Help the New York Times come up with a new trend piece

Cat attacking baby

Trend among young women today: Wanting babies, having cats.

Inspired by Amanda Hess’s look at New York Times trend pieces — pieces that are usually about such pressing topics as “women are too successful to get married” and “women go to Ivy League schools in order to get married” and “some women have chicken coops” and “some hipsters are fat because they are no longer threatened by women in the work place” and “there are men who own cats” — I think we should give the Times a hand. Clearly, most of their contributors are just writing about their own friends in small-ish New York media circles that revolve around the Upper West Side, the Village and Brownstone Brooklyn, where chicken coops and pet choices are breaking news.

So we should help them out. What stupid, insular things do you observe within your social group that should grace the pages of the New York Times? Here are my suggestions:

-Women: Some of them make “your mom” jokes, while some go with the clearly inferior “that’s what she said.” Conflicts abound.
-Young singles widely entertained by watching YouTube clips of cats attacking babies
-Twentysomethings: Still quoting Adam Sandler movies like it’s the 90s
-Ladies Love Flea Markets
-Brunch the new “it” meal (Lead: As more women enter the workforce, brunch has become the most important meal of the week, and women who perform highly in their jobs dedicate the same diligence to their search for the perfect bloody mary. But in “brunching,” as it is commonly called, are women forsaking the traditional dinner date — and possibly marriage?).
-Gross-out humor revolving around farts and menstruation, as well as wry commentary about touching yourself and then crying and falling asleep alone, all the rage among young single female professionals.
-Antique shops thrive as young women seek to imitate the pages of Domino
-The new sign of responsible adulthood for urban women: Houseplants that you manage to not kill
-Move over, chocolate; cheese is the new female indulgence.

In other news, I have discovered that my peer group has the interests of 13-year-old boys and 85-year-old women.

Leave your ideas for Incisive New York Times Trend Stories in the comments.

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59 comments for “Help the New York Times come up with a new trend piece

  1. gretel
    December 3, 2010 at 2:45 pm

    – The Neo-Pilgrims: Brooklyn Twenty-Somethings Turn to Churning their own Butter, Modest Clothing, and Prayer in their Williamsburg Lofts

    – Kingston, New York: The 7th Borough

    – Tree Pose: Everyone’s Bringing Their Houseplants to Yoga Class

  2. gretel
    December 3, 2010 at 2:49 pm

    Oops, I didn’t read carefully enough. My friends don’t do #1 or #3, but I’m sure someone’s friends do, so they still could be trend pieces.

  3. Tei Tetua
    December 3, 2010 at 2:50 pm

    I’ve heard of a chicken coop and a chicken soup, but what’s a chicken coup? Is that where the chickens take over the government?

    Come to think of it, if their world extends from coop to soup, they probably would like to see a few changes made.

    • December 3, 2010 at 2:53 pm

      Haha oops! I’ll fix that coop spelling.

  4. December 3, 2010 at 2:51 pm

    BREAKING: Some adults find shows originally intended for children to be quite entertaining. But does this harm their chances for marriage?

  5. December 3, 2010 at 2:53 pm

    Beware, y’all. My incredibly unscientific anecdotal data acquired by interviewing my imaginary friends suggest that women who don’t like trend pieces may be turning off potential mates, because of evolution. Or something.

  6. December 3, 2010 at 3:13 pm

    I’m currently working on a combo threat of your mom/that’s what she said joke. I’m sure it’ll hit me at 3AM while I’m sleeping some night.

  7. December 3, 2010 at 3:17 pm

    Some of my friends think Grant Morrison is a great comic book writer. Others think he is THE BEST comic book writer. But in all these rows about Morrison’s relative greatness, are we leaving the nuclear family behind?

  8. December 3, 2010 at 3:18 pm


    -Some women who don’t live in New York don’t want to live in New York. But are they missing out on marrying a New Yorker?

    -Busy professionals listening to out-of-state NPR on the internet: is it destroying our sense of community?

