It’s fall, y’all! That means warm drinks, oversized sweaters, running outside, creating, and much, much more. And, although fall is probably my favorite season, it’s not all frothy cappuccinos and olive-hued boots. Yes, there can be a dark side too, which brings us to The Pros and Cons of Fall.
- Saying “It’s fall, y’all.” There is nothing objectionable about that phrase. It rhymes, it utilizes the greatly under-appreciated pronoun “y’all,” it’s cute, and it has no problematic religious connotations attached to it.
- The best fashion of the year. Fall is when we get the best colors, the best types of clothes, and the best fashion. Everything is maroon, orange, deep teal, olive, and burgundy with plenty of charcoal, chocolate, and black. There are thousands of new jackets, boots, jeans, scarves, and long-sleeved shirts to ogle, and, unlike in the winter, you can actually be seen wearing these clothes! And everyone looks good in fall fashions, whether you’re wearing skirts and colorful tights, skinny jeans tucked into ankle boots, or sleeveless hoodies over long-sleeved shirts. And I do mean everybody — men, women, nonbinary people, fat people, skinny people, pear-shaped people, black people, old people — everybody looks like a Goddamn model in fall fashions.
- Cuddling. Yes, you can (and should) cuddle every day of the year, but in the fall we cuddle in oversized sweaters, fluffy blankets, and duvets. It’s like cuddling inside a cuddle, and it’s awesome.
- Crafting season. We don’t craft during the summer. I don’t know why that is. Maybe it’s because we’re way too busy going on vacation/being too fucking hot, but we just don’t. But that makes fall all the more exciting because suddenly we have to craft. We need to make wreaths and customize our jackets and bags and make a scarf/bag/hat/mittens/boot cuffs that match the season/Halloween. It’s fall, y’all, and we’ve got shit to do.
- Crafting for crafting’s sake. Fall is different from winter in that all your crafts are just for fun whereas winter crafts will most likely either be intended as gifts or to stave off the cabin fever and thus attract significantly more pressure. So you fucked up your Nightmare Before Christmas wreath? Big deal, just make another. Oh, you slipped a stitch in your girlfriend’s Christmas scarf? TIME TO LOSE YOUR SHIT. Fall crafts FTW.
- Leaves changing. I grew up in Texas and for about 22 years was not aware that leaves changing color was an enjoyable environmental process. In Texas, you have green leaves, yellow leaves, brown leaves, and no leaves, though that’s often because it hasn’t rained in 96 days and has been over 100 degrees for 106 days. But when you get above the Mason-Dixie line in vague proximity to some mountain range or hilly area, leaves changing color is actually really cool. The world becomes colorful, textured, and alive. If you can see leaves actually changing color the way the Northeast intended, please do so. It’s awesome.
- Trips to an orchard. Yeah, you can visit orchards during the spring and summer (Berry picking, anyone?), but it becomes much more of an event during the fall. Apples come in, cider donuts are freshly made, pumpkins must be picked, and hay rides must be gone on. Ain’t nothing better than an afternoon at the local orchard.
- Pumpkin/spices everywhere! Man, I love pumpkin. It is a delicious-flavored gourd and great in pretty much everything. Then there’re the accompanying spices — cloves, nutmeg, cinnamon, and ginger (maybe even cardamom!) — that’s the good stuff. You throw various mixtures of that in basically anything and it’s going to be delicious. Mmmm…
- The return of egg nog. Yeah, pumpkin spice is great, but I can actually get the basic ingredients any time of the year. You know what I can only get November through December? Egg nog. Come January 1, that shit is gone. Time to stock up (And you cannot make it yourself. Believe me, I’ve tried.).
- Cooking. So much damn cooking. Let’s make cookies, guys, and strudel and streusel and cobbler and bread and soup and chili and roast chicken and chickpea soup and lentils and oatmeal and everything in The Joy of Cooking. Why? Because it’s fucking fall, y’all.
