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Photo by Dino Reichmuth on Unsplash

Our families have been loose acquaintances for, what, several months now? I think it’s long overdue that we all got together and spent a rustic weekend sleeping in the middle of the woods where no one can hear us scream.

There’s nothing quite like leaving the urban rat race behind for the sensation of being completely isolated, vulnerable, and profoundly uncomfortable in the great outdoors. The stars are visible, the air is sweet, and the water is clean once you bring it to a roiling boil and kill those parasites that attach to your intestines with their little grappling hook…


The Californian’s Dilemma

I may have left San Francisco proper, but I still got to stay in the Bay

Illustration of a child running in a fenced-in backyard, the San Francisco skyline visible in the far distance.
Illustration of a child running in a fenced-in backyard, the San Francisco skyline visible in the far distance.
Illustration: Randi Pace

This week in The Bold Italic, we are publishing The Californian’s Dilemma, a series that goes beyond the headlines about the “California Exodus,” featuring essays from San Franciscans about why they’re choosing to stay or leave. Check back daily for new essays.

“Well, your daughter saw two dicks today,” I said to my husband as I carried our two-year-old inside after a brief stroll around the Mission District. Walks were our daily reprieve from the springtime shelter-in-place ordinances, and they had taken a turn toward the graphic. …


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Photo by Jakub Kriz on Unsplash
  1. Inexplicably obsessed with large ships.
  2. Needs to be told, “STOP JUMPING ON THE COUCH!”
  3. Loves taking vitamins and thinks they cure everything.
  4. Disappearances in public are common.
  5. Keeps repeating a nonsensical story about alien overlords and frozen space volcanoes and really needs to cool it for a second so I can hear myself think.
  6. Thinks a billion years is a standard unit of time for humans.
  7. Anyone who doesn’t agree to impossible or unethical schemes is labeled the bad guy.
  8. Needs me to be clear.
  9. Access to media needs to be tightly controlled to shape values and ideologies.
  10. Wants to…


I’m going to casually slather your real estate market on my body like department store lotion samples.

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illustration by Sasha Mills

What’s up, Denver!

I don’t know if it’s the altitude or the weed, but I am so high right now! Oh my God, am I the first person to say that? Feel free to use it. It’s just a little sample of that famous California creativity I brought to Colorado with me in my new Subaru with a roof rack. Consider these quips a hostess gift, which are polite to bring to the cities that we Californians are now swarming like locusts. It’s my way of saying thanks for letting my family come and take little sips and nips from your low-cost-of-living buffet.


Illustration of pink pieces of paper, a passport, a clawfoot tub, a for sale sign, + a red avocado in a tunnel.
Illustration of pink pieces of paper, a passport, a clawfoot tub, a for sale sign, + a red avocado in a tunnel.
Illustration: Nicole Album

A look at what you could get elsewhere for the price of a one-bedroom in SF

The average rent for a one-bedroom apartment in San Francisco is $3,629 a month. In buyer’s terms, that works out to a monthly mortgage payment on a house that costs about $770,000, assuming you have a 20% down payment, which you don’t.

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The Covid-19 pandemic has many of us feeling cooped up and longing for more space. Maybe months of quarantine has you fantasizing about making a big life change. Maybe you’re looking to skip town on a stack of…


Our stoves and fridges are completely out of control

A white oven awkwardly placed in the corner of an otherwise empty room with green vinyl flooring.
A white oven awkwardly placed in the corner of an otherwise empty room with green vinyl flooring.
Photo via Zillow

It’s a fact of Bay Area life that renters must contort and compromise in ways residents of other cities would balk at. Buildings are old, electrical outlets are scarce, and vacancy rates are low. The average rent of a one-bedroom apartment in San Francisco is a whopping $3,629 a month. For that amount of money, is it too much to ask that my kitchen layout be less scrambled than the eggs I’m making for breakfast?

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I like my kitchen appliances…


You wouldn’t even know what to do with me if you had me

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Photo: Tony Anderson/DigitalVision/Getty Images

I never think about you. But you certainly think about me. On those warm, restless nights of summer, marked by furtive glances and sticky fumblings, I consume your every thought. As you trace lines of sweat from your sternum to your navel with trembling fingers, it is my own sunlit caverns you imagine. And at that breathy moment when the pleasure shudders violently from your body, it is my name that crosses your lips in a pleading whisper. I am 400 additional square feet of a Bay Area apartment, and you want me so bad.

Sign up for The Bold…


I’ve waited patiently to tell each of you to fuck off.

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Photo by Giorgio Trovato on Unsplash

Hey Assholes,

I bet you never thought this day would come. There’s a global catastrophe, and you’re bartering pills from your oral surgery for single rolls of toilet paper on Nextdoor. Now that the New York Times has declared the bidet toilet to be the hottest, most in-demand pandemic accessory, the woman one of you artfully called “the queen of anal-retentive eccentricity” is suddenly not looking so eccentric after all…

You may not remember the time you mocked my bidet. You may not even remember me. But I remember each of you, and I’ve waited patiently for ten long years…


Fail fast, fail often, but maybe make fewer mistakes?

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First we meet, then we sync, then we fuse, then we self-cannibalize.

Hey Leslie, I saw that you sent a calendar request for a “meeting.” This is the first time you’ve worked for a fast-paced, data-driven startup that creates bleeding edge products and provides global solutions. So I’m going to let it slide. Let’s set up a sync to touch base, and I’ll go over it with you again more slowly.

I think the team is wondering why you requested a meeting when we’ve all already met. It’s pretty simple, really. First we meet, then we sync, then we fuse, then we self-cannibalize sometime before the end of Q3.

Look, I know…


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“Damn, there are a lot of Brads and Chads here.” I text this to my husband from the lobby of the boutique fitness class I’m about to experience for the third time this week. My phone helpfully suggests an emoji as I type — the national flag of the Republic of Chad, a vertical tricolor of blue, gold, and red. I decided to include it in my message for good measure.

“It looks like France has jaundice,” he replies. I consider whether this is offensive as I watch Chad — indistinguishable from the other affluent white men — crouch to…

Leslie Ylinen

Writer in San Francisco. Work in McSweeney’s, The Bold Italic, Slackjaw, The Belladonna, and Points in Case.

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