Tuesday, December 22, 2015

The Top Ten Most Viewed Stranger Posts of 2015

As the year starts to come to a close, I decided to bring you another year in review. I went through Stranger's posts of 2015 and picked out the top ten posts most viewed by you. There were some surprises. And it was definitely interesting to look through. And you guys. I know. The year isn't over yet. But I'm just going to post this because I don't have any intention of writing anything good between now and December 31.


This has been an awesome year at Stranger. I think it's been our most fun year. Sometimes I think that I've gotten very used to the idea that there is this mass of Strangers that read what I write. But every once in a while it hits me how strange this all is. I'll be in a crowded and silent elevator with someone creepily looking at me from the opposite corner. And I always start to wonder if something is on my face. And then they'll finally say something about how good my hair looks or they'll ask how Trixy is doing or they'll ask me if I'm Eli and "how much do you exaggerate on Stranger?"

And it catches me off guard every single time. And I walk away thinking about how weird it is that after four years of this, that experience has never felt normal. Then I wonder if my hair really does look good or if people are just saying that now because it's become such a joke and maybe I should shave it all off and donate it to the Balding Cats Foundation.

But, truly, thank you so much for your kindness, thoughtfulness, and humor. Thank you for helping our Stranger community grow, and grow in a meaningful way. And thank you for sticking around.

Before I get to our top ten posts, here are some stats about 2015:

Most complained about Stranger topic: Tami

Number of times Eli's sexual orientation was argued about in the comments: 17

Number of times Rebecca told me not to write about something she did: 265

Number of times I wrote about something Rebecca asked me not to write about: 2

Number of times Jolyn answered my phone and pretended to be a very sexy version of me: 31

Cutest puppy: MR. OLLIE PANTS!

Number of pictures of chickens emailed to me: Infinite.

And now:

The Top Ten Most Viewed Stranger Posts of 2015

10. Generation Gap (near tie):

I wrote to you about the surprises that come from suddenly living with someone who is nearly a decade younger than you. You responded, masterfully, with comments about what things were like back in your day.

10. Texting Etiquette (near tie):

Rebecca teaches us many things. For example, she taught us how to DRIVE SOMEONE CRAZY via text messages.

9. A Girl with Pigtails:

It's the most raw thing I wrote in 2015. A controversial topic, and an experience I have thought about at least weekly for the decade-plus since I witnessed it as a naive 20-year-old kid living in Ukraine. Some people were angry about this post, saying it was manipulative or short-sighted. But I don't regret my attempt to encourage anyone within earshot to remember humanity amid the inhumanity. And I would write it again in a heartbeat.

8. We Are All Family:

This is the most fun I had with you this year. Swingwise set up a group through Family Search and hundreds of you joined it in order to establish, once and for all, that we are all cousins. I'm still waiting for the Suzzzzzzzzzz to plan that family reunion.

7. Jurassic World: Is America Getting Dumber: 

I warned you about the worst movie of 2015 in this recap. Stranger Meg Morley said it best: "Our theater applauded when the movie ended and I wept for humanity and the standards we once had."

6. Ironman Boulder, 2015:

I think it's my favorite thing I wrote this year, and one of my favorite things I've ever written for Stranger. You followed along, graciously, as I spent several years attempting to accomplish one big goal. It took me until the bitter end to learn the lessons I think most of you knew all along. I can never thank you enough for your encouragement and kindness as you shared that journey with me, one that had a surprising and happy ending.

5. The Ten Most Annoying Instagram Posts:

I gave you a list of Instagram's worst offenses, including examples. Also, NUDITY.

4. A Kentucky Clerk:

Again with the controversial topics. I wrote about my epiphany as I watched the marriage license battle play out. You all engaged in a meaningful and productive conversation that reminded me once again of the incredible maturity and value of our little Stranger community.

3. Man on a Corner:

It was an anecdote, really without an agenda. I had been struggling internally for some time with how to think about and approach the homelessness problem, often, shamefully, choosing to ignore it rather than be uncomfortable. This simple experience opened my eyes this year and impacted me significantly, insomuch that it actually changed my actions.

2. Disneyland Emails:

June Snapple emailed Disneyland, seeking help for her dream fairy tale wedding. Disneyland tried to be helpful, but ultimately couldn't accommodate the number of cats June was trying to bring into the Park. Just as well. Most of the cats hate roller coasters anyway.

