literary masochism: i am too old for this shit

I have not purchased a copy of Alternative Press magazine since early high-school. By that time, I had already adopted the “I listen to Glassjaw, and thus, I am above you and allowed to insult your dilettante taste in music on this here Internet forum freely” aesthetic. The appearances of any metalcore band I deemed respectable and elite were slim and I was too old to care about All Time Low or Pierce The Veil or Sleeping With Sirens or Motionless In White.

That was a lie: I was too proud to purchase anything that would admit that I occasionally enjoy mediocrity to eliminate the potential risk of being exposed to all my old-man Internet boyfriends. (“King For A Day” slaps… “Reincarnate” is a banger… but All Time Low stink; never got into them. They reminded me of the popular party-boys in high school who noticed the guys with swoopy haircuts pulled in bitches and thought they were onto something.) 

At almost 27, I am definitely too old for that shit, and I vowed to never give them the time of day after their act of inexcusable, doodooass journalism, where they completely disregarded a dusty Google Doc of over fifteen testimonials from Austin Carlile’s (formerly Of Mice & Men and Attack Attack) alleged rape victims and instead, wrote about how Jesus saved his soul. 

As if it isn’t obvious that you haven’t an ounce of journalistic integrity by humoring him with a personal interview, you are going to publish a flaming pile of bullshit, and not just general bullshit — bullshit as a pronoun, if you will — but blatant lies? Get the goddamn fuck out of here! 

I’m not very tight with the man personally, but I feel comfortable speaking for him when I say that Jesus ain’t worried about his nasty ass. Even every “cancel culture is the most toxic thing to happen to metalcore” stance-adhering bastard can agree that the two abominable former frontmen who don’t deserve to even be able to find a job at an Amazon warehouse are Jonny Craig (who has been kicked out of far too many bands for me to bother listing, though I will mention Slaves because that is the stupidest band name in the history of forever and this is an essay about stupid band names) and Austin Carlile. 

I don’t give a fuck about his terminal illness and neither should anyone else: Rapists deserve to die. The quicker someone as unforgivably nefarious as that is no longer breathing the same air as the rest of us who have an ounce of decency in our veins, the better. 

 Their pitiful excuse for redemption after that scandal was brought to light was to place the token well-spoken, kind, woke, “Gentleman In Real Life” black frontman on the cover, Jason Butler (Letlive., Pressure Cracks, The Fever 333). 

Jason is my dream boyfriend and I am flabbergasted that he didn’t kindly tell them to eat a bag of dicks and choke. Is he one of the “No, no! You see, I can facilitate a change in them!” types? Ew, I could gag! (On his cock, still; the magazine is evil, not him…. The music industry took a tremendous hit during the pandemic that they may never recover from and he probably needed the money…. I will see myself out, don’t worry….) 

Anyway, their devious piece of shit editors got me again: My unrequited love was on their most recent cover! My precious! My other dream boyfriend (except he treats me like total crap which I know Jason never would)! My beautiful baby love of my life! I already planned to purchase a copy to keep under my pillow so I could have precious dreams of a happier life where things worked out better for me and I was loved unconditionally (or at least remind myself that I used to be hot and charming enough to fuck a covergirl and a professional wrestler… with a weekly TV spot…), but once he pointed out that the journalist covering them brought up Every Time I Die in the interview, I couldn’t wait to get my hands on it. 

See, my name has rendered it easy for me to haunt men: there are roses everywhere, but not many Roses in my age group, but my stubborn monomania regarding the sole five things I like in life helps secure that no one will ever escape me! 

Picture it: You meet a hot girl at a bar and accompany her to the patio because she wants a smoke and you are horny enough to ignore that is a disgusting habit you swore was non-negotiable in partners because you’re probably never going to text her again after tonight and you already bought her $30 worth of drinks. She lights up a Marlboro 27; you’re standing in the direction of the wind and catch a whiff, or maybe she exhales directly in your face because she doesn’t care. It’s me, hoping that you’re wondering why if you were going to abandon your morals and fuck a nasty bitch, you didn’t just hit up ol’ reliable Rose. 

You’re at your buddy’s house, drinking, watching a movie, Tweeting and liking big booty bitches on Instagram but not texting Rose back. You glance over at his bookshelf and see a copy of Ham On Rye and Burning In Water, Drowning In Flame: it’s me, Rose, wondering why you’re not texting me back and what’s just so wrong with my butt (don’t answer that). 

