Friday, May 28, 2010
Guest Blogger: How could this have NOT grown into this? or what's a hipster, and why were some of us destined to be one
On Hipsterdom: What It Is, Why It Exists, and Why I Can't Help But Be One
by Zachary Wilson
"Hipster" is a term I once despised. Everything about it: the word, the people, the god damn irony. But as I've been growing younger over this last half year, I've started to embrace my own hipsterdom, and I've started looking for it in others who surround me.
There's almost no way the creative subclass of our generation that has become Hipsters could have avoided it. Everything we subconsciously stand for—embracing the classics, paying tribute to the past, irony in all forms, taking life too seriously in a completely non-serious way (or is it the other way around?), free ideas, a taking-over-the-world attitude—was instilled in us from birth. Here, I'll use myself as a typical 20-something American hipster and you'll see what I mean.
Growing up, I was in the gifted program at school, which told me I was better than "average" and grouped me with other "above-average" kids like myself. I was encouraged, both at home and at school, to try everything that interested me and to always strive for to be creative. My parents, classic baby boomers, grew up with disconnected parents who had survived World War II, and they wanted to be the opposite: embracing, nurturing, loving, encouraging. As such, they always welcome me home, they understand that I have dreams unlike their own, that I'm restless, and they encourage me to pursue everything I can. They always told me I could be anything I wanted if I set my mind to it, and I still think that now. Which explains why I hate holding a job more than six months, why I hate going into an office, having a boss to be responsible to, sticking to a schedule. If it doesn't "feel" right to me, it must not be right, and according to my parents it's my birthright to be happy at all times.
I grew up on the Spice Girls, on Britney Spears, on the Power Rangers, the Ninja Turtles, on Ren & Stimpy and Rocko's Modern Life, Pete and Pete, Clarissa Explains It All. Every single one of these things is completely ironic, so how can I not be? They shaped my sense of humor. I love paying homage to the past, where authentic art and music still reined, because when I was at my most impressionable age, the "realest" thing around was Jimmy Eat World. And where my parents want everything new—a brand new house, a brand new car, brand new clothes—I need authenticity. I want vintage. I want to live in a "real" neighborhood in a "real" building, not a brand new high-rise in the middle of Times Square. (However, I do want my "authentic" place to have a nice shower, good plumbing, AC, a dishwasher, etc.—you know, the little things.)
Hipsters are stuck in this weird in-between world—we're used to the comforts of the American Dream, but we want to carve our own anti-American Dream, which in turn is just another version of the classic American Dream. It's not the freezer meals and suburban subdivisions of our childhood, but it's organic vegetables grown in our gardens out back and houses with what we call "character," which is more of a feeling than a look.
We want to feel this connection to the past, but in the Internet age what we're really feeling is the connection to each other. We're more socially active than anyone has every been—who goes more than half an hour without chatting, Facebooking, or texting a friend when their not asleep? We need to feel like we're right there, connected to everything. Want the past? Pull up Patti Smith on your iPod. Need comfort? Tweet at a friend. We don't like being alone, and we never have to be.
We don't just drive on the Information Superhighway, we built our house on it. (Actually, we bought an old house and renovated it, but same difference.) We have the ability to be obsessed with and completely consumed by something one week, then on to the next thing the next week. As such, we're mini-experts on everything and actual experts on nothing, filled with random bits of trivia that we're sure one day will add up to a way to make money.
We're the first generation expected to make less money than our parents, and the first expected to live shorter lives. We lack the loyalty that our parents had to one company. We don't respect the corporate ladder, we don't respect bosses because we often think they're "below us" intellectually. But we do respect creative thought, and when we recognize someone as impressive, as a role model or hero, we're with them for life.
We're extremely self-aware. We analyze every action, every feeling, every thought. Want to be a writer? Get a blog. A photographer? Get a camera. Want to be an actor? Put something on. We reject the traditional methods and pathways of creation because we were taught that we can just do it ourselves.
Americans today consume more than ever and create more than ever. But how much of it is valuable? Not much. And that's the main problem with our generation. Technology makes it easier to create than it's ever been, but it also makes it so much easier to just be a lazy consumer. It's easy to get jaded, to not think, to just live day-to-day.