1. The 25 Unspoken Rules of Tinder:

And, finally, the most viewed Stranger post of 2015. This one apparently resonated with you. Quite a bit, even. This post had nearly double the views of its closest competition. I guess this means we are all just lonely wanderers, looking for love.

And that's it. Merry Christmas, all. Feel free to share your thoughts below of your experience with Stranger and Strangers this year.

~It Just Gets Stranger


  1. OK the family reunion will be at Eli's house at 7am on January 1st, if you are a 10th cousin please bring a salad, if you are an 11th cousin please bring a beverage, if you are a 12th cousin please bring a dessert, if you are a 13th cousin please bring plastic utensils, if you are a 14th cousin please bring paper plates and garbage bags, if you are a 15th cousin you are in charge of entertain...so basically you are bringing the funk. Everybody synchronize your watches!

    1. EntertainMENT, damn brain was moving faster than my fingers.

    2. I still haven't found the family I'm ACTUALLY related to, even with Swingwise's help (and that is SERIOUSLY one helpful Stranger!), so I don't yet know if I'm an eleventy-billionth cousin or what! Also, there's no way I'd make it out to SLC by the first.

      But all of the rest of you, PICTURES/VIDEOS or it didn't happen! I'm counting on Lee and The Suzzzzzzzz and Awesomesauciness and Swingwise to make the First Annual Stranger Family Reunion the most Elitastic Event that I'll hate myself forever for missing!

    3. 47th cousin, 12 times removed...don't see my name on the list, so I'll just bring the cats. All elebenty-hunnert of them.

    4. Well now we have to assign someone to bring sweaters for the cats because it's cold here in January. Raise of hands, who has elebenty hunnert cat sweaters you could bring? Anyone? Ferris? Ferris?

    5. I have about three hunnert scarves...if we wrap π cats in each scarf, we might just have enough. I'll still bring a salad too. But it's gonna be jello with carrots, just warning.

    6. As a 7th cousin once removed I will take the responsibility of knitting the cat sweaters. It's going to be tight with a January 1st deadline but I might be able to finish some earmuffs and cat booties for them too.

    7. The mention of Jell-O with carrots made me think of this article: http://www.seriouseats.com/2015/08/history-of-jell-o-salad.html
      I really had no idea gelatin could be so versatile, savory or sweet!

    8. I say again, PICTURES/VIDEOS or it didn't happen! I want to attend vicariously, and then Eli needs to regale everyone with how amazing it was, the next time he's on (at) The Porch!

  2. New years is creeping earlier every year! I refuse to get sentimental until after Christmas.

  3. Love this list of all the posts. I didn't even realize these were written within this past year, and I read your blog religiously (but only after reading my scriptures first because #priorities) Maybe one day you ought to put your favorite / most read posts into an essayist book, complete with a slideshow of Tami and Mr. Ollie Pants. HONY did it, why can't you? :)

    Chaun from www.hiccupsandpastries.com

  4. I love that you do this list each year! It's such a fun recap. My favorites this year that weren't included on the list were the one about the guy heckling the gay couple in the parking lot and the emails with that guy who wanted to tickle someone. My family printed that one out and read it over dinner and had water coming out of our noses.

  5. Hey, Eli! Since when do you moderate your comment threads? Did you suddenly, in the final, waning days of 2015, acquire a STALKER? How cool is that?

    1. I don't think so. But a guy can dream. I'm combating the never-ending struggle with spam comments and I've convinced myself this may be an easier way to deal with them on the blogger format. It's a trial period. I may go back to the old way if this proves to be more annoying.

    2. I don't have any moderation on my blog because I have yet to encounter spammy stuff (I'm just not popular enough yet, and I'm okay with that. Really. Feelings not hurt at all. Really. Okay, whatever; I like that I don't have to moderate). I remember when you had the "prove you're not a robot" captcha code dealio, and while it was a teensy bit annoying on this end, I think I prefer it to you having to moderate (if it did the trick to weed out the spam), simply because if I know that MY comments go live immediately, then I also won't be missing out on comments from the other Strangers that I've come to love. Keep us posted! :)

      Oh, and Happy New Year, in case I don't see you again until Friday.