Okay you guys, I’ve found a real gem for you this week. Emma Hager is a frequent commenter on one of my favorite sites, The Man Repeller. She’s a real standout in their community, and I think you’ll easily be able to see why. She’s the smart/cool chick you want around to give it to you straight about your clothes, your boyfriends, your insecurities, and hopes and dreams. And she’ll do it in the nicest way possible.

For real though, I think we’ve found your newest girl crush. Read on and try telling me you don’t want to be her friend.

Q: What are your favorite sites to visit and why?
A: One of my favorite sites to visit is Man Repeller because I feel like I am coming over to a really familiar friend’s house. You know, the kind of friend where you are comfortable enough to bust open their fridge and make a smoothie, even if they are in the shower or not even home. In all seriousness, what’s great about Man Repeller is that the conversation just feels very organic. There are intelligent essays that we as a “club” can really delve into, but then there are also so many great opportunities to reflect on, say, where we were when we got our periods. It’s a good balance of the intellectual and the purely dorky!

My other favorite site is Into the Gloss because I admire Emily [Founder and Creative Director] and her team so much for really making it a beauty destination. The design of the site feels SO clean, like I am walking into this amazing, modern studio space with lots of natural light that smells faintly of gardenias. What I love about the site is that it’s a great culmination of aesthetics. Beauty and style are dissected and admired from the more art-based looks of the runway to the random girl on the street, wearing no makeup. It’s about beauty, yes, but very often that sentiment can involve a state of mind more than a lipstick. And what they do really well is finding a connection between the two!

Q: What types of stories lead to good discussions?
A: My favorite stories to read, and I think the ones that often lead to the best discussions, are not necessarily the ones that raise an obvious question. Sure, stories with overarching questions often get a larger volume of answers, but I find that an honest essay about a quotidian situation can often spark far more interesting conversation. I like stories about people — we all do. And I think hearing stories that are relatively normal, often times humiliating, really bring us closer as a community. It’s that shared embarrassment or that crossing of a boundary that makes me think: “you know what? This isn’t so bad, I’m going to share my experience, too.” For me it is always nice to read pieces on sites that document interaction with interesting or quirky people. All the various human behaviors and M.O.’s are highly fascinating to me. I like people who have a “thing.”

Q: How do you know you’ve captured your thought well?
A: To be honest, I guess I know if I’ve captured my thought well when I don’t really have anything else to add, or when, if someone replies to my comment, that I really just end up repeating what was in my first comment. That, of course, does not mean my comment was well-written, but sometimes when I have to sneak a comment under the desk in one of my classes, I’m really just worried about getting my point across whilst not getting my mobile device confiscated (don’t worry, this in-class commenting happens only rarely, as I do feel some sense of guilt for focusing my attention on a source that is not the material at hand.)

Q: Why did you choose the screen name or avatar you did?
A: I chose my screen name because it’s my name. Not really a fan of my last name since it sounds kinda harsh, but hey, it is what it is. And I’ve actually been trying to change my avatar for a while now but it takes a really long time on this shared home computer, so I just grow impatient and give up.

Q: What kind of feedback or reaction are you looking for when you comment?
A: I really am not looking for any feedback or reaction when I comment. I mean, it’s always nice to see a reply, and I really do love it when someone who writes one of the blogs comments back (I get starstruck sometimes), but in the end I just like to speak/type, and it’s a nice outlet for conversations I don’t really get to have during my day. What annoys me though is when people reply to a comment with an opposing view point, but their point reveals that they only read the first line of my comment. Then I just think “uhhhh, but we agree on the second half….why so hostile?”

This virtual world is a funny place, let me tell ya. Sometimes it can be really loving and other times it can be like being in a room with men who harbor Napoleon Complexes.

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