But we're capable of so much more than that. We have access, we have information, we have technology, we have a weird worldliness; but most importantly, we have each other. We are each others' greatest resources, greatest sources of creativity and inspiration, of collaboration. It's so difficult to break down the barriers and get to know someone new—we all grew up thinking we're the greatest thing that's ever lived—but once we do, we find something incredible and unique not only in each other, but in the connection between us.
And in the end, that's what hipsterdom is about. It's connected creativity. Connection to each other; to the past, the future; to our heroes, our icons, our parents; to art and expression in all forms. Yeah, we're annoying, pretentious, pretty ridiculous. But we know this about ourselves and we embrace it.
So should you. Because there have been creative classes called hippies and beatniks, there have been movements called Grunge and Rock 'n' Roll. Now there's us, Hipsters, and over the next decade we will determine how the cultural 20-teens will be defined.
It's a big—no, epic (one of our favorite words)—responsibility. But our moms and dads tell us we can be awesome at anything anything. And we intend to be.
Thursday, May 27, 2010
My query to the female side was a quick gchat survey of 10 random friends who happened to be online. I just said, "hey, what do you do differently to a guy when you really like him?" No examples, no qualifications. Just a one-line question. These are the 10 one lines I got back:
- I try really hard not to scare him away.
- I touch his arm a lot. It's so weird! I'll just immediately start touching his arm!
- Talk less
- I think I laugh at his jokes way too much even if they aren't funny
- I try not to, but I end up suggesting a lot of plans we should do together
- I say I like something he's wearing almost every time I see him, but what I really mean it I like your body
- Try not to seem desperate
- Listen to what he says really closely and then bring it up later so he knows I'm paying attention
- I ask a lot of questions about his family. It's just a gut reaction, but that's how I know I like a guy.
- Try really hard not to get wasted in front of him
I don't think I need to point out that 6 of the 10 answers are things these women try not to do - talk less, don't scare him, curb the alcohol intake.
In fairness, I didn't specifically say, "what are nice things you do differently for a guy when you know you like him?" If I had I'd probably have gotten more answers like #'s 6 or 8. But I think it's insanely telling that these responses were based on a loose question. These girls heard, "what do you differently when you like a guy?" and they answered honestly.
To sum it up - I try to keep myself in check so I don't scare the shit out of him.
There's a lot to evaluate around these answers, and those of the guys, so we'll tackle that tomorrow. For today, I'm dying to know - from the ladies - if you read this list and said, "yep - sounds about right" or if you read it and said, "wow - that's a sad bunch of 10 people..."
What do you do differently when you know you really like a guy? And even though I've revealed the true meaning of the question - what would your insta gchat response have been?
Wednesday, May 26, 2010
- Invite her to something as opposed to meeting up
- Call vs text, and for purposes other than strategy to get laid
- "Well. In general she'll just be on my mind more. I'll start to think about little things I can get for her that I know she likes. I've definitely gotten cards - like playful flirting cards, not serious - for girls in the past and it has both paid off and also backfired. But in general I'll think about things like that. Like if a girl tells me she loves some kind of beer or candy or whatever, or if she collects figurines of cows or needs new headphones for her ipod, or any other (random or not so random) example, I'll try to get her something related to that.
- Remember things she says.
- I purposefully bring up stuff I know about her to prove I've been listening
- Take her to more date ish places
- I like to recap the time we spent together and think about all the ways I made her smile or laugh. Then I focus on what it was that made her feel that way and amplify it even more the next time around. I also love to learn, so if there is a subject shes into that I don't know well, I will brush up on things she mentioned and ask her more about it next time. It gives her something to get excited about and I learn something in the process. Oh, and I offer her fine wine and a chance to browse through my library filled with many leather bound books.
- I'll find myself texting her immediately after something big happens to me, good or bad.
- I'll do a little digging into a food or neighborhood or something she really likes and then plan a date around that
- I'll invite her out to meet some of my friends and be really good about introducing her around and making sure she has background on people.
- I wish I didn't do this, but I'll start asking her about other guys a lot. Guys she works with. Guys she's friends with. Guys she just strikes up a conversation with at a bar. I believe the term is, jealous?