    -Clothing swaps: is the new frugality forcing ladies to spend all their time with other ladies, leaving them with no time to find men to marry?

  9. FakeNameNancy
    December 3, 2010 at 3:19 pm

    – Clothing swaps — a sign of desperation of poverty or a poverty of style?

    – I don’t want to eat anything other than roasted vegetables: new report shows that olive oil, carrots and salt are all you really need.

  10. RedSonja
    December 3, 2010 at 3:24 pm

    Knitting — stodgy pastime or hipster trend?

    How Resentment Over Never Getting a Pony Leads To Oversharing

    What Do You Mean “What is Tron?” Why Younger People Suck

  11. Wonky Factory
    December 3, 2010 at 3:27 pm

    — Some women are refusing to date men who don’t respect them and treat them poorly, but are they missing out on marriage as a result?
    — Poorly-furnished apartments: sign of the recession, or tragic side-effect of women’s lib??
    — Some men are growing beards. What’s up with that?

    Actually, come to think of it, I’m pretty sure that last one’s been done.

  12. whetstone
    December 3, 2010 at 3:39 pm


    * Fannie Maids: Are guys afraid to settle down with girls with too much student loan debt?

    * The New Cats: Now that it’s okay for straight guys to own felines, gay men are looking for the next un-het pet

  13. December 3, 2010 at 3:42 pm

    A small but growing number of women are trading Sex and the City for Sci-Fi and anime. But in spending their time at renaissance faires and conferences (or “cons”), are they ruining their chances of meeting rich douchebags in bars?

  14. December 3, 2010 at 3:43 pm

    Why do chicken coops have two doors? Because if they had four doors, they’d be chicken sedans!

    Back to the topic. I’m an engineer, but I’m such a good baker that my friends routinely tell me that I should start up a bakery, because it’d be totally awesome. The trend: WOMEN WITH HIGH-TECH CAREERS REDISCOVERING COOKING

  15. December 3, 2010 at 3:47 pm

    Infectious disease: Now, socially conscious young people in their twenties are deliberately infecting themselves with tuberculosis in order to be able to relate to third world life.

    The Zither: Hipsters and underpaid musicians the world over have helped to popularize this Eastern European instrument.

    Social trends: Bisexuals are dating only other bisexuals as a sign of solidarity and bi pride.

  16. shah8
    December 3, 2010 at 3:50 pm

    Boomer Businesswomen are increasingly hiring their own sons (who hasn’t left the nest) as gofers. Should they?

  17. liz
    December 3, 2010 at 3:53 pm

    Will women’s disdain for the Trend piece spell newspapers’ end? Or is that just due to blogging?

  18. PD
    December 3, 2010 at 3:59 pm

    A small but growing group of male and female urban and suburban 20-somethings in New York spend their free time, in addition to much of their work time, discussing comic books and video games, reading comic books, playing video games, and frequently drinking to excess. This is evidenced in how much time my damn friends spend talking about comic books and video games, SHUT UP ALREADY. Some experts claim this egalitarian revolution of grown-ass people with absolutely nothing to talk about besides Green Lantern or Mass Effect or whatever is due to the increased presence of women in the workplace. It’s been hypothesized that this trend will likely continue unabated until I get some new damn friends.

  19. ACG
    December 3, 2010 at 4:02 pm

    Too Sexy for the Office: As the number of women in tech fields grows, tech men start to wonder: Is the growing number of women in tech fields a distraction?

    “Not” jokes making a return among hipsters. NOT.

    As women become increasingly knowledgeable about cars, are they missing out on those late-night, middle-of-nowhere roadside encounters that could lead to lasting love?

    An Evening in the Life of a DUFF

    Kneecaps are the new nipples for Winter 2010.

  20. December 3, 2010 at 4:03 pm

    Amanda @7:

    I’m sure it’ll hit me at 3AM while I’m sleeping some night.

    That’s what your mom said.