- Hot foods and beverages. While I will absolutely have hot chocolate and chili during the summer, it’s not quite as satisfying as it is in the fall. Fall marks the moment when my body (especially my hands) crave hot foods and beverages and when I flood it with chai tea, various other teas, hot chocolate, coffee-flavored drinks, chili, soups, and roasts. And I never regret it.
- Halloween. Halloween is my favorite holiday. There’s dressing up, being silly with friends, crafting/creating, candy, sweets, booze, parties, and decorations. What’s not to love about Halloween?
- Haunted houses. Haunted houses. Haunted houses. Haunted houses. HAUNTED HOUSES!!
- The sad, inevitable slide into winter. Yes, it’s lovely to go running during daylight hours without getting heat stroke, but every day that drops a fraction of a degree is just one day closer to slipping on the icy steps outside your apartment and futilely trying to caulk the chinks in your window frames. Ugh.
- Christmas invasion. There is a time and a place for Christmas. That time is not September.
- Football. After four years of high school marching band, I am done with football. And now that I live in a college town with exceedingly poor city management, I am further done with football. Football encourages 19-year-olds to get drunk in parking lots, hog employees’ spaces, and clog up traffic for miles. Boo on that.
- A severe decrease in fresh fruits. What fruit do you eat during the fall? Apples? Maybe bananas? Aaaaaand…? Everything else is either canned or frozen, and you can only eat apples for so long. Bye-bye, berries and melons. I’ll see you again in nine months.
- Pumpkin spice everything. So we’ve established that I love both pumpkin and the spices one puts in pumpkin spice and pumpkin-flavored things. You know what I don’t love? An over-saturation of a flavor that doesn’t even taste like pumpkin. There’s nothing pumpkin-y about pumpkin spice lattes and pumpkin spice Twinkies (Also, what the hell, Twinkies?). We are reaching critical mass of the pumpkin spice-ness, and it is not going to be pretty.
- Hearing people use the word “basic” unironically/constantly. Yes, I understand that we have an over-saturation of pumpkin spice everything and that people will in fact riot over it, but there’s no need to call everybody basic. Do you even know what that means? Does anyone? Is it even a bad thing? No? Then STFU.
- The inevitable reminder that you’re too old to trick-or-treat. Unless you’re below 18, you’re not legally allowed to go trick-or-treating (at least, not in my city). This seems patently unfair to me. I don’t want to scope out kids, molest them, or feed them poisonous candy. I just want to dress up, go door-to-door, and get free candy. And yet, I will never be able to again. Sniff.
- Family stress. Suddenly, not visiting your family for nine months is not “understandable” or “forgivable” but is an execution-able offense that shows that you’ve never really loved your grandmother. Prepare to argue, to shout, to rehash old offenses, to smile while your misogynistic uncle leers at you, and to have every life decision made or not yet made undermined. Yay…
- Fucked up work schedule. Do you enjoy a stable work schedule where you get everything done like checking items off a list? No? Then are you going to love shifting around your schedule, deliveries, and social life to accommodate holidays, insane new opening and closing hours, and every single one of your coworkers taking extra time off at the last minute.
- Body shaming. Someone, either you, a family member, a friend, or a complete fucking stranger, will point out that all that delicious food has calories and eating too many calories can make you fat. If you’re super lucky, someone will poke your belly at Thanksgiving and say you’ve gotten “big.” Do your best to ignore them, make peace with any incidental body changes, and have another fucking piece of pie. It’s fall. Food is awesome. Enjoy.
- Black Friday. Seriously, fuck Black Friday. The sales aren’t really any better than any other time of the year, and they’re never better than Cyber Monday (or the following Saturday or Sunday). It’s just a way for corporations to trick people into overspending while simultaneously controlling employees and stealing their time. If possible, do not shop on Black Friday. Please, just don’t. Rather, could I suggest baking or crafting with your family and friends? Both are significantly less stressful and more satisfying (and won’t involve you getting stabbed while carrying a TV to your car).