- I'll find out her favorite foods and cook her dinner.
Monday, May 24, 2010
- Dunkin Donuts? But we have coffee here.
- I know, but I really want a cinnamon coffee
- We have cinnamon. Just put it in the coffee maker, and you'll have cinnamon coffee.
- I know but it tastes different at Dunkin Donuts.
- How different could it taste?
- I don't know! Just different!
- Well I don't know why you'd want to spend $2.50 for something you can have here for free...
- I know. It's foolish. I'm foolish, but I want it, so can I take the car?
- Sure, whatever you want.
- Hhmm, maybe I'll come.
- Why? Do you want a coffee too? I'll just get you one.
- No, but I wanted to go to Foodtown to get some snacks for the LOST finale tonight.
- But I'm going to Dunkin Donuts.
- Foodtown is on the way back.
- What is the big deal?
- I just wanted to go to the Dunkin Donuts and get a coffee! I don't have time to go to Foodtown and shop for LOST snacks.
- Geeez - fine - I'll take a separate car to Foodtown and shop for snacks for you to enjoy tonight, but you know gas money doesn't grow on trees.
Friday, May 21, 2010
Yesterday morning I almost threw up all over myself (and my boss) at a packed event - and a mustard yellow spectator mary jane with a 5 inch wooden heel in not the kind of shoe you want to be running in, vomit-covered.
My near-reputation-ending scene stems from the fact that there are three things that can happen on tv (or in a film slash webseries and obvs therefore in real life) that freak me out to the point of near-vom.
- Suspenseful gun action – not like a police shoot out where we know dozens of cops have guns and will use them. I’m talking long, quiet, drawn-out scenes where a gunman is pursuing some innocent and unknowing victim in some terrifying place like a basement, or Seattle Grace Hospital (still shaking). My palms get sweaty, my stomach feels like I just relented to going on Tower of Terror, and then I do this (I think) very clever move where I point my head in the direction of the TV but am actually looking in a totally different direction. All but one guy has fallen for this. I stopped seeing him immediately
- That moment in a surgery where they first cut into the skin –A. eew and B. if they’re showing it it’s probably because something even more eew is underneath the surface of the skin. I literally close my eyes, five-year-old style, with the one fingers slightly separated so I can peak out incase, I don’t know, I grow the hell up between the time the scene begins and ends?
- any scene in which someone who has secretly loved someone for an extended period of time confesses that love - like one person has been harboring a secret crush on another person for years and finally for whatever reason slash drug cocktail decides to come clean. Examples include when Julie Roberts confessed her love to Dermott Mulroney in My Best Friends Wedding. I just go fetal position.
Yesterday the CW previewed their new reality series Plain Jane at the upfront. There I was in the aforementioned yellow heels enjoying montages from the best looking shows in television history and texting everyone I knew would freak about the surprise Katy Perry performance (so, Brian) when this horror show pops upon the big screen.
Synopsis: a painfully perfect British brunette named Louise or Eloise or Beatrice or whatever helps your average teenaged plain jane gain the style, confidence, and eyes brows to finally confess that she’s totally in love with her male best friend, to him.
In theory this is a show about a girl who gets days worth of coaching on how to love herself and wear clothes that fit. In reality this is a show about a girl who spends a week preparing for what could be the most devastating five seconds of her life. I’d like to recommend they cut the wardrobe, confidence coaching and hair budget and just buy that poor girl a bottle of vodka.
You know, first we mar sixteen above average Americans on an Island and make them survive while wearing a dumb-colored lycra tube. Then we put obese people in spandex and weight them on national television. And last year we created a rubberized obstacle course, dropped it into a mud pit and laughed our asses off as people careened off it in three to five seconds. But this, this is crossing a line.
