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Pop Culture Explainer: Zac Efron, Pearl Necklaces, and Deadly French Fries

As usual, I’m fashionably late to the party and catching up on trends from a week ago. Very likely that by the time I’ve figured out the drama and who or why is trending, it’ll be over and the world will have moved on. In the meantime, I have finally found answers (sort of) to some very serious questions like what is the other definition of a “pearl necklace” and who the hell are Sam and Aaron Taylor-Johnson? Why does Epicurious hate cows? This and more as I try to catch up with all the cool kids.

Zac Efron, you beautiful son of a bitch. Normally I don’t feel sorry for inexplicably stunning people. In fact, I think they should compensate for their unfair beauty by experiencing some hardship. Nothing serious. Maybe grow an extra pinky or be really bad at sex. I was looking forward to seeing what he was trending for, only to be disappointed and honestly a little confused. There was a photo of him looking his usual handsome self side by side with another photo of himself looking like his usual handsome but younger self. Like one of those games where you have to find a number of differences between seemingly identical photos, I looked back and forth like an idiot.

I finally noticed his jaw was slightly larger and maybe his lips were fuller.

OK, so he does actually look a little different. If he did have plastic surgery, it’s really not that big of a surprise. I grew up in Los Angeles where in high school everyone had “deviated septums” they had to fix over summer vacation. I barely recognize some of my aunts and cousins at the occasional Bar Mitzvah or wedding. I myself am overdue for a nip and tuck here and there. So no judgment.

We have yet to get to the bottom of what happened with his face. The speculations were endless, but consensus is he either had cosmetic surgery to fix a broken jaw from a previous accident or had dental work done. If the latter, he will be the first and only human being who looks hot after a dental procedure when most of us would be swollen and drooling on ourselves. And that, my friends, is why I don’t feel sorry for hot people.

Speaking of people changing faces, Khloe Kardashian had an unfiltered photo of her accidentally posted on Instagram. She’s in a bikini looking completely normal and average and not bad at all. She and her family have been desperate to get it off the Internet and have yet to be successful. She wrote a whole megillah explaining she wants it removed because she didn’t work so hard to shake off the “fat sister” or “ugly sister” image only to have an unflattering picture of her living rent-free on the Internet forever. As a less attractive, non-photogenic middle child myself, I see and understand her insecurities. But as a regular less attractive non-photogenic person, I can’t help rolling my eyes at Khloe claiming she is the victim of the very beauty standards she makes a living perpetuating. This was really a missed opportunity for her to take a stance against those unrealistic standards she’s so upset about. But she didn’t. Is it my business? No. Will I lose sleep over it? Probably, yes.

And before you accuse me of going easy on Zac Efron and harsh on KK I just want to say, Zac Efron isn’t trying to sell me tea so I can poop myself skinny.

Which brings me to WebMD and all the ways they are trying to ruin our lives with their alleged health information. This week they tweeted “People who ate french fries or hash browns 2 to 3 times a week were more likely to die early, according to one study.” According to ONE study. It was heartwarming to see people essentially dismissing this and asking them to STFU. Not falling for that mess again. We’ve had a rough year. You can take our restaurants and in-person eating. You can take our spa days. You do not have the right to take away our fries.

Let’s say hypothetically this is true and we do die earlier. Our life span is too long anyway. No one needs to live until 100. You’re not going to say “I sure wish I didn’t eat those hashbrowns when I was 25 and drunk at 2am” on your deathbed at like 92. No, you’ll say something cryptic to traumatize your grandchildren and make them spend their whole life questioning what “your mother is not who she is” means. I know, in advance, that my grandchildren will deserve it.

Speaking of overstaying your welcome, Prince Philip passed away at the age of 99. Kate Middleton wore a diamond pearl necklace from the Queen’s collection to the funeral as “a touching tribute to Prince Philip.” (I don’t know how this is a tribute, but I’m all for finding excuses to wear the Queen’s jewels.)

Everyone was all giggles over this headline and although my instincts told me it was something pervy, I didn’t quite believe it. Pearl Necklace, turns out, is slang for a certain sexual culmination. You can find it here if you’re interested. I’m 90% sure a 7th grader came up with this.

Disclaimer, I am not, nor would I ever judge how someone deals with their personal struggles with disorders or addictions and what not. We all have our personal traumas and as someone who prefers to just watch from the sidelines than make myself useful, I appreciate Demi Lovato’s willingness to speak out about her battles with her health so publicly and honestly. HOWEVER, picking a fight with The Bigg Chill in Los Angeles was just bizarre and as much as I hate agreeing with Piers Morgan on anything, I just could not back her up on this.