  21. lt
    December 3, 2010 at 4:09 pm

    I feel an Onion-esque meta-piece coming on, “Is reading bullshit trend stories in the NY Times and then deconstructing them on feminist blogs causing women to spend too much time on the weekends at their computers, thus taking away from their dating time, causing them to miss out on marriage?”

  22. December 3, 2010 at 4:09 pm

    – Many men like well-made cocktails, often involving fruit juices. Does this mean the Death of the Real Man?

    – Some parents let their young girls play with Thomas the Tank Engine toys. How badly are they warping their kids’ minds?

    And not a trend piece, but another common newspaper trope for all my fellow Jews out there:

    – 84 Ways Your Hanukkah Candles Can Kill You

  23. Kristen J.
    December 3, 2010 at 4:10 pm

    Nightsky: Why do chicken coops have two doors? Because if they had four doors, they’d be chicken sedans!

    Okay, no making me laugh so hard fluid comes out of my nose when I’m sick people. Keep your comments to whitty and insightful.

  24. lt
    December 3, 2010 at 4:17 pm

    Pathetically, based on my peer group the lead could be:

    “Teaching has long been a female-dominated profession. Now that more women have entered previously male-dominated fields, lots of women are still teachers! Unfortunately for those who thought this might be a good field for women, December is a busy time for teachers as they rush to grade papers and exams by the end of the semester. (Not to mention posting comments on blogs when they should be grading. Ahem). Sometimes these women find themselves too busy for holiday shopping, and holiday decorating. In trying to ‘have it all’ are these women neglecting their families and/or failing to take part in traditional family rituals that will prepare them for marriage?”

  25. Kristen J.
    December 3, 2010 at 4:26 pm

    Let’s see…my friends and I talk about lots of things lunch, netflix (some of us who live far away try to watch movies together over xbox live), and orgasms…so let’s see…what would the NYT do with those….

    1) Are Your Friends Making you Fat? How scheduling lunch with your friends encourages you to eat, lunch.

    2) Is Netflix making you lonely? How not going to Blockbuster keeps you from meeting the love of your life.

    3) The Female Orgasm and Dying Alone. How one woman’s search for an orgasm has left her desperate and alone. A 20 year old woman tells her story.

  26. December 3, 2010 at 4:56 pm

    Small but growing number of aging Minneapolis hipsters who have yet to complete their associate’s degrees in Liberal Arts from the local community college becoming obsessed with their admittance into elementary school “gifted and talented” clubs in the mid-to-late 80’s.

  27. December 3, 2010 at 5:05 pm

    Amanda Marcotte: I’m currently working on a combo threat of your mom/that’s what she said joke. I’m sure it’ll hit me at 3AM while I’m sleeping some night.  (Quote this comment?)

    Here you go: That’s what your mom said.
    You are welcome


  28. December 3, 2010 at 5:11 pm

    Trend pieces from my (college-student) life:

    –College Students Buying Things At Goodwill: Poverty, or Merely The Distressing Lack of a Hot Topic?
    –As More And More Straight Men Admit Their Love For Disney And Rent!, Gay Men Forced To Find New Stereotypical Hobby.
    –Rifftrax and MST3K Rise In Popularity: Is This A New Place For Women To Find Love?
    –Stereotypical Male Nerdy Hobbies Have Lots Of Women In, Comedians Forced To Find New Material.
    –Elaborately Themed Parties: Do They Reduce Your Chance Of Getting Married?
    –Pie Bought From The Nice Amish People Who Run That One Food Stand: Best Thing Ever, or Best Thing Everever?

  29. December 3, 2010 at 5:19 pm

    *Women who are actually into sports instead of just pretending to be… ruining their chances of wedded bliss?

    *Women who aren’t romantically or sexually interested in men: What are they, lesbos or something?

    April: Small but growing number of aging Minneapolis hipsters who have yet to complete their associate’s degrees in Liberal Arts from the local community college becoming obsessed with their admittance into elementary school “gifted and talented” clubs in the mid-to-late 80’s. April

    HA! We got that in the Houston hipsters too.