When, during the first few seconds of the show Perfect Spice says to our Anna-Hathaway-in-Princess-Dairies, “and I undah-staand there’s a supah special gent in your life who you’ve been meaning to tell something quite special” I thought, “ABORT MISSION ANNE-A-LIKE, ABORT!!” Then the make-over happens and it’s, “whaaat d’ ya think he’s going to say when he sees ya’ t’night?” and I’m all, “TAKE THOSE EXPENSIVE TWEEZERS AND RUN GIRL!” And when the moment finally came for the She’s All That reveal and our de-frizzed jane entered in heels-she-couldn’t-walk-in to stand before her maybe-man while Keira-Knightly-with-a-rack stood in the corner giggling, “she’s doing it! She’s about to bloody do it!” to the camera man slash criminal I thought, “OHMYGOD ISTHISREALLYHAPPENING?! ONTELEVISION?! RIGHTNOW!! MYGODMAKEITSTOP!! OOOHHH MAKE IT STOP!! THISISN’TRIGHT,THISISN’TFAIR, SHE’S JUST A BAAABY!!!
Except I have a problem with thinking things silently to myself...
Listen, do I think that if you’re that girl you should tell that guy how you feel? Yes, in theory. I recommend e-mails and or not-national-television, but to each her own. Do I want to tune in to watch someone do that week after week? No. Owing to a bizarre set of nerves rooted in, you-guessed-it, some delightful person history, I’d prefer a man holding a surgeon to gun-point and demanding she make the first cut.
But will I watch this show? Hell yes. Fetal position with one hand over my eyes and the other grasping my cup o' vodka as I scream at that British bitch and her evil team of potential life-ruiners.
Plain Jane premieres sometime this summer. I'll keep you posted.
Wednesday, May 19, 2010
"Lemme get your take on something," one male friend said as we ascended the subway on 23rd street after grabbing some sandwiches and sunburn at the Boat Basin. "I've experienced this situation a few times recently with a few different girls I've gone out with."
Tuesday, May 18, 2010
- Erica: Can you get drinks Thursday night?
- Me: Not really... it's sort of hard for me to stay in the city after work now.
- Erica: Um...why?
- Me: Right, so there's something I need to tell you.
Monday, May 17, 2010
- Some guys really lead girls on.
- There is a way to delicately not hook-up with someone you have absolutely no interest in what-so-ever
- Some girls are really crazy and make that impossible
- Inviting yourself to stay with someone is different than being invited to stay with someone
- Alcohol is the villain in all stories of this nature
- "I mean, he talked to me for awhile at the bar, and we had this awesome conversation"
- "He invited me to follow he and his friends to the next bar"
- "He told me he was going to crash at his friend's place and when I said I was going to come too he said that was ok"
- "He made out with me"
- "Yes, we talked for awhile at a bar about a topic that interests me"
- "I didn't invite her, but I didn't tell her she couldn't come"
- "When she said, 'okay then I'm coming with you because it's too late to go home,' what was I supposed to say?!
- "Honestly, it was easier to just make out with her a little."
- Wingmen and women exist to prevent us from leading ourselves on. Get one, and use them. And if you are one, don't lie
- There is undeniable attention from the opposite sex and there is questionable attention from the opposite sex. Know the difference. And then decide your own threshold for guessing wrong. Mine is zero, but in defense of people who takes chances, I'm single...
- 80% of embarrassing mistakes happen because of drunk tunnel vision. This is bad because it happens, but good because you have something to blame
- And finally - there are two sides to every single story, and sometimes even the nicest guys make out with you a little because it's easier than letting you down awkwardly. I know, but chances are you'd done it too...
Thursday, May 13, 2010
It's not often that I write a piece offering an honest glimpse into a personal struggle that's void of both sarcasm and issues involving "men" - but this most recent Lemondrop piece is just that. A little window into my own self-help solution to getting out of a major life rut. Though, according to my Mom, she invented this..
Wednesday, May 12, 2010
Listen, facts are facts and fact is you don't have time to be friends with everyone. There's TV to watch and cocktails to drink and second careers to plan. I know someone who commits upwards of an hour a week to a full check of her 767 Facebook friends so she can send as many "keep in touch" messages as possible. That is outrageous.
- a photographer friend: you want to feel better about yourself as often as possible? have an amazing photographer take some black & white action shots of you and your friends doing any number of ridiculous things. You'll say things like, "wow, we're amazing, we look amazing, my god we're having so much fun." Is it 100% true? Who cares! It looks true in your Facebook album. Also, photographer friends make for a source of excellent and very personal gifts for every occasion. Mine in the incomparable Jenny Anderson. You can't have her but you can buy any and all of her art for a very reasonable price.
