Arrive at the subway station four minutes early; you want to find a spot to stand far away from the other commuters. They all look the same, standing slumped over in their tweed trench coats, worn briefcases, poorly-tied ties: fat ties, ugly ties, paisley ties, skinny ties on twenty-three-year-old pseudo-hipsters whose dads still pay their rent.

You look just like them.

Wonder where everyone is going, if any of them are excited to get there. Wonder how many of them wanted to be veterinarians when they were in second grade. If they were veterinarians, they wouldn’t have to wear those ties. Notice how all the women in black kitten heels walk like ostriches, their legs bending backwards like snapped toothpicks, hidden under sheer black tights. Make a mental note: kitten heels are impractical, and ties are restrictive. Decide that you hate whatever prick decided that professional attire has to be what it is. 

Board the train and sit across from a girl with ash-blonde hair who sits in the corner seat reading a beat-up copy of Mrs. Dalloway. Watch as she fingers the corners of her pages, running the paper between her calloused hands. You feel sorry for her: the world isn’t always kind to people who read for pleasure. Wonder how her little paperback book got so bruised: how many times has she read Mrs. Dalloway? Try to recall the last time you felt the need to read a book more than once. Try to recall the last time you read a book all the way through.

Look away before she starts to feel watched, but as you do, ask yourself: does it matter if she sees you? Doesn’t everybody always feel watched?

Scrunch your nose as you walk into your 9 o’clock meeting; the conference room smells like canned tuna. Take a seat in one of the gentrified swivel chairs at the end of the table, place your MacBook Air on the too-clean table that is just too low for you. Eavesdrop as Robyn from HR asks the fresh-faced new assistant where her loafers are from, and scoff under your breath when you hear her say that they’re from NastyGal. You realize you don’t know the new girl’s name; decide that you’ll refer to her as NastyGal until you learn it.

Department head Will starts the meeting by bringing everyone’s attention to a series of graphs and charts; nod along as he explains what the pie chart means, as if you don’t know. Watch as he wipes a bead of forehead sweat on the sleeve of his slate-gray dress shirt. He looks like a man you’d see in a Roy Lichtenstein painting: shiny, firm, conventional. Some might call him handsome. Sigh gently: you can’t believe he’s your boss.

You make eye contact with NastyGal, who fiddles gently with a gold pendant. She bites her lower lip, watching as Will runs through his presentation, moving from pie chart to line graph to scatter plot. Will looks at her as he fixes his necktie, cracking a crooked smirk in her direction. She’ll do well here. Excuse yourself to use the restroom.

The meeting is over by the time you return, so you grab your laptop, and walk out of the room with your head down. Pretend not to see NastyGal introducing herself to Will, but make a mental note when she says her name is Kate. NastyGal Kate. Shut the door behind you as you shuffle to your desk. As you spend the day reporting, aggregating, and data-analyzing, you peer into Will’s all-glass office and watch as he smokes a cigarette and doesn’t even crack the window. He’ll sit there all day, smoking cigarettes and spitting into the phone, all while picturing NastyGal Kate spread-eagled on the conference table with her loafers strewn across the room.

You decide that you like NastyGal Kate. Call her over to your desk, ask if she wants to get coffee sometime. She says she would love to, smiling widely.

Take the elevator down to the first floor at five o’clock sharp and decide to take the scenic route home. Walk on littered sidewalks behind a group of Brooks Brothers boys to a kitschy gastropub –­­­ linger for a moment, decide to go in. Tell the attractive young bartender with the koi fish tattoo that you’ll have a negroni, and think to yourself how cosmopolitan you must sound right now. Tip 20% as you grab your drink, choke on the orange peel garnish, and take a seat at one of the high-tops in the corner of the patio next to a hot-pink neon sign that reads “THIS MUST BE THE PLACE.”

You chew on your straw as you survey the bar. Take note of how beautiful all the young professionals look in the dusky light: stare covertly at women with red-stained lips and slicked-back hair, men with shirt sleeves rolled up to their forearms and well-maintained stubble. Hope that one day, people like this will work for you. Wonder what they talk about, what they’re well-informed on. Assume that they know a lot about performance art, French disco, March Madness, Michelin stars, wines from Napa, New York Times bestseller lists, non-denominational private high schools. Wonder what they think about at night, if they’re still so pseudo-intellectual when their thoughts are muffled under 600-thread-count sheets. Assume that when they take off their ties or their kitten heels at the end of the workday, they’re just like you: naked. 