  30. December 3, 2010 at 5:23 pm

    Jeff: Amanda @7:I’m sure it’ll hit me at 3AM while I’m sleeping some night.That’s what your mom said.  (Quote this comment?)

    That made me remember what some friends of mine say to each other: “That’s (not) what your mom said last night.”

  31. latinist
    December 3, 2010 at 6:04 pm

    You all are forgetting the important bit where you mention, without evidence, that old-fashioned feminists disapprove of this trend, but it is being called, in its most idiotic and sexist exaggeration, a new kind of feminism with a silly name.

    E.g., “A growing number of female professionals may be wearing mascara. And while traditional feminists see all forms of makeup and clothing, in any circumstances, as badges of slavery, and think that women and girls should constantly go naked and unwashed, these young women — call them ‘eyelash feminists’ — see it as a form of empowerment to spend hours a day obsessing over how much their appearance is attractive to men.”

  32. December 3, 2010 at 6:22 pm

    My circle of friends is so extremely small, and comprised of such peculiar people.

    Spurning the sexual attentions of your religious maniac cousin is popular among today’s young women, but will it hurt their chances of finding happiness and marriage?

    How to cook for that set of dietary restrictions that’s based only on anxiety about tainted meat and a powerful aversion to the texture of solid fats and emulsions.

    Giant penis-shaped lollipops are the in gift this holiday season, but do they hurt gay men’s chances of marriage? Also, you can only get them from places that specialize in ‘bachelorette party’ stuff. What’s up with that?

    College women are spending their Saturday nights playing Dungeons and Dragons with gay men instead of going out to clubs or whatever. That totally MUST be hurting their chances of marriage. Would it improve matters if they could just get the gay men to stop giving each other giant penis-shaped lollipops for holiday gifts?

  33. Odin
    December 3, 2010 at 6:33 pm

    1) Asking for Trouble: How women in the workplace sabotage themselves by asking for raises.

    2) The Squeaky Wheel: Women in the workplace earn less than men because they don’t ask for raises.

    3) Science is not sexy: Studies show that women seeking advanced degrees are less likely to wear makeup, heels; more likely to wear frumpy “functional” clothing.

    4) Hello Kitty Renaissance: A growing trend of young women going for the “cute” look. But will it help them find a mate?

    5) I was a Twenty-Something Werewolf: Tired of bars, young singles flock to a new activity that’s part theater, part group date: “larping”.

  34. Brennan
    December 3, 2010 at 7:55 pm

    Breaking News! A small but growing contingent of insult-savvy young women is going beyond the casual “That’s what she said” joke to engage in risky, full-out put-down wars. A sample:

    “Your face is . . .”
    “Your mom is . . .”
    “Your mom’s face is . . .”
    Your mom’s face was . . . last night!

    Does this signify a resurgence in the troubling trend of girl-aggression? Is it merely an outgrowth of an increasingly crass female culture? And, more importantly, will Our Daughters ever learn to Act Like Ladies?

  35. Valerie2
    December 3, 2010 at 9:02 pm

    Women living in the north struggle to find their way as they discover they couldn’t give a white rats fat ass about wearing shirts and coats that don’t cover their hips. Is the weather or feminism to blame for the lack of boners?

    In related news: Flu shots? Sexy or not? You decide….

    Can cats fly? Toddlers around the world converge to test the theory but are distracted by silly string. Where were the mothers??

  36. December 3, 2010 at 9:19 pm

    Women who don’t want to get married: Are they hurting their chances for marriage?

    Lesbians: Are they hurting their chances for marriage?

    (I think there’s a lot of levels to that one!)

    Or, hell, let’s just cut to the chase —

    Women: Are they hurting their chances for marriage?

