The 5 Most Baffling Things About Pinterest: Explained


Chances are you've heard someone, probably your girlfriend, mother, sister or lady probation officer, breathlessly praise the glories of Pinterest. "It changed my life!" they say, followed by a gurgled orgasm noise and a swift, moist exit. With 20 million monthly visitors to the site, Pinterest is now the fastest growing social media site ever -- faster than Facebook, faster than Twitter. Maybe you've moseyed over to Pinterest to see what the hubbub was about, only to be crushed under a tidal wave of random thumbnails of cookies, clothes and crafts made from repurposed toilet paper rolls.

If you're confused, and you will be if you look long enough, Pinterest is basically a virtual "vision board" -- and a vision board is a poster that you paste magazine cutouts expressing your personality and hopes and wishes onto. There was a time when only aspiring kidnappers were allowed to use magazine cutouts to express their hopes and wishes but, you know, OBAMA. Thanks to Pinterest, women (and a tiny number of men, but we'll get to them in a minute) from all over the world are virtually "pinning" their "Pinterests" to their "pinboards" via "the Pinternet." So far, so good? Pinterrific.

Then other people are free to share your pinned recipes, crafts, inspirational photos, etc. on their boards, and so on, at a rate of several billion times a second (probably). Got it? OK, now here's where it gets weird. For instance, you're probably wondering ...

Are These Moms Really Awesome, or Insane?

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Kara's Party Ideas via Pinterest

The pink explosion above is a Pinterest user's birthday party ... for a 2-year-old. Did your mom throw you birthday parties when you were a kid? Did they look like that? Or this:

The 5 Most Baffling Things About Pinterest: Explained
Hostess With The Mostess via Pinterest

Most people don't have weddings this well catered.

No? Hmmm, that's weird. Why didn't your parents throw you a themed celebration with coordinating invitations, decorations, seven courses of snacks, games and $50 goody bags for your first birthday? Was it because they hated you?

Yes, if love is measured by the amount of time you put into Barbie hair detangler recipes and hand-sewing baby dresses out of pillowcases, then Pinterest mothers are the most loving mothers of all. No matter what your picture of domestic perfection is, it doesn't hold a candle to these ladies. Hey, did your parents ever make your Halloween costumes? Not if you grew up in the '80s. Parents of the '80s were much more interested in smothering their offspring than winning the Oscar for Most Creative Sewing Chops. But if Pintermoms are to be believed, Halloween is a whole new ballgame today:

The 5 Most Baffling Things About Pinterest: Explained
Grosgrain via Pinterest

The wig is even made of real hair, courtesy of grandma.

The 5 Most Baffling Things About Pinterest: Explained
Costume Works via Pinterest

A real boy who wants to be Pinocchio? That's meta as hell.

How about your lunches? Surely these pictures of lovingly crafted bento lunchboxes will bring back a rush of sweet memories from elementary school:

The 5 Most Baffling Things About Pinterest: Explained
ParentMap via Pinterest

Because real pirates prefer their grapes sliced in half.

The 5 Most Baffling Things About Pinterest: Explained
Easy Lunchboxes via Pinterest

Apparently, Nemo was chilling on some green ramen the whole time.

Mmmm, just like mom used to make ... if she loved you.

Not that there's anything wrong with moms pouring hours of love into their kids' rooms, costumes, parties, lunches, every waking moment, etc. To each their own. And hey, if you want to dress your sleeping baby up as a huge sushi roll ...

The 5 Most Baffling Things About Pinterest: Explained
via Pinterest

The same lady tried a spring roll costume, but the outcome was somewhat more tragic.

Wait a second. Just how much spare time do these people have? We guess that brings us to your next question ...

How Do People Possibly Have the Time to Make This Stuff?

The 5 Most Baffling Things About Pinterest: Explained

Hey, instead of putting down boring old tile or linoleum on your floor, why not glue thousands and thousands of pennies to it one at a time? Thanks, Pinterest!

The 5 Most Baffling Things About Pinterest: Explained
Only Pics via Pinterest

Yeah, it looks nice now. But think of what a few weeks of spilled drinks will do to it.

In case you haven't figured this part out yet, Pinterest is for makers. Makers of crafts, food, clothes, pretty babies, bulimia patients ... but probably not makers of useful modifications to everyday stuff, because that's what Lifehacker is for.

After a few minutes of project bombardment, one will start to wonder how other people have the time to make this stuff. Could it be that others are spending less than six hours on the Internet every day? Or is everyone else stuck in their own Groundhog Day where they have infinite time for infinite projects until they learn a hard truth and move on? How much time would you need to carve tiny people into your fingernails?

The 5 Most Baffling Things About Pinterest: Explained
Artpixie via Pinterest

"It was totally worth skipping work for this."

Or make a necklace out of pistachio shells?

Crem de la Craft via Pinterest

And here we've been throwing them at pigeons like fools.

Or tying your hair into knots that surely require 20 hours and a crew of six engineers to get right?

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The Beauty Department via Pinterest

Four men died building that hairdo.

SECRET PINTEREST TIP: What's actually happening is one person makes something cool, as crafty/cool types have been doing since the dawn of time, and posts a picture of their project, and then 300 other people "repin" that picture with the caption "WANT TO TRY" or "SOMEDAY" or "IF ONLY I HAD HANDS."