Take one last sip of your drink and feel a tingling in your fingertips. Look at the crowd from your seat at the bar; for whatever reason, you don’t feel alone. 

Maybe it’s the wash of cigarette smoke, or the uncongealed laughter that echoes through the bar, or the burn of the negroni in the pit of your stomach, but as you put your drink down and leave the bar, everything is technicolor.

Your night-time ritual looks the same today as it does every other day: wash your face, unbutton your shirt, gaze out the window of your fourth-floor walkup as if you’re a part of something bigger than yourself. The clock reads 10:38 pm. Open your medicine cabinet and reach for the container of melatonin gummies. Take four of them. Think to yourself how much they remind you of the vitamins you took as a kid, so that you’d grow to be big and strong. 

You’ve never really been able to sleep, even as a child. Remember how in third grade, you saw a sleep specialist who gave you a prerecorded meditation tape that you were supposed to listen to every night on a Walkman. You were enchanted by the Walkman; you thought it looked like Wall-E. You used to flip through radio channels on it after listening to your tape, consequently staying up for hours longer than you should have. You would listen to pretty much any type of music back then.

Brush your teeth, rinse with teal mouthwash that burns a little as you swish it around. Climb into bed, and feel your eyelids droop as all twenty milligrams of melatonin start to pull you down. The thing that people don’t tell you about melatonin is that it makes you dream: the other night, you dreamt that you were giving a work presentation but every time you changed the slide a different picture of Brad Pitt popped up on the screen. Try to fill your head with calming thoughts; think of your hometown, of the beach, of the beautiful silver Bronco that’s always in the parking lot at work. Force yourself into one of those imaginary scenarios that you like to make up before bed. Today, you imagine yourself climbing a rope made out of neckties. You don’t know where it leads; all you see above you is the cerulean sky, and it’s beautiful. Imagine yourself in five years, looking at the sky from your desk in an all-glass office like the one Will has, smoking cigarettes and sleeping without the help of gummy supplements.

As your mind grows fuzzy and the world goes dark, you fall into a dream with an indiscernible plot but a clear, distinct feeling: the feeling of promise, of the ephemeral possibility of tomorrow.

Creative Direction Ali Meltzer, Helen Ives
Words Ali Meltzer
Photographs Emily Lapidus, Jessie Goodwin, Sydney Hou
Stylists Chandra Phenphimon, Jessie Kwon, Seo-Eun Kim
Featuring Claire Ami Pavlides, Kailen Perry, Chloe Erramouspe, Matthew Schmal, Caleb Hughes, Alexander Demeris

Armour Magazine Season 29 — F/S 2023

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Super Senior 🤩 | 5'6" 📏 | Working Out 🏋

Kyle might be short, but he's got a big personality. His Brothers from Alpha Delt call him peacock because of both his arrogance and style. Don't be fooled by the fratty attitude - Kyle's got a soft side. Not in a sweet way, though, just in a deeply insecure way. He's looking for someone to heat thing up in his bedroom this Valentine's.

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Cancer ♋️  | Empath 💕 | Animal Lover 🐾

Bella's the goth girlfriend of your dreams. Underneath the eyeliner, she's got a heart of gold, and is incredibly sweet. She believes relationships should be 50/50, and by that, she means she wants someone who spends 50% of their day with her and the other 50% wishing they were with her.
She's most compatible with Fire signs, and can't wait to find her next flame.

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Academic Weapon 💪 | ESTJ 🧠 | Vaccinated 💉

Eleanor is a Type-A business girly. Her Google Calendar is full and her LinkedIn is popping. She has extremely high standards for both herself and others, and is always striving to be the best. This girlboss has cleared her schedule this Valentines, and can't wait to meet her match.

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420 Friendly 🍃 | Lo Fi Beats 🎵 | Netflix and Chill 🍿

Aj (short for Anthony James, but please don't call him that) is one cool cat. This former pre-med-turned stoner now spends his days getting blitzed, playing Xbox, and carrying around his skateboard (which he never actually rides). Although his intense anxiety made him switch majors, he never switches up his self-medication regime, involving a quarter a week. In the spirit of the holiday, he's taking a break from lighting up to look for someone to light up his life.

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Who creates the perfect match?

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