  37. Opheelia
    December 3, 2010 at 10:47 pm

    Girl Gamers: How the World of Warcraft Expansion Is Ruining Your Chances at Finding Real Life Love

    Single Women Who Laugh at Holiday Jewelry Commercials: Why Their Next Relationship Is Doomed

  38. December 3, 2010 at 10:53 pm

    Some women lied to their mothers as teenagers.
    Also, the sky is blue and carbon based life forms generally need oxygen.

  39. t-ster
    December 3, 2010 at 11:29 pm

    A small but growing number of people are flushing their toilets w/DIY gray-water systems. The drawbacks, like an unsightly bucket of moldering water, splashback, vomit-inducing smell, and saving less water than low-flow toilets only make the eco-conscious feel more hardcore.

    A small, but growing group of New Yorkers are turning off the heat, even during the most frigid months….oh wait, the Times already did that one. I have to say that one actually rang true.

    My all-time fave bullshit oh-my-God-are-you-kidding-me style section piece was the one about the former investment banker lady who quit her job to look for a $30,000 couch full-time.

  40. karak
    December 3, 2010 at 11:49 pm

    Making friends on the internet–are internet talk sites, such as blogs, keeping women from making meaningful connections with real men?

    Is the growing popularity of men’s grooming commercials causing men to feel inferior and possibly stinky, and therefore, will not marry women?

    Moustaches: always terrible on women, but are they back in style for men?

  41. Yatima
    December 4, 2010 at 1:31 am

    Pie: is it ruining our chances of getting married?

    An almost fanatical devotion to the works of Hilary Mantel: is it ruining our chances of getting married?

    An obsession with ruining our chances of getting married: what was the question again?

  42. December 4, 2010 at 2:46 am

    TONIGHT AT ELEVEN: She was a young professional who wore heart-patterned stockings and called this decision “ironic.” But does this mean that her baby will turn out to be gay?!

  43. speedbudget
    December 4, 2010 at 8:32 am

    “Highly Educated, Self-Supporting Women Who Have Many, Many Level 80 Characters in World of Warcraft: Will they ever get married?”

  44. Kim
    December 4, 2010 at 8:50 am

    A small but growing number of women are requesting electronics this holiday season. Women competing with men in mad rush for iPad – destroying male ego and femininity as we know it?

  45. Vail
    December 4, 2010 at 1:10 pm

    Mothers who play MMO’s and let their kids play too. Will their kids get Autism?

    Fathers getting a bum rap, are mothers to blame for everything?

  46. Bagelsan
    December 4, 2010 at 3:13 pm

    Girl Gamers: How the World of Warcraft Expansion Is Ruining You r Chances at Finding Real Life Love

    Edited for increased panic-induction and judgey-ness. Also, it should run next to the piece “Girl Gamers: Lol That’s Not a Thing!” written by A (Real, Dudely) Gamer.

  47. Heo
    December 4, 2010 at 5:58 pm

    Meet the new Tofurkey: Small but growing number of single adults heading to seafood restaurants for holiday meals. Are they vegitarians?

    ‘Your Dad’ jokes: A new trend in equal opportunity parental sexual degredation, or just in poor taste?

    Fact checking opposition leading to poorer sex lives: some boyfriends starting to realize that instant google and wikipedia checks on statements their girlfriends make in said woman’s field of expertise are limiting their chances for sexual congress due to women’s unreasonable wish to like the dude they fuck.

  48. December 4, 2010 at 7:35 pm

    Young women flirting publically and having serial relationships: are they RUINING THEIR CHANCES FOR MARRIAGE? Scaretactic news has the story on how a woman “behaving like a man” may make her damaged goods (the pictures for this story would include non-sticky tape, chewed gum, or whatever the abstinance-only educators promote)

    Young women wearing purity rings and heading to church -are they RUINING THEIR CHANCES FOR MARRIAGE? Scaretactic news has the story on how young women choosing to stay virgins is warding off the members of the opposite sex.

    (The pictures here would include a pig in a bag, or a car that needs to be taken for a test drive, or other dumb things women like me get compared to.)

