Opens in a new tab). ASMR reached its advertising pinnacle, however, when Michelob Ultra’s Pure Gold (Opens in a new tab)commercial starring Zoe Kravitz aired during the Superbowl in 2019. Kravitz, seen tapping on a glass beer bottle and whispering into a microphone, gave mainstream audiences a glimpse into what advertisers believed was ASMR's marketing potential.

    Now ASMR has made the inevitable transition from niche internet community to commodity.

    Strategic placement in the children’s toy aisle would lend consumers to believe that kids are the intended target of the company’s marketing. This fact remains unclear considering the age demographic of ASMR (Opens in a new tab)participation falls within the 18-24 range. Kids' participation in ASMR is also a controversial subject(Opens in a new tab). If this is the case, then are these toys simply a clever venture to recreate the success of toys we have already seen before?

    The toys' reception by the ASMR vanguard has been lukewarm. Karuna Satori, who runs a successful ASMR YouTube channel, reviewed the Sensory FX(Opens in a new tab) toys earlier this fall and came away less than impressed. She noted the overt similarities they shared with fidget toys.

    “The Mega Cube is basically a re-edition of the fidget cube,” Satori said in her video.

    The ASMR Bars and the ASMR Pods are meant to be collected, the former to be used alone or in conjunction with either of the largest toys in the line - The Mega Bar and The Mega Cube. The last two toys both have a rudimentary built in recording system, a feature that Satori found disappointing due to static during playback.

    “The microphone is really cheap,” said Satori, who nevertheless said the The Mega Cube was the best of the bunch. She said “ get the recorder, there’s more to do, and you don’t need to collect them all.”

    This is not to say that all ASMR toys serve no purpose.

    Craig A.H. Richard, Ph.D., is a professor of Biopharmaceutical Sciences at Shenandoah University, and the founder of ASMR University(Opens in a new tab). Richard suggests that the manufacturer may not have considered the fact that the ASMR experience is contingent on demonstrative elements(Opens in a new tab).

    “ASMR is usually stimulated when you are in the presence of a kind or caring person who may be speaking gently, moving gently, or making gentle sounds with something they are holding or demonstrating,” said Richard. “These toys can be used to stimulate ASMR, but not in the user of the toys.”

    Dr. Richard explains the possible reason for this in his hypothesis written in 2014, regarding the origin theory of ASMR(Opens in a new tab). He suggests that relying on a demonstrating individual for tingles may harken to something biological - ASMR and bonding behaviors share similar triggers and consequently stimulate the release of the same feel good chemicals in the brain.

    “Triggers that stimulate ASMR in individuals may actually be activating the biological pathways of interpersonal bonding and affiliative behaviors...These bonding behaviors and molecules [endorphins, dopamine, oxytocin, serotonin] may provide a good explanation for most of the triggers and responses associated with ASMR,” Richard said.

    This would render The Mega Cube and The Mega Bar as the only toys within the Sensory FX lineup that might ostensibly create ASMR sans a demonstrator.

    The best way to predicate ASMR toys’ effectiveness would be to analyze them through the familiar lens of the fidget toy(Opens in a new tab), popularized among children in 2017.

    Dr. Richard purports that fidget toys can mitigate the effects of anxiety, ADHD, and sensory processing disorders among individuals.

    “Any curious toy that strongly engages the interest of a child will decrease the global activity across the brain to result in more specific active areas of the brain,” says Richard. “In short, a focused child is a focused brain, and a focused brain may help to calm a child.”

    Like fidget toys, Sensory FX’s smaller toy offerings, such as the ASMR Bars and the ASMR Pods, are portable, making them readily available. There’s even a small carrying case for the Pods that resembles a keychain. Though they can be valuable for some students, many popular fidget toys were banned outright by schools(Opens in a new tab).

    According to Richard, while fidget toys can be any small and engaging item that encourages the user to manipulate it, they may move too fast or be too loud to be good at stimulating ASMR in an observer.

    This would suggest that Sensory FX has attempted to rebrand fidget toys as ASMR toys, perhaps in order to capitalize on a growing trend and the buying power of millennial money.(Opens in a new tab)

    Dr. Richard says that, “All items labeled as ‘ASMR toys’ would probably work well as fidget toys, but not all fidget toys would fit the criteria of an ideal ‘ASMR toy.’”

    So if you want that tingly feeling, the aisles of Wal-Mart may not be the best place to get it.