You get asked to be on the cover of Emos Unlimited, a dream for any band, and the interviewer compares your hope for longevity by growing and evolving with each album to Every Time I Die’s successful reign at the top of their genre. Ignoring that is a bit of a stretch — an insult to ETID, really — that’s me, saying hello, upsetting you because you have to quickly think of a rejoinder that hints nothing of your acrimony towards them for no reason besides they are my favorite band and significantly better than your band because you can’t insult the kings in Emos Unlimited magazine: That’d be a death sentence.

I wasn’t going to read anything, just look at the pictures of my precious angel, but shit, I paid the $5, and it’s their “100 bands you need to know” issue: I figured at least 65 of those featured will have stupid names and members that look impeccably foolish and make me laugh. 

(I am humble enough to admit that the table-of-contents [or the contributor list or some shit… I couldn’t look at it long enough for reasons I will soon reveal] page includes a picture of my sweetest love, but not just any picture, but the worst one I have ever seen, and I tolerate a lot of his shit: he loves turtlenecks and had a phase where he sported only these weird ninja pants that are legging on the bottom and harem pants in the dick/ball/ass area and spent $200 on a Weeknd Starboy bomber jacket and has treated me like garbage for about a decade, but this picture…. I couldn’t handle it.

He is shirtless except for a puffy, white Sherpa coat, unzipped, of course. He is wearing a chain. [I probably do not need to further clarify how terrible this picture is, but if I am aching, so will you.] They wet his hair so he looked intentionally dirty, and he is never dirty: he doesn’t even poop. He is gazing down, sporting an expression that I can best describe as an amalgam of sullenness, when one stares at a pile of dog shit on the sidewalk because they are on acid and it is a glittering shade of holographic purple and somehow reminded them of the circle of life, and the overall vibe of an ugly, perpetually sweaty weedman that makes you hug him and always sends you “you looked gorgeous tonight btw” texts once you’ve left but you keep going back because he gives you a good deal for obvious reasons. 

To summarize: He looks like a fucking jackass. I was shown this photo a month prior. “I…” I began, but hesitated. “There’s a lot to unpack here. I’m going to need a moment.”

“I styled this shoot, so choose your words carefully, Rose.”

Shit. 

After staring at it for twenty minutes and deciding that the only part that did not make me nervous was his belly button, which I wanted to stick my finger in and press like a reset button to erase the photo’s existence for my memory, I changed the subject. There simply was no way I could be nice.) 

The alternate cover for this issue features some band called Chase Atlantic. I was informed that their music is good, but I am not going to listen to it because I have a Glassjaw tattoo and they look like total clowns. They look like men I would rob for no reason besides they are morons and deserve it.

One member, I presume the vocalist because who else would be bold enough to do this, is sporting the same stupid ensemble as my Sweetiepie Honeybun in that goddamn wretched photo, except in black. Coat’s unzipped; no shirt, duh; no chain, which is a smart move because a spiteful bitch like me would snatch it; baggy sweatpants; and worst of all… This white fool had his hair done in BOX BRAIDS

I can’t even stick my finger in his belly button to forget that people actually support these assholes because he also looks like he stinks and I just know my finger would come back smelling of freshly grated parmesan. He looks like he reeks worse than my Snugglebunny in that picture where they tried to make him look stinky. Why is this band also on the cover? Does this magazine really suck as much as I presumed? Though they’re not necessarily my style — their breed of metalcore is a bit too polished, produced, and poppy for me — there is no denying that my Big Dick Dreamboat’s band has talent and class and don’t look that dumb. Who let this happen? Who said that was ok? 

(Don’t answer that; I already know. The same people who would publish an article about a known abuser’s newfound dedication to the Lord.)

Moving on to the 100 bands I apparently need to know about…

A two-man band named “Girlfriends” makes pop-punk. I could have guessed that without reading their description, but I am glad I did, because one half of the duo is the failed-white-rapper T. Mills, and that’s pretty funny. Girlfriends are probably bad. 

“Beabadoobee”? Shouldn’t you take yourself more seriously than that? I haven’t listened to her music, but the description sounds promising, so I don’t know if the stupid name intentionally lacks promise so as not to guarantee anything less than disappointment. [Rose Damian, both a self-published author of a book about her own fucking vagina and an expert on setting yourself up for failure, explains why some girl with significantly more talent and obviously someone helping her market herself and exposure in a very popular magazine and a record deal and everything Rose Damian doesn’t have, set herself up for failure by naming her music project after a distant relative of the fucking Babadook.]

I thought about quitting after “scarypoolparty,” but I made it through Ben Shapiro’s novel True Allegiance, My Antifa Lover, and Going Rogue, Sarah Palin’s memoir: I can handle a lot of idiocy. 

