SEX ON THURSDAY | Girls, Girls, Girls

Since middle school, I’ve craved male attention. Early on, I developed a sixth sense for athletic and charismatic boys, the kind who’d make the loudest jokes in class; ask the girl next to me to slow dance while seeming to look right through me. At night I prayed to magically wake up more extroverted, flirtier and funnier and please, please less pimply. I became certain if I could just make one boy like this love me (or at least look at me), then I would somehow be lovable, confirming my femininity and worth. Though I remained fixated on boys, my closest, most intimate relationships were with other girls.

YANG | Creating the New Normal

I’m not the type of person who watches one movie after another on long-haul flights, and usually spend the better part of the sixteen hours sleeping. The trip back from Hong Kong before the beginning of this semester ended up being one rare exception, however, because there was a crying baby in the seat next to me. I had no choice but to cycle through all the MCU movies they had (thank God), and afterwards, set my eye on a movie I had deliberately avoided seeing in the spring — Love, Simon. Despite putting the movie’s soundtrack on repeat the moment it came out, and despite promising every one of my friends who went to opening weekend and raved about it afterwards that I would go see it, I never did after watching the trailer. You would think that as someone who loves rom-coms and never shuts up about representation, the premise itself is enough to make me want to go.

To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before Is a Guilty Pleasure Without the Guilt

From the moment this Netflix Original begins, with Lara Jean Covey (Lana Condor) imagining herself wandering through an idyllic field with the boy of her dreams, To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before screams “self-indulgent romance fantasy.” It’s the quintessential teen rom-com: there’s the shy main character, two pouty Hot Boys (Noah Centineo and Israel Broussard) and the crucial misunderstanding that forces her to pick between them. Every character is addressed by their full name and speaks in Tumblr-ready quotes (“Josh Sanderson, I liked you first. By all rights, you were mine.”) Add a fake dating plot, a hair-flipping jealous mean girl and a supportive rebel best friend, and you’ve got a full-blown cliché. To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before is tropey and cheesy and gooey, but in a good way. It revels in its purest rom-com moments because it knows exactly what it is.

A Gay Man’s Take on Love, Simon

For a while, Love, Simon flew under my radar. Once I first saw trailers for it though, I became intrigued — but also cautious. I didn’t know how a teenage romance movie would handle a gay protagonist. The film, directed by Greg Berlanti and written by Isaac Aptaker and Elizabeth Bergerm, could easily go so wrong. Luckily, my fears have been dispelled.

SCHULMAN | Matching Games: a Matter of Life, Love and Death

I’ve been taking it easy lately. Last fall, I realized I wouldn’t graduate a computer science major if I didn’t load up on classes. Now that I’ve reached the end of the tunnel and have time to relax, I started playing a game. It’s called Tinder; you’ve probably heard of it. Tinder is part dating app, part middle school sleepover party and part ego booster.

GUEST ROOM | Rape Culture, the Romance Genre and Me Before You

My sister tells me I’ve turned into a book snob. She claims that my reading list is largely propelled by a hunger for cultural capital, that I don’t enjoy the things I read, that I’m checking off the novels of someone else’s book list: some antiquated, white professor’s book list. And to an extent, she’s right. As an English major, I have not only become trained in applying psychoanalytical and queer theories to the ample texts we chow down in a semester, but I’ve become adept at prioritizing certain genres of texts over others, according to their so-called intellectual merits. The classics: Good.

DAYS OF OUR LIVES | Chemistry

In my first year of college, I made the misstep of taking class at the ungodly hour of 8:00 a.m. Against all advice, I, the beaming young student, was eager to tackle the demons of chemistry in the wee hours of the morning. The folly of my decision would soon become apparent through sleepless nights of composing reports and balancing equations, but for the moment I possessed an unrelenting determination to succeed. After successfully ignoring my alarm for a week, I soon understood that 8 a.m. was not as charming as I had thought, and I numbered the days until I would finally drop the course. On the last day, I decided out of respect for the teacher that I would brave the challenge of the early morning one final time. So I sat in the last row of seats, unsure of whether or not to take notes, feeling an awkward sense of premonition.