- an accountant friend: You know what is just terrible? Turbotax. Accountant friends are like living/breathing Turbotax except you don't have to remember any confusing passwords and also they have lots of other human value beyond computation skills. We're young so we don't know just how much we need our accountant friends but trust me, they will be excellent to have in the bag once we start buying real estate.
- a lawyer/doctor friend: these are grouped together because they are of equal value. Doctor's appointments and lawyers fees are incredibly expensive making having a doctor or lawyer friend much like having a friend who works for a fashion label/closet/magazine. Free, expensive stuff + advice.
- a friend who works for a fashion label/closet/magazine. See above.
- a really handy friend - we of the never-did-anything-for-ourselves generation take for granted the importance of, say, wallpapering a room, laying tile, or hanging a door. These needs are real, and real expensive if you don't have someone who can teach-a-man-to-fish-you for free. I don't personally have one of this type of friend, but I'm happy to consider anyone who'd like to apply.
- a chef and/or just really good cook friend - there is nothing more fantastic than attending the dinner party of someone who really knows what they're doing in the kitchen. That's all really, but shouldn't be undervalued.
- a friend who knows wine - See, most people who know wine really well are assholes, so if you have a friend who really knows wine you could go to them instead of having to deal with some asshole sommelier. Or if your friend is some asshole sommelier you're probably more tolerant of them as you're already friends.
- a friend who knows what to do with babies - there may come a time when you find yourself with a baby and no knowledge of what to do. In this case it's really excellent to have a baby-expert in your arsenal. This can/should probably be your Mother which wouldn't count against your five closest friends, so if you've placed yourself in close enough proximity to yours, bravo you've save a friend slot.
- a graphic artist friend - it's amazing how many times you find yourself needing an original logo for some project within 24 hours, right?! A graphic artist friend can really be a coup in these circumstances and/or whenever you need to photoshop one person's body onto another person's head. Mine is Mr. Zachary Wilson (who also boasts impressive copy-writing skills to boot). Again, he's not for sharing, but he is for sale.
- a really annoying friend you just can't seem to shake - what would the Seinfield 4 be without George? Probably all annoyed with each other. There's something to be said for having a friend that the whole group is against. Hate to admit, but doesn't it seem true?...
Tuesday, May 11, 2010
Monday, May 10, 2010
Katie - our Kellogg School of Management girl - responded immediately:
"You all have no idea just how completely true this is..."
The infamous MRS degree - a decades-old joke that the most valuable thing a girl can get out of a college degree is a ring. This Single Ladies mock from some Columbia Business School (CBS) ladies takes it one step further saying that if you don't complete that "degree" in undergrad, give it a second try in B-school - a jackpot of husbands.
It's funny because it's true - there's a total sense of "who's still available" among the grad school set, but the bigger question is was college (under or grad) the last, best-case scenario to find the right guy? Never again will we be surrounded by so many like-aged, like-minded, like goal-oriented peers. Never again will we have tons of free time, organized social events, and themed reasons to act like idiots. Never again will we have so many occasions to wear a name tag...
I have no (legitimate) reason to go to grad school, so I'm disqualified from the conversation, but you've got to wonder how many girls out there hemming and hawing about the decision to apply add, "could find husband" to the pros column of their "should I?" list. Are they shallow? Are they foolish? Are they sexist? Or are they just right?...
Bravo to these three who pulled back the curtain, in black leotards with these ridonc lyrics:
Friday, May 7, 2010
Friday, April 23rd I moved seven of twelve bags and boxes from the garage to the bedroom I'll now inhabit and then stared at them for a few hours contemplating unpacking. Sometime around 7pm I figured out how to open just enough bags and boxes to assemble my clothing, shoe, accessory and bag needs for a week in LA. 25 or so of those minutes were spent trying to locate the purple suede peep toe wedges I needed for three of my five dressy outfit options, but then I remembered we took photos of my shoe-packing process so I went to the tape and there they were in bag two of three (that was a good idea Geanna).