Still, I can’t help but wonder what makes a pool party… scary? Did someone with a severe case of athlete’s foot forget their pool shoes?  Did somebody’s baby poop in the pool and nobody noticed til the baby had been finished swimming for over an hour? Whatever freak accident happened to the kid just trying to jerk off with the pool jet against his asshole in Chuck Palahniuk’s story “Guts” was pretty scary, but that wasn’t a party: he was home alone, minding his own business… Either way, that name sucks, I really hate it, and I think he wins the crown for the name most hated by Rose. 

The artist “Jxdn” allegedly got popular on Tiktok, which makes sense because he is sexy and looks like he has no brain in his head and those are the two main qualifications for succeeding as an influencer. Why do artists like to spell their name in ways that curse their poor fans, making them sound like dolts any time they recommend them to anyone? XXYYXX is one of my favorite producers, but I rarely share that because his name is pronounced, quite literally, ex-ex-why-why-ex-ex, and that’s stupid. His name is obviously Jaden — also as surprising as a band of two washed-up pussy bandits called “Girlfriends” making pop-punk music — why do we have to call him Jix-den? Why must we struggle to pronounce Jix-den without the vowel? Why is he trying to be edgy and alternative? He’s pretty., and that’s ugly people territory, the fucking poser. Get off my lawn. 

Some Swedish dude who I am going to go ahead and assume is a cock because his music blends “emo, trap, and pop” is named Boy Destroy. I would overlook him because he is towards the end of the magazine, so the endless deluge of atrocities that filled the previous 75 pages have numbed me against his oversized beige suit and lack of shoes, and that name is neither here nor there, but another one of the 100 bands is named Destroy Boys. They are riot grrrrlz, who take inspiration from feminist punk icons, of course, though I wouldn’t have put it past a scream-trap side-project of two 40 year old men whose highlight of their lives was playing Warped Tour 2007 to use that name. Good for them, but I’m sorry: this coincidence was too funny not to write about. I wonder if either act was mad about it. 

I tried to read “Not A Toy”’s bit so I could tell you what they sound like, but the journalist didn’t use a single music-related adjective which really doesn’t bode well for them, and I couldn’t concentrate because the man on the left in their promo photo outdid himself to give us D0nT pL@Y w/// m3 I’m N0t A t0yyYYYy</3 vibes.  Whooooo, shit: a full on sad-ass clown! He looks like he’s fucking whimpering. He’s probably 36 and divorced and doesn’t pay child support and only dates 20-year-olds because they don’t pay attention to stuff like that. 

Aside from the few pictures where my beautiful boo doesn’t look like a raging idiot, my favorite part of this magazine is that I could definitely beat up 75% of the men pictured, including all of the above, and especially the fucking swaggy box-braids dingleass. (I am not encouraging or hoping for violence against men or anyone at all, I am just saying… I totally could if I had to… Y’know, Jonny Craig and Austin Carlile and their long history of domestic abuse aren’t just two anomalous defects in the bunch… This is my essay, leave me alone.)

I could certainly take out “Holding Absence,” a four-piece who allegedly write “soul-stirring melodies” and all look like worm/fish hybrids, which I guess is a shrimp. They look like shrimp; like an English professor at community college if the professor was a shrimp, which sounds up to community college standards. 

I could smack the ring out of “Noahfinnce”’s lip, with his shaggy bleached hair, pink graphic tee, ripped bootcut jeans, another fucking chain, and if not eyeliner then at least inner-corner highlight (I am allowed to insult him for this because he is definitely a straight pussy hound… If you saw the picture you would agree), but he might be 15, in which case that would be assault on a minor which is a juicy charge, but he might also be 37, thus totally warranting a quick one-two-slap. It’s hard to tell. 

(….Had I read the first line of his bio when I wrote this originally, I would have seen that he was 21. What a concept!) 

I could knock the man from “Moon Taxi” (who apparently sound, “legitimately,” like going to the moon… on a taxi…) wearing a fedora, sherpa-lined LIGHT-WASH DENIM jacket, cranberry-colored jeans, a patterned tee likely from Urban Outfitters that matches the fucking ugly pants, and black pointy man booties upside his head with either a bottle of a foul double craft IPA or an oaky and buttery Chardonnay if only I could decide which one would be his preference, but that, like the age of the (potential) predator in the last remaining pair of Hollister jeans is really up in the air. 

(21, Rose; he is 21; it said it first thing. This is why you don’t have a job writing for any shitty magazines. You can’t read. You don’t do research. You fantasize of smacking people based on their attire. You slept with one man in this stupid magazine and went back to count to make sure that he was the only one. Perhaps you lied about your inability to do research.)