How Can I Be a Better Fashion Intern? Ask Google

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Photo: Gluekit

Welcome back to Ask Google, the advice column that answers life questions with the web app you use for stalking loved ones and finding coupon codes for Zappos.com.

I'm an intern at a fashion magazine. I assist in organizing shoots, taping shoes, pulling out, and writing. All the rest, I have no problem with, but as it turns out, my boss thinks I'm a shitbomb writer, or in his words, “stale.” He tells me to make my work snappier, more clever and more ... his style. I'm at a loss. How in the world does a writer like myself not know how to write at all?

How can you be stale when you use words like shitbomb? I’ve never seen that term before. Google has only 57,600 results for it, most of them relating to actual human excrement. Maybe you can pepper that word into your writing more often.

It seems the standard advice-column advice to give you here is that you can’t please everyone all of the time. As you go through life, you will come across people who do not like your work. If you need to placate those people, you can try, but if you can’t, perhaps it’s just best to move on. As science has shown, haters have a propensity to hate.

But let’s assume you are a terrible writer, and, despite your dearth of talent, would rather do that than “tape shoes” or “pull out” professionally. How do you still produce good writing? Google would recommend you steal it.

Google Books, for example, has scanned hundreds of thousands of tomes into itself over the years, whether or not it had any right to vacuum up all that intellectual property. Robotic Twitter accounts like the famed @Horse_ebooks make money by splicing together bits of text nabbed from those archived books with spam links, never having to actually write a single tweet.

And when an Internet writer such as myself Googles the text of his pieces, he often finds they’ve been reproduced elsewhere without permission as robotically mined window-dressing for a page full of link advertising.

They may not have written any of their content, but I’m sure Google and those spammers make far more money than I do. Welcome to the age of the Internet, where original thought is a niche interest. And if your employer has some kind of objection to plagiarism, who cares? Economic conditions suggest it’s about to die anyway. Number of Google results for “death of print”: 1.6 billion. What a shitbomb.

I’m coming out of a three-year relationship and to be frank, I’m looking for quick, meaningless, NSA sex. Emphasis on quick—why waste time going on dates when I just want to fill a few needs? But I’m worried if I use Craigslist, I’ll get some old, ugly creep looking for his next murder victim. Is there some alternative I’m not thinking about/don’t know about?

Oh, so you deserve to have your needs met, but aging skeevebags who want to cut you into bite-size pieces don’t?

I get what you’re saying. The gays have Grindr for this sort of thing, but Google “Grindr for straight” and you just get a list of posts from bloggers denying its existence.

But even on Grindr, men can pretend to be someone they’re not or turn out to be murderers. If you want to achieve genital vicinity with guys in your general vicinity but skip the in-person vetting process your local watering hole affords you, that’s the trade-off you kind of have to make.

Of course, you could go professional. This Las Vegas–based blogger (“finding a straight male escort,” first result) suggests, well, Googling to find this rare breed of prostitute, and also to check that your potential escort is well reviewed and not a cop. Apparently there is no Yelp for that sort of thing.

I’m entering my junior year at college and was an orientation leader last week for new freshmen. I’ve done this since last year because I love my school, and I know that transition can be hard for some kids. But this time I had my eye on a cute boy in my group, and we ended up hooking up on the second night. Should I feel bad? I was sorta in a position of authority. I’m also pretty sure the party I took him to was the first time he ever drank alcohol, and his parents were panicky looking for him the next morning. I’m 22 and his forms say he just turned 18 last month.

So in other words, some college happened? Isn’t that what you were supposed to give him?

All right, sure, this is an ethical issue. Fortunately, a search for “orientation leader having sex with freshman” took me (second result) to information for prospective orientation leaders at Brigham Young University, maybe the most morally focused school in the entire country.

 “Your job as [an orientation leader] is to lead your group through [orientation] activities and to help make their first experience on campus a great one,” BYU says, and you certainly met those criteria.

Googling "BYU honor code sex" reveals that this university also bans "inappropriate sexual relations," defined as "sexual relationships outside of marriage." But you're not asking whether sex, in general, should make you feel guilty — only whether this particular sex act should. So let us turn, instead, to BYU's other honor recommendations.

You shouldn’t feel bad about this hookup as long as the clothing you wore is not  “sleeveless, strapless, backless, or revealing; has slits above the knee; or is form fitting.” (It doesn’t say anything about clothing that is “nonexistent” or “sitting in a pool of Natty Light and freshman boy vomit on the floor.” ) You shouldn't feel bad if you did not consume coffee, have a beard, or wear sandals.

Got a question? Let me Google that for you: askthecut@nymag.com