Is This ‘It Happened to Me’ Headline Real or Fake?

By
Photo: Tetra Images/Corbis

This week, the Cut reflects on self-reflection with a series of stories devoted to the art of memoir.

Long into the future, you'll remember where you were when you first heard that a gynecologist found a ball of cat hair in a writer's vagina. You'll remember your surprise, perhaps your involuntary gag reflex, and you'll certainly remember the place where the testimonial appeared: xoJane's It Happened to Me series of personal writing.

It Happened to Me is memorable not so much for its prose as for the consistently startling, highly readable, and brilliant syntax of the headlines that preface each overshare. They shock; they scare; in under 60 characters, they can start in one place and end up somewhere else entirely. They are a constantly evolving symbol of our memoir-obsessed time.

In tribute to the poetry of It Happened to Me, the Cut implores you: Can you tell a fake It Happened to Me headline from a real one?

‘It Happened to Me’: Real or Fake?

1

40

It Happened to Me: Doctors Surgically Removed Most of My Butthole

It Happened to Me: Doctors Surgically Removed Most of My ButtholeReal

1

40

2

40

It Happened to Me: I’m Young, Rich, and Living in the Witness Protection Program

It Happened to Me: I’m Young, Rich, and Living in the Witness Protection ProgramFake

2

40

3

40

It Happened to Me: We Adopted a Special-Needs Cat and It Made Our Lives Better

It Happened to Me: We Adopted a Special-Needs Cat and It Made Our Lives BetterReal

3

40

4

40

It Happened to Me: My Mom Convinced Me to Go With Her to an Insane Clown Posse Concert

It Happened to Me: My Mom Convinced Me to Go With Her to an Insane Clown Posse ConcertReal

4

40

5

40

It Happened to Me: I Took Psychedelics and Mastered Needlecraft

It Happened to Me: I Took Psychedelics and Mastered NeedlecraftFake

5

40

6

40

It Happened to Me: Homemade Kombucha Ruined My Life

 It Happened to Me: Homemade Kombucha Ruined My LifeFake

6

40

7

40

It Happened to Me: I Was an Escort for 8 Years, Believing It Would Empower Me, and It Didn’t

It Happened to Me: I Was an Escort for 8 Years, Believing It Would Empower Me, and It Didn’tReal

7

40

8

40

It Happened to Me: I Dated a Winklevoss Twin

It Happened to Me: I Dated a Winklevoss TwinFake

8

40

9

40

It Happened to Me: Alternative Medicine (and Poor Critical Thinking Skills) Almost Killed Me

It Happened to Me: Alternative Medicine (and Poor Critical Thinking Skills) Almost Killed MeReal

9

40

10

40

It Happened to Me: Pot Brownies Saved Me From an Emotionally Abusive Relationship

It Happened to Me: Pot Brownies Saved Me From an Emotionally Abusive RelationshipReal

10

40

11

40

It Happened to Me: I Got a Large Tattoo of My Ex-Husband's Art on My Back, and I Don’t Regret It

It Happened to Me: I Got a Large Tattoo of My Ex-Husband's Art on My Back, and I Don’t Regret ItReal

11

40

12

40

It Happened to Me: I’m a Libertarian

It Happened to Me: I’m a LibertarianFake

12

40

13

40

It Happened to Me: My Huge Face Tried to Kill Me

It Happened to Me: My Huge Face Tried to Kill MeReal

13

40

14

40

It Happened to Me: I’m Living With a Rare Disorder That Makes My Sweat Carbonated

It Happened to Me: I’m Living With a Rare Disorder That Makes My Sweat CarbonatedFake

14

40

15

40

It Happened to Me: I’m the Forgotten Heir to the Staples Office Supply Chain

It Happened to Me: I’m the Forgotten Heir to the Staples Office Supply ChainFake

15

40

16

40

It Happened to Me: I Blacked Out at a Party and Woke Up Dressed As Dolly Parton

It Happened to Me: I Blacked Out at a Party and Woke Up Dressed As Dolly PartonFake

16

40

17

40

It Happened to Me: It Took Falling 11 Stories and Almost Dying to Get Me to Leave a Bad Boyfriend

It Happened to Me: It Took Falling 11 Stories and Almost Dying to Get Me to Leave a Bad BoyfriendReal

17

40

18

40

It Happened to Me: I Was Street-Harassed in My Muumuu

It Happened to Me: I Was Street-Harassed in My MuumuuReal

18

40

19

40

It Happened to Me: I Was Catcalled by My Brother

It Happened to Me: I Was Catcalled by My BrotherFake

19

40

20

40

It Happened to Me: When I Confronted My Boss About Unequal Pay, He Told Me to ‘Shove It’

