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Sunday Reads: Mental Health ER Visits, the Soothing Sounds of ‘Mallwave’ and Teenage Teetotalers

Evidently it’s Super Bowl Sunday, not that you’d know it here in L.A. The only reason I’m clued in to the Big Game are the aggressive endcap displays for Doritos and Budweiser at the grocery store. Football, as a sport, is fine, but personally I’m far more excited for the opportunity to get a little lit on a Sunday night while doublefisting my weight in artificial cheese products.

Nachos: Get in me.

It’s still early though — game starts at 3 p.m. Pacific, in case you were unaware — which means you’ve still got plenty of time to spend with some sweet, sweet long-reads from this week on MEL.

Must Read of the Week

“People Are Using the ER for Mental Health Crises. Experts Say It’s the Biggest Problem in Emergency Medicine”

Despite more scientific knowledge and pharmaceutical innovation than ever, experts say that Americans’ mental health seems to be getting worse in the last two decades, with more suicides and emergencies despite advancements in physical medicine. Unfortunately, this crisis is playing out in ERs all over the country. Otherwise healthy people, ambushed by a debilitating storm of physical symptoms that paramedics and doctors can’t quickly fix, are leaving ERs short-handed. And those in the midst of a panic attack (or worse) are left without the treatment they need. READ MORE

The Week in Features


That there short film is the genesis behind one of the most talked about ads in TV history: The Budweiser “Whassup?” spot, which debuted on Monday Night Football in December 1999 and aired during Super Bowl XXXIV in 2000. I’ve seen it. You’ve seen it. Hell, the ad became so famous it was even parodied in the 2000 horror-parody Scary Movie:

But what of its humble beginnings? How did an ad go viral before going viral was even a thing? Quinn Myers spoke with the man who discovered the film and decided, “Hey, what if these guys were holding Budweisers?”


Imagining the experience of being in a mall when you’re too young to remember their heyday is hard enough. Imagining what a mall might sound like — and more specifically, what it might sound like completely empty and abandoned — is even harder. But that’s exactly what the teen fans of “mallwave” are doing. The lo-fi subgenre of vaporwave sounds exactly like you might expect: Soft, calming ambient sounds and low-quality synthesizers that harken back to a time its listeners never knew, but are nostalgic for just the same.

I Wanna Sext You Up

Across the country, more and more men have reported a scary new type of “phishing” attack: Random texts from an unknown woman in nothing but her bra, wanting to chat. To these men’s wives or girlfriends, it might sound like an elaborate excuse from someone who’s been caught cheating. But in reality, federal investigators are acknowledging that what these guys are experiencing is an odd new type of SMS text scam called “smishing.” And for the men who get hooked into handing over private information to those luscious pair of boobs, the cost is enormous.

The Family That Tackles Together, Stays Together

Has all this Super Bowl chatter made you wish you owned a professional football team? Face it bro, that’s never going to happen — but you could improvise your own “team” the old-fashioned way by pumping out a shitload of kids and teaching them to run, pass and tackle. That’s almost the same thing, right? We talked to three dads whose families are almost large enough to warrant an expansion franchise.

Reinventing the Wheel

A few years ago, virtual reality seemed like a peek into a be-goggled 3D future. As time has wore on, however, VR headsets like Oculus and VIVE seem more like expensive niche products than the future of entertainment. But could VR be saved by an industry ripe for a little 3D innovation, namely porn? We strapped in, lubed up and found out for ourselves.

Teenage Teetotalers

Teens these days are going increasingly straight edge. They don’t smoke, they don’t have sex and most of all, they don’t drink. In fact, drinking has dropped steadily among high schoolers since the 1990s. There are multiple explanations — teens don’t want to get in trouble, ruin their future prospects or lose their self-control. Or maybe all these teens just live in Iceland, where only one in ten had reported consuming alcohol in the last month, down 76 percent from 2003.

Does It Count?

For bisexual women, hearing “I don’t care if you hook up with another girl — maybe we can have a threesome?” is par for the course. But if it was another guy… Now that’s off limits. Why, though, don’t men consider girl-on-girl sex to be a threat to their egos in the same way they consider girl-on-guy sex to be, as reductive as it is?

Why We Choke

Choking someone out takes care and precision, whether in sport or in sex. Though it’s a brush with death for the person being choked, many still enjoy being choked for pleasure (because of how dangerous it is, naturally). Meanwhile, in combat sports like wrestling or Brazilian jiu-jitsu, the chokehold is considered a great equalizer. Allow contributing writer Oliver Lee Bateman to offer you his unified theory of the power and pain that comes with the ability to choke out another human being.

What Kept Me Up This Week: Men’s Lingerie

We’re all about guys expressing their inner femininity in whatever fashion they deem appropriate, and lingerie made for men is no exception. If the touch of a silk negligee or camisole makes you feel alive, you do you, my guys. That said, I didn’t expect C. Brian Smith to try on a classy olive green bra in the office, and now I can’t get his strutting visage out of my mind.

Men We Love: The Dudes of Disneyland Social Clubs

Mickey Mouse-inspired biker bros love Disneyland, too, apparently. If groups of adult men in patched up denim vests want to have weekly meetups at the Happiest Place On Earth for fun and companionship, more power to them, I say.

The MEL Wayback Machine: “Why Wearing Your Team’s Jersey Is The Only Acceptable Form Of Cosplay

A year ago this week, we attempted to wrap our heads around why people who play dress up by throwing on a jersey and pretending they’re professional athletes is more socially acceptable than a kid dressing up as, say, his favorite Star Wars jedi. Newsflash: Sports nerd-dom is still nerd-dom, so stop making fun of ComicCon.

What We’re Reading

Man Who Dated a Cockroach for a Year and Had Sex Dreams About It Says Humans Aren’t as Attractive

This headline fails to mention a few key details of this story, such as that the cockroach was named Lisa, and that Lisa has died, and that the man in question ate Lisa upon her death.

The World-Record Instagram Egg Is Going to Make Someone Very Rich

Atlantic writer Taylor Lorenz is the tits when it comes to Instagram culture. And her piece about the record-breaking Instagram egg is going to make you feel like an idiot for not seeing the viral marketing campaign coming from a mile away.

Don’t Trust Us — Here’s What Everyone Else is Reading on MEL

First things first, Miles Klee’s article on the sport of the Twitter Ratio got a shoutout on the Washington Post, the publication arm of Amazon, this week. Second things second, people also seemed to dig the following pieces as well:

Go Rams?