Saturday, April 24th at 7am I flew to LA for a week of work with some vacation in the mix.
- LA friend: "So where do you live?"
- Me: "Well, actually, I moved home to New Jersey recently.
- LA friend: "Oh wow, when?"
- Me: "Yesterday."
So my first real day as prodigal daughter wasn't until Sunday, May 2nd when I flew back from LA and drove south not north in the Skyline town car.
- Driver: "You go where?"
- Me: "Freehold, New Jersey."
- Driver: "Oh, whoa - I thought Freehold, New York."
- Me: "No sir, there is no Freehold, New York."
I grew up in this bedroom community of 35K situated 60-or-so miles from Manhattan, so it's by no means foreign. After my freshman year of college I commuted in to an internship with a fashion house on 56th Street and for the first six months of my post-grad life I lived home and traveled in to the temp and freelance jobs I had before my first, full-time gig - so the route 139 bus from Freehold Mall is not new to me, nor is the intricate dance that is the morning commute to Manhattan.
But much like what I'm told about childbirth - you never quiiite remember how bad it is until you're going through it again.First of all - it's a bus not a train which means it's subject to traffic. Unpredictable, non-sensicle, makes-you-want-to-tear-your-hair-out traffic. You can, for absolutely no reason at all, sit for 30 minutes inside the Lincoln Tunnel at 8:35 in the morning (Tuesday). Or spend 18, that's right, 18 minutes in the EasyPass line of the Parkway Toll Plaza (Thursday). And if - heaven forbid - moisture falls from the sky in any form at any time, it can take you up to three and half hours to go sixty miles (Monday...).
- Bus Driver: "Listen folks, this isn't gettin' much better, and frankly I'm not gonna make it, so we needa' take-a' pit stop."
- Fellow bus riders: "WHAT?! NO! THAT'S CRAZY?! THAT'S ILLEGAL!! TURN THE DAMN READING LIGHTS ON!!"
So far this week I've gotten home at 9pm, 9:30pm and 10:45pm, but in fairness that's because I'm unwilling to abandon my city life and friends during this money-saving stint. I'm sure that will change with time, as will the amount of nights of spend on friend's couches, but as far as week one goes, my life maintained normalcy; I just slept 50% less hours.
On the very positives side are a few key items:
- My Mom insists upon making my lunch. She makes herself a lunch (and the other two of my three sisters who currently live home), so what's one more delicious chicken and swiss with lettuce, tomato and raspberry dressing wrap? she says. I will never stop feeling guilty about this, but I've relented. Those wraps are damn good.
- Someone picks me up from the bus every night and says, "hi, how was your day?" I imagine this is what being married or having a caring live-in boyfriend is like. Really lovely.
- There is everything I could ever need ever in that house. A pantry stocked with food. A washer and dryer. A closet full of office supplies and arts & crafts. And four sets of female clothing in a range of sizes, shapes and styles. I have yet to unpack a thing and yet I've gone to work clothed every day. On Tuesday I assembled an entire outfit from the clothes Sara's didn't take to London and Wednesday I grabbed some cute top out of the laundry room. I don't know whose that was, but thanks.
This weekend I fully intend to organize my belongings, donate the clothes I no longer need, and get myself officially situated into my new, temporary location. The entire fam is being incredibly gracious about helping me through this process...
- Mom: "Oh...you haven't unpacked anything yet..Ok...I'll help you this weekend. We'll handle it."
- Dad: "Let's take a trip to Sam's Club and get some extra plastic containers for you."
- Alex: "Jess, there's room in the basement for some of your stuff. We can put it there."
..which seemed like just the warm welcome my life-changing deserved from the greatest support system in my life. Until this:
- Me: "So I figure I'll start this week, but I have over a month until Sara comes home from England."
- Dani: "Um, Sara comes home May 22nd."
- Me: "No, June 22nd."
- Dani: "Nope, May 22nd."
- Me: "WHAT?!"
- Dani: "Yeah, that's like two weeks, top."
- Me: "WHAT?!"
- Dani: "Yeah, and she's going to flip a shit if your stuff is all over her room."