    Or how about this:
    Feministe and Feministing: The websites that have young women questioning gendered norms and gaining a new level of self respect. Are they RUINING THEIR CHANCES FOR MARRIAGE?

  49. AK
    December 4, 2010 at 8:03 pm

    Oh my, I love this comment thread. I sometimes read those trend pieces and they are so totally alien to me. In fact it’s funny, one of my friends sent me the chicken coop one (or perhaps one of the chicken coop ones?) because around here, it is relatively uncommon NOT to have a chicken coop. In fact I’m a bit unusual because I only have chickens, most have turkeys and geese and other fowl as well.

    So here are ones that would be relevant to me and the women I know:
    *What to do if you are given a gift certificate for a manicure for the holidays…(this can be awkward for those of us who work with our hands on farms, and manicures are ruined within in a day, believe me)

    *Are land owning women less likely to find a husband? Alternately: Being an independent female land owner in a traditional farming community

    *Getting along with your fellow farm coop members, or what do Spanish land grant holders, Mexican immigrants, and old hippies have in common?

    *Should you buy a donkey? The answer may surprise you.

  50. Opheelia
    December 4, 2010 at 9:12 pm

    @Bagelsan: I almost spat my beer out at your edit. Glad you got ahold of it before we went to print!

  51. Carolyn
    December 5, 2010 at 12:37 am

    “Well, THAT’S a look: Young Women Wearing Strange Clothing: Do they WANT to look weird, or are they just trying to piss their mothers off? And how does this affect their chances at marriage?”

  52. Justin
    December 5, 2010 at 12:46 am

    A day in the life of an NYT journalist:

    Damn it, I was busy staying up all night on farmville, and I never completed another one of my always spectacular culture pieces. But I can’t let my leigons of female fans down! Think, Justin, think! — what series of isolated incidents can I completely exaggerate and distort into into a crisis which may ruin a woman’s chance of marrying? Ahah – I saw a woman eating pizza and not salad, and not coincidetially at all, weight watcher’s stock was down 0.14 percent yesterday. You’re on to something – justy now turn this into an attention holding headline.

    A Growing Number of Women Disregard Dieting – But Will Their Relatationships Suffer?

    Pulitzer Prize here I come.

  53. k not K
    December 5, 2010 at 12:30 pm

    Young Women Now Buying Secondhand Clothes Not For Style, But Because of Poverty

    Grad Students and Young Professionals Spend Evenings In, Playing Risk and Settlers of Catan

    Coffee Pad Machines in Architectural Firms: Making Coffee Breaks More Efficient, Or Just Forcing Everyone to Drink Shitty Coffee?

  54. k not K
    December 5, 2010 at 12:30 pm

    Oh, and in case you were wondering, second-hand clothing, board games and shitty coffee ARE ruining my chances of marrying.

  55. December 6, 2010 at 1:13 am

    These comments are hilarious.

    To be meta:

    Women growing beards eating penis-shaped lollipops!
    Marriage growing rare among bivalve homosexuals!
    Babies versus Budding Fission! The Feminist dilemma!
    Fashion don’ts that drive men away from women away from board games!

    The New Monasticism: Staying in and NOT CONSUMING LIKE GOOD CONSUMERS: Oh wait, the Times already did that one!
    Feminism is to blame!

    Ask Dr. Phil, disbarred psychologist with a failed marriage, what to do about your relationship! Will it lead to marriage?

    WTF major newsmedia? I mean, even HuffPost has articles on celebrity marriages, it seems to be all you read about in the grocery store, and now the NYT as well?

    Is the Economist going to be the only pub left that doesn’t give a toss about women getting married?

    This has EVEN BLED INTO REAL LIFE. Kid you not, in the last two weeks, THREE people, total strangers, have said that I will marry my sweetheart. WE DON’T WANT THAT! SHUT UP!


  56. Kelsey
    December 8, 2010 at 4:26 pm

    MRAs Making Veiled Rape Apologies on Feminist Blogs – Is It Ruining Their Marriage Potential??!

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