It's easy to go from board to board and see a vast landscape of impossible projects and feel bad about yourself for merely doing the things that could reasonably be expected of a human. So ladies, don't let Pinterest make you feel bad about yourself, and guys, don't let Pinterest set impossibly high standards for the women in your life. After all, do you really want the people in your life to spend this much time on their nails?

What Have These People Done to Their Fingernails?

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Oh, didn't you know women were flaunting entire universes on their fingernails now?

The 5 Most Baffling Things About Pinterest: Explained
Nail Crazy And You Know It via Pinterest

"My toes are a map of the best truck stop bathrooms."

Or painting detailed patterns imitating peacock feathers?

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Polished Love via Pinterest

Checking your nails the wrong way might be interpreted as a mating sign by other peacocks.

Look around the office. Two years ago, all the ladies would have been sporting conservative shades of nothing-gloss on their boring finger-ends that ultimately tapered into negative space. Today they're using their own keratin to grow crystal meth! It's crazy!

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FashionablyGEEK via Pinterest

Her other hand, themed after The Golden Girls, is less photogenic.

To be fair, Pinterest didn't cause this. It's only documenting the nail art trend that has been going strong for a few years now. If you've been paying attention, you would have noticed more stripes and hearts and discarded baby teeth on the nails all around you. And if you haven't, Pinterest is going to get you up to speed.

Plus, once you sign up for Pinterest, tiny Pintergnomes come into your house and do your nails and braid your hair at night. Read the user terms and conditions. This could be you in the morning:

The 5 Most Baffling Things About Pinterest: Explained
Haute Geek via Pinterest

The 5 Most Baffling Things About Pinterest: Explained
Pinterest via 9gag

The Beauty Box Salon

These aren't hairstyles, they're part-time jobs.

Oh, and you might notice that all of your old T-shirts are missing, which brings us to ...

Is All of This Crap Made from Old T-Shirts?

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Five minutes on Pinterest will teach you that there are more ways to turn an old T-shirt into something else than there are child sweatshop workers making the T-shirts in the first place. And usually the upgrade is just a different T-shirt. But tees are also made into jewelry, rugs, grocery bags, headbands, pot holders, pillows, hats, Christmas garlands, reusable menstrual pads and so on. Everything you see below? All T-shirts:

Between the Lines, Craftaholics Anonymous, Someday Crafts

"How can I turn all my filthy gym shirts into food holders and clothing for infants?" - People on Pinterest

We live in a time when well-fed American women aren't required to sew, knit, garden, bake and invent new art from baby footprints just to keep the family alive. So every now and then we want to feel like we made something with our soft, elaborately manicured hands. Real sewing, the kind that takes patterns and discipline and math, is for a different kind of crafter ... the kind who would still be sewing up a clothes-storm if Pinterest never saw the light of day. T-shirt renovations, on the other hand, don't necessarily need an eye for detail, a sewing machine or good taste.

The 5 Most Baffling Things About Pinterest: Explained
Disney Family Fun

That thing? Shirts.

All you need are a couple of old tees, an hour off the Internet and the determination to keep going until you end up with something to post on your Tumblr account.

Where Are the Men?

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Like everything else in life, Pinterest organizes itself into neat categories, like Food & Drink, Health & Fitness and Things That Are Not Funny. Nestled into those categories are a few that should theoretically appeal to men: Cars & Motorcycles, Geek -- oh no wait, that's usually girls posting pictures of Doctor Who and screenshots from How I Met Your Mother. There are definitely a few guys in the Technology section, posting pictures of their favorite gadgets and whatnot. And there are plenty of men in the Men's Fashion section, pinning their favorite outfits, because boys are allowed to do that and who are you to judge? No one, that's who. Shut your mouth.

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Unless you have advice for what sort of bracelet to pair with a Rolex and an Armani suit.

Go to those places and you will find the men of Pinterest ... but you'll also find toddler chore list systems, green smoothie recipes and "Quotes to Live Buy (sic)" that were accidentally posted by women who clicked the wrong section. In other words, women won't let the men even have those tiny little sections. Shh -- don't tell the men's right's guys. They don't need anything else to cry into their lattes over.

In America, Pinterest is dominated by women, composed of as much as 83 percent according to one analysis. How did this happen? Why isn't Pinterest like Tumblr, where all the sexes mingle as friends and equals and lovers? Media experts are still trying to figure out the answer, while man-centered copycat sites like Dudepins and Manteresting struggle to find the same success. By posting pictures of girls in tank tops and mugs of beer.

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We already have porn and liquor stores. What does this add?

My unscientific explanation for the disparity is that Pinterest is now the home of the great mom/crafter-blog boom of the mid-2000s. The bloggers who had specific skills to offer quietly kept writing, making stuff and getting better at producing real world things besides cute anecdotes. The bloggers who didn't have those skills faded quietly into Facebook and Twitter ... until Pinterest came along. Now those of us who don't know how to actually make or do anything cool can steal ideas from the people who do.

Holy crap .... is Pinterest what Ayn Rand predicted all along?

Kristi Harrison is way better on Twitter and Tumblr than on Pinterest. Don't even bother looking her up on Pinterest. You don't want to know.

Check out more from Kristi in 7 Classic Kid's TV Shows Clearly Conceived on (Bad) Acid and 7 Hilariously Failed Attempts at Politically Correct Toys.

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