It Happened to Me: When I Confronted My Boss About Unequal Pay, He Told Me to ‘Shove It’Fake

20

40

21

40

It Happened to Me: I Had Sex After Cutting a Jalapeño and Burned My Vagina

It Happened to Me: I Had Sex After Cutting a Jalapeño and Burned My VaginaReal

21

40

22

40

It Happened to Me: I'm Living With Retrograde Amnesia

It Happened to Me: I'm Living With Retrograde AmnesiaReal

22

40

23

40

It Happened to Me: My Name Is Also Elon Musk

It Happened to Me: My Name Is Also Elon MuskFake

23

40

24

40

It Happened to Me: I Was Gluten-Shamed in the Liquor Store

It Happened to Me: I Was Gluten-Shamed in the Liquor StoreReal

24

40

25

40

It Happened to Me: I Thought I’d Be Liberated After My Breast Reduction, But I Miss My Huge Knockers

It Happened to Me: I Thought I’d Be Liberated After My Breast Reduction, But I Miss My Huge KnockersFake

25

40

26

40

It Happened to Me: My Male Roommate Wore My Miniskirts While Drunk and My Female One Encouraged Her Dog to Poop on the Carpet

It Happened to Me: My Male Roommate Wore My Miniskirts While Drunk and My Female One Encouraged Her Dog to Poop on the CarpetReal

26

40

27

40

It Happened to Me: My Grandmother Age-Shamed My 2-Year-Old Cousin and I Did Nothing

It Happened to Me: My Grandmother Age-Shamed My 2-Year-Old Cousin and I Did NothingFake

27

40

28

40

It Happened to Me: I Was Guac-Shamed at Chipotle

It Happened to Me: I Was Guac-Shamed at ChipotleFake

28

40

29

40

It Happened to Me: I Eat Garbage to Save Money and Help Reduce Food Waste

It Happened to Me: I Eat Garbage to Save Money and Help Reduce Food WasteReal

29

40

30

40

It Happened to Me: I Heard the Nurse Practitioner Trash-Talk Me From the Hallway

It Happened to Me: I Heard the Nurse Practitioner Trash-Talk Me From the HallwayReal

30

40

31

40

It Happened to Me: I Went for a Ride in a Cessna and Ended Up Watching a Guy Run Marijuana Through a Wood-Chipper

It Happened to Me: I Went for a Ride in a Cessna and Ended Up Watching a Guy Run Marijuana Through a Wood-ChipperReal

31

40

32

40

It Happened to Me: My Best Friend Broke Up With Me When She Found Out I Was a Virgin Who Did Anal

It Happened to Me: My Best Friend Broke Up With Me When She Found Out I Was a Virgin Who Did AnalFake

32

40

33

40

It Happened to Me: The Surgeon Told Me I’d Live One More Day; That Was Yesterday

It Happened to Me: The Surgeon Told Me I’d Live One More Day; That Was YesterdayFake

33

40

34

40

It Happened to Me: I Got Cancer on My 10th Wedding Anniversary

It Happened to Me: I Got Cancer on My 10th Wedding AnniversaryReal

34

40

35

40

It Happened to Me: My Son Was Born With a Rib Cage That Was Too Large and I Gave Him Up for Adoption

It Happened to Me: My Son Was Born With a Rib Cage That Was Too Large and I Gave Him Up for AdoptionFake

35

40

36

40

It Happened to Me: I Didn’t Wear Shoes for a Month and My Boyfriend Dumped Me

It Happened to Me: I Didn’t Wear Shoes for a Month and My Boyfriend Dumped MeFake

36

40

37

40

It Happened to Me: I Have a Medical Condition That Makes Me Tan and Skinny

It Happened to Me: I Have a Medical Condition That Makes Me Tan and SkinnyReal

37

40

38

40

It Happened to Me: I Don’t Love My Cat, and It’s Making Him Depressed

It Happened to Me: I Don’t Love My Cat, and It’s Making Him DepressedFake

38

40

39

40

It Happened to Me: A Guy I Was Dating Hurt Himself Masturbating and Accused Me of Giving Him an STD

It Happened to Me: A Guy I Was Dating Hurt Himself Masturbating and Accused Me of Giving Him an STDReal

39

40

40

40

It Happened to Me: I Don’t Have a Heartbeat — the Doctors Checked

It Happened to Me: I Don’t Have a Heartbeat — the Doctors CheckedFake

40

40

You did better than % of readers

40

Well Done!

Better Luck Next Time.

Share Your Score