By Annie Barrett
Updated August 03, 2020 at 05:17 PM EDT

Welcome to ‘What Is Your Damage,’ Annie Barrett’s summer shop of all the melodrama and self-absorption she misses from springtime reality TV. Every Tuesday and Friday, she’ll rant about a current offense to her humanity, then assess readers’ damages via video replies (see page two). Don’t be shy about admitting what annoys or intrigues you. We’re all in this pop cult together!

What is your damage, Justin Bieber? How dare you grow up, ditch the wind-blasted bangs, and turn into The Lady of Shellac?

Forgive me for piling on, Justin Boyfriend, but you are everywhere. Songs from your album Believe (out June 19) are leaking every two minutes. NBC’s airing an hour-long documentary called Justin Bieber Believe: All Around the World on June 21. I cannot escape you.

Guess where it’s hardest (to escape you)? IN BED. That’s what I said.

Yep — I have this terrible habit of allowing unwanted earworms to dominate my bed head, morning and night. The last one was “Sing, Sweet Nightingale” from Cinderella, which is embarrassing and inexplicable enough. Now it’s your slinky-slutty rooftop car show song, “Boyfriend,” which I hate myself for loving. I didn’t know it was yours until I’d heard it a few times on the radio and had already decided it was my new sexy gentleman, everything I wanted. “That’s Justin Bieber,” someone informed me. The horror!

I know why this happened. It’s not you. It’s that Timberlake-y Auto-Tuned howling on every other beat. That’s genius. It sounds like the latter half of an ambulance siren — maybe the same one that will come retrieve me when I eventually snap. I can’t get enough of that s—! Never have, never will. It’s pounding through me right now and I’m still not sick of it.

But whatever, it is you, Justin Bieber, and I’m having trouble dealing. You are making me feel like a cougar against my will and I am sick of it! We are both too young for this. Well, you, definitely. You’re 12, right?

Even though I hate you for this, I want you to know that every time I hear you sing Chillin’ by the fire while we eatin’ fondue — whether on the radio or in my head — it really ignites the flames of my passion somewhere deep inside, because chillin’ by the fire while we eatin’ fondue is ALL I HAVE EVER WANTED TO DO with a boyfriend. If you took everything I wanted out of love and lust and life and encapsulated it into a truth nugget, it would be a hunk of meat, smothered in hot cheese and engulfed on all sides by the promise of coziness. How did you know, Justin Bieber? Should we be boyfriend and girlfriend?

That’s another thing. Because you are so small and pretty and I am more or less a giant ogre, whenever I sing “Boyfriend” in my apartment, which is often because you are ruining my life, I end up assuming the role of the singer, a.k.a. you, a.k.a. the boy. Girlfriend, girlfriend, you could be my girlfriend, Justin Bieber. Are you beginning to see why this is a problem?

What is your damage?

Somewhat related: The fact that you continue to “hang” pants from your waistline yet not technically “wear” them both confounds and terrifies me.



What are you DOING? This pants thing I will never get. Is this cute? Is it sexy? You’re like a baby wearing grandpa’s trousers. Please decide whether you’re a baby or a grandpa — so that I don’t have to feel so gross about finding a teenager sexy — and then just walk around in your underwear already.


I think I preferred your era of innocence, all those decades ago back in 2010, when you were cheesy and cute and my approach towards you was one of mild disdain and willful ignorance. This fun, sexy time for you is just too much for me.

NEXT PAGE: My video replies to YOUR damages!

Click on the text prompts in the video player below. Reader Damages for June 12, 2012: I’ve ranked the following atrocities, submitted by readers this week, on a scale of 1 (harmless) to 10 (Heather Chandler).

–People who act like they’ve never seen Madonna’s nipple before


–“the save” on American Idol

–“the Dance Duel” on Dancing With the Stars

Fifty Shades of Grey

–Miley Cyrus

–Teresa Giudice


–the Kardashian takeover on E!

–Peta Murgatroyd and Maksim Chmerkovskiy as a couple

What is your damage? What is with you today? What’s with today, today? Let me know what’s annoying you by sending me a “question” in the video box. Start with “From [your name, or a code name if it’s too embarrassing to be seen with me]” so I can address you properly). You can also tweet and/or e-mail me your damages. Do not mail me your damages. I do not believe in paper.

Thanks for playing along, and I’ll see you Friday!

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