The Myth, The Woman, The Frenemy
story / ALY VANDER HAYDEN
photos / JACK ClARIZIO
Alida Nugent: the hidden goddess of The Frenemy, a blog for women “who are the urban normal: fashionable, confident, slightly alcoholic BAMFS who can take a freakin’ joke.” With entry titles such as “What I’d Rather Do Than Lose Five Pounds” and “How to Be Social,” Nugent has begun to highlight and embrace the awkward, secretly hilarious woman who is “NOT fabulous” (though we would beg to differ). Since the start of the site, she has been turning out daily unabashed posts as well as writing a memoir and tentatively working on a television sitcom based on the blog. I got to speak with Nugent about her aspirations to become a Lifetime movie, being drunk on the job, and the very real, terrifying life after college.
What made you want to start The Frenemy and what did the blog start out as?
Well senior year right before graduation I broke my computer and I did not back anything up because I’m stupid. So I thought I needed a portfolio because I wanted to be a writer. I didn’t know what kind of writer I wanted to be, I had no idea, but I was like alright let me show that I can at least write stuff everyday. So I was drunk with my roommate, and my grandmother had gotten me a subscription to Cosmopolitan, I guess she wanted me to be good at blowjobs-I have no idea. So she gave me this subscription and I was looking at it and I was like, ‘This sucks, I could do better.’ Not in a way that I could do better than Cosmopolitan because I really never will. I’m not going to have a magazine like that, so I was like, I can make fun of it. So I did, and people didn’t read it for like two months. I was sitting alone on the couch eating snacks and being like, ‘I guess I’ll do this.’ Then people started reading it and eventually it sort of evolved into something else because you can only make fun of a magazine for like a year. So I kind of write about my own life and what I think other girls are feeling and doing.
Yeah, definitely. I remember my friend sent me the “Carrie Bradshaw Math” post and that’s what got me into The Frenemy.
Yeah that one become pretty viral more than anything else I wrote. People got very mad at me about it, which is kind of hilarious. I got like the nastiest emails from people being like, ‘You’re a BITCH.’ I was just like Carrie is fake, I don’t get it. Laughs.
Where do you get most of the inspiration from your posts?
Most of it’s just conversations I have with my friends and my own life too, and sometimes I’ll just kind of like think about some awkward thing I’ve done in the past and write about it. Drinking usually inspires me.
Do you ever write posts drunk?
Laughs. Yes, I have. You can sort of tell. Sometimes I’ll get home from a bar at like two in the morning and write an insane list and the end of it is just like bat-shit crazy. The other day, since I haven’t been drinking while I’ve been on this juice fast, I wrote posts sober. People seem to like the drunk ones more, which is like terrible. Laughs. They’re just like, ‘She’s so crazy, I love this! Keep drinking.’ Write drunk edit sober.
So you majored in creative writing in college. Do you think that helped you at all with The Frenemy?
I don’t know, I didn’t actually write any non-fiction until like late senior year. I started off as a screenwriting major and I hated it because I can’t edit, I can’t use cameras. Then I was just a writer and I wrote a lot of stories from the mind-set of a teenage boy. I guess I just wrote more than I would have if I didn’t major in creative writing.
Do you ever feel pressure from your large number of readers, especially since you mentioned the type of hate mail you receive?
Yeah, I can be kind of pretty shy sometimes. It reached a certain point where I realized a lot of people were reading me, and then I was like ‘Oh my god these people are all reading me!’ I usually get nice emails though. I don’t worry so much about the negative criticism because you’re going to get that walking down the street I guess. Sometimes I worry about writing something that I like every time, where it’s like I’m sending this out to web people and it’s only my single opinion.
The majority of your posts always have a very comical outlook on life, but is there anything that ever gets you super down that it’s hard to write about or joke about?
Yeah, I mean I think everything can be sort of joked about. Well maybe not everything, but most things can be. If I ever get bummed and I don’t want to write about it I guess I don’t. If I get bummed about something that I think other people have felt I’ll usually write about it. I wrote about being sad about a heartbreak or something like that. I’m not going to write about every time I get sad, and sometimes you know stuff bums me out that’s kind of bigger than just ‘girl problems,’ and I’ll just write about that for myself.
Where did the title of your blog come from? What is your definition of a Frenemy?
Ah, I don’t know. It’s kind of one of those things where I really just did it because I was going to make fun of Cosmopolitan. Like, I’ve never ever said that term about anyone, and I think most of the people who read me haven’t either. So it’s just kind of like a jokey title.
Have you made any friends in the blogging community, and are they just blog friends or are they real friends now?
I’ve met a couple people, and I think I have two or three friends that I now consider my ‘real friends’ just through the blog. I went on a blind date with one of the readers, he’s got his own blog, and now we’re just like regular friends. I have a really good friend, who works for Thought Catalog, and she and I are just normal pals now. She wrote for the blog once. I didn’t get chopped up by anyone so that’s nice.
No Craiglist killer status for you then?
No, seriously. It’s a good Lifetime movie though. I wouldn’t mind if something happened to make me a Lifetime movie. You can chop me up.
Do people often contact you for personal advice?
Yeah, I get a lot of that, which is really bizarre to me. I mean I like hearing it and I’m glad I could help, but I’m really awkward and not really good at romantic advice. They’re like, ‘My boyfriend’s mad at me,’ and I’m like I haven’t had a boyfriend in like 37 years, what do you want me to say? Like eat and cry, I don’t know. I have no idea.
Tell me about your book coming out.
It is a comedy memoir. Well I’m not sure I would say memoir, but it’s about the year after I graduated from college, so it’s like a chapter for each month. I lived in Boston and worked in Starbucks for a while. I actually worked at Starbucks for six years; it was a career in rage. Then I lived at home for a bit, and then I moved to Brooklyn. So it’s sort of the up and down and learning about paying loans and dating outside of college, which sucks. Well, dating in college sucks too. It’s just kind of a comedy about that. It comes out in like late 2012 early 2013.
Is the drafting going well?
It’s going. Laughs. I’m going insane, but it’s cool to sit around and write all day.
That is scariest thing to think about, life after college.
Oh yeah. It was much scarier than I thought, and much more fun. It’s cool to do your own shit, but it’s also like I have never realized how to balance a checkbook, and people are talking to me about 401(k)s. I’m like, ‘Dude I don’t know what the fuck you’re talking about, but okay I guess this is my life now.’
Yeah, like I don’t want people to be in serious relationships around me. Laughs.
My roommate met his boyfriend at my Frenemy party, which is literally the cutest story in the world. They both went to the same Lady Gaga concert, and he was the one that got called up. I guess before “Telephone” or something like that she called someone up, and he went on stage and they met at my party. When Adam, my roommate, heard this, he had a picture of him on his phone. Now they’re like in love and dating and it’s so cute, but I’m like, ‘Oh, I’m single, I have to see this lovely example of a functional relationship.’
If you could send one message to your readers, as well as Ladygunn, what would it be?
I guess don’t hate on yourself too much. You’re fine. Calm down. It’s cool, just have a drink and enjoy it. I feel like people are really stressed out about stupid shit. I know I am. The biggest thing for me is for people to not hate on their bodies. I think that’s like my biggest plight. I really, really hate that, it drives me crazy. We’ve all been on like crazy diets and worry about our thighs and I just don’t fucking get it. I walk around and I’m like, ‘That girl looks fucking great!’ and she’s saying to herself, ‘I look so bad today!’ I’m just like ‘No you don’t.’ So that’s like my thing.