Long story short, she accused them of promoting “diet culture” with their sugar-free products. It’s LA. It’s like an alien country where diets are a religion. “Ugh we have dinner with the Ketos tonight! I thought the Dukans were bad but this is going to be insufferable.” Everyone has a particular diet they will preach to you about until you give up and start aligning juice cleanses during the full moon just so they shut up. Don’t get me wrong. Some have legit dietary restrictions and others are just bored or depressed and need to have a purpose in life, like oat milk. Restaurants and cafes accommodate all of this. I’m not a celebrity living under the pressures of diet culture and I even know this. Maybe she’s right and it’s “an LA thing”?

My point is — and it’s a point Lovato realizes according to her apology video — was that this was not the hill worth dying on. The fight that WOULD be worth taking up with Big Chill is why they don’t accept cash and make me pay an extra 3 dollars at the ancient ATM machine in the corner to get a 20 dollar bill so I can buy a 7 dollar frozen yogurt buried under a pile of stale gummy bears for my son which I ultimately end up eating or cleaning off the floor.

I will end this rant on one last unpopular note: frozen yogurt is overrated. I doubt it’s any better for you. Might as well waste the calories on real ice cream. I’m willing to die on this hill, fat and happy.

Epicurious is also having beef with fans (get it??) after announcing their recipes are going meatless. People did not disappoint in their replies (“Enjoy bankruptcy”). Apparently there’s a lot of ride or die beef fans. The popular recipe site posted an unnecessarily sentimental statement about this not being against people who eat beef or a “vendetta” against cows (what?). “We think of this decision as not anti-beef but rather pro-planet.” What’s weird is why are they mentioning it now when they said in their piece “…We actually pulled the plug on beef well over a year ago, and our readers have rallied around the recipes we published in beef’s place.” Why didn’t you just continue to say nothing instead of stirring all this drama like my Persian mother who brings up a grievance about something that happened 40 years ago in Iran? Just be cool.

A year ago, I would probably have not been on board with this. However, I have, as a byproduct of living in Los Angeles, befriended a gay vegan doctor couple with abs of steel and beautiful skin who have made me see the light. They basically lured my husband and I into a week vacation at Lake Arrowhead and cooked us plate after plate of delicious, healthy, satisfying vegan meals against our will.

I was so inspired, when I got home I ordered The Minimalist Baker’s cookbook, aspiring to turn over a new leafy green (haha I’m on a roll). What I did do was look at a recipe and say “if I make this with beef, it’ll be amazing.”

And I did.

And it was.

As someone who just became aware of Sam and Aaron Taylor-Johnson’s existence I feel it is my God-given duty to pass judgment on their relationship. Cliffs Notes version, Sam Taylor-Johnson is a director and Aaron Taylor-Johnson is an actor. They met on set when he was 19 and she was 42 and they married a year later. They just put their 7 million dollar mansion up for sale so everyone assumed they were getting divorced and were rooting for it. (More likely they are moving into a bigger mansion.)

My initial reaction is why would she want this? I mean, I get it superficially. If at 42 I had a chance to lure a young, hot, naive lover maybe I would (though I’d probably use my sexuality to get him to fold the laundry). But in reality, no thank you. I’m already raising one kid. Why would I want to raise another one? I’m sorry, even if you’re legally an adult at 19, you’re still a teenager who needs an opportunity to grow up and figure your life out. Then again, they were both adults and what the hell do I know anyway. I have zero investment in them. Godspeed to both.

On brighter, hotter note, Anthony Mackie is going to be Captain America in Marvel movies and I’m very excited about it though probably not for the same reasons fans are. I just think Anthony Mackie is ridiculously handsome and that’s only amplified in a superhero costume. Is that a good enough reason to want to see this? Do I need to drag my son with me and pretend he’s into superheroes and not that show Spirit with the horses? I don’t want to go by myself and give off “childless adult at playground” vibes. What is the CDC’s stance on going with a bunch of my vaxxed and thirsty girlfriends to the movies? Please advise.

Speaking of which, CDC guidelines now allow fully vaccinated people to slut it up maskless outside. You know what that means. Time to wax those mustaches, ladies (she says to herself in the mirror).

Until next time!

Starring Hot Zac Efron:

The Paperboy

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Written By

Orly Minazad is freelance writer and regrets it every day of her life. She moved to the States from Iran in 1991 with her family seeking better opportunities only to waste them earning a Masters in Professional Writing degree from USC which no longer exists, cost a lot of money and for which she has nothing to show. No, she is not bitter at all. Why do you ask? Oh you didn't, ok. She lives with her husband and son in Los Angeles where she spends the day loading and unloading the dishwasher.

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