It’s Slime. And It’s Satisfying.


SURFACING

The web has change into synonymous with stress itself. Is slime, that substance between liquid and strong, an antidote?

Park started making slime several years ago after dipping into the satisfaction internet, seeing slime videos on Instagram and thinking, “I want to touch it so bad.” Back then the internet was not crawling with shops and do-it-yourself tutorials, as it is now, so she experimented in making her own. At first she was disappointed — her attempts were too hard, too flubby, too watery or sticky — but now she is among the internet’s most skilled slimers. Park ships 400 to 500 tubs of slime a week out of her one-bedroom apartment in Weehawken, N.J. Her husband quit his job to help her slime full-time. Park’s parents are supported by the enterprise.

In the converted bedroom — their bed sits in the living room — Park mixes huge batches of slime bases in a commercial-grade standing mixer. Her husband Sungyeop Jo is, among other things, the muscle of the outfit; the large batches require significant upper-body strength. The bases will keep for about two days before they begin to de-slime. Park separates the bases into smaller tubs and fine-tunes each with its own sublime texture, soothing pastel dye, and mixed-in miniature charms shaped like coffee beans, sprinkles, tiny whales or unicorn horns. She adds essential oils, too. The scent is “very important,” Park said. If it doesn’t meld with the visual impression, “It can throw the whole slime off.”

Though slime can be a lucrative business, it is also a site of pure play. It has bloomed into a symbol of modern childhood, and in particular, girlhood. Park has fans of all ages, but her core audience is elementary and middle-school kids, many of whom are drawn to slime for its relaxing properties. Perhaps slime’s mock-dessert qualities are particularly appealing to children, who are constantly confronted with desserts they usually can’t eat and definitely can’t hold in their hands. Slime offers the experience of being able to play with your food — to squeeze a perfect soft-serve swirl of ice cream in your fist and then twist it back into shape.

For Anaiya Shirodkar and Lily Lokoff, two rising sixth-grade girls in Philadelphia who mix up batches of the stuff in their parents’ kitchens as a hobby, slime represents the collision of classic D.I.Y. creativity and YouTube-molded kid culture. Algorithms serve up videos that offer new slime recipes to try and games to play. Those can take the form of recreations of filmed YouTuber “challenges,” like, try to make slime with a blindfold over your eyes.

But it also just feels good. When I asked Anaiya and Lily how they would describe the sensation of slime, both replied: “Satisfying.”

It is probably not a coincidence that slime has risen just as we have come to define ourselves by our anxieties, our food issues, and our efforts to fend it all off with practices of self-care. The internet can replicate and exacerbate these stressors, but slime can work in the opposite way, as a kind of timeline cleanse. The word “satisfy” comes from the Old French satisfaire, which meant to repay or make reparations. Perhaps that is what slime is: the internet’s atonement for everything else.



Source link Nytimes.com

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