- Me: "WHAT?!"
- Dani: "Yeah, like crying style. You need to get that in order"
So. Week one: check (...ish).
Stay-tuned. Wish me luck. And don't worry Sara - it's totally under control.
Thursday, May 6, 2010
Wednesday, May 5, 2010
Tomorrow: An assessment of what it means. For him. For her. For us. That is, if it means anything...
Also - don't shoot the messenger.
------------------------------------------------Late Friday afternoon rolls around, and I'm sitting at work looking out the window, exalting in the burst of relaxation and excitement engendered when one's boss leaves for the weekend. My buoyant mood notwithstanding, I still don't have a plan for the evening, until Jeff texts me. "Andrea is bringing friends to the beergarten." Andrea, for the uninitiated, is Jeff's new woman du jour. She's 24, works at JP Morgan, and is outgoing such that I think she might have friends who are built for speed. I arrive at Jeff’s and after a few beers and a few innings of the Mets beating the Phillies, we head two blocks over to the beergarten.
Andrea is already there, standing near the entrance with a cute friend named Mary. Mary is 5'4", dyed blond hair, suspiciously tan, but still possessing that attractive dirty/slutty/fake-tanned/fake-blond look. It works pretty well for her; she is fit, with a little meat on her bones. And, she is wearing tight clothes that also show off a pretty decent rack. I can work with this. She is outgoing, and a little crass. Fun.
Five minutes into chatting, she mentions that her friend Kevin is coming. Oh shit. Friend Kevin. My night just got a lot worse. I will be playing 5th wheel, and lord knows it could get really ugly fast, since Jeff and Andrea greeted each other with a smile-filled kiss. But then Mary makes a kick-save and a beauty. She says, "why do I feel the need to say my friend Kevin is gay?" I'm sure I did not hide my emotions: my face probably light up like a Christmas tree switching on. From zero to hero. The prodigal son returning home. Pauper to prince. Those were the most beautiful words I could have heard. She's making a point to say she's still available, so I continue chatting with her.
We sit down at one of the long tables, alongside Jeff and Andrea, and Jeff's brother Tom and his friends, and we soon commence some flipcup. In the first round of flipcup, Andrea is struggling. She takes forever to down her beer, and then can't balance the cup on the table. Then, after the round concludes, she's learning back in her seat, such that I'm scared she's going to fall right out of the picnic table. Then, as soon as Jeff asks her if she is okay, she grabs him and starts whispering into his ear. Andrea has a wry smile as she's whispering into his ear, and Jeff ellicts a cheerful response of: "Well....hahaha...okay, let's have a few drinks here then we can go." My guess as to what she said: "Let's go back to your place…."
How did Andrea end up so drunk two beers into the night? I don’t know, but this is not helpful for my chances with Mary. Andrea makes a few trips to the bathroom with Mary, but they don't really improve her situation. She's very drunk and not going to last long. I forget about this potential snafu, and I continue chatting with Mary. I start to make some good progress, discovering we are both English majors, and she even claims to like Robert Frost. She tells me about her work selling insurance for alternative energy projects, and she even suggests we should meet for coffee. A little weird to have a girl ask you out so quickly, but hey, it feels like a good sign. Then, disaster strikes. She gets a call from her roommate, who's having some emotional breakdown. In an instant, I'm giving her a kiss on the cheek goodbye. I left with Mary's business card, a drunk Andrea/Jeff, and Mary's "gay friend" Kevin.
The group leaves the beergarten, and heads to a bar. Jeff/Andrea put forth a valiant effort, and do show up at the bar, but 2 minutes later they are gone. So I'm left solo with Tom and his friends. I haven’t spoken to any of them all night, because they were far down the other end of the table. I don’t even know half of them. I grab a bacardi and diet, and stroll over towards Liz, a friend of Tom's who is a familiar face. She's chatting with a buxom blue-eyed blond girl - Katrina. I pull out my strongest game, because I'm kind of drunk. Let me tally up the drinking thus far...
I had two full 1-liter mugs of beer at the beergarten, and I made sure to pick out the beer with the highest alcohol content. Very Tucker Max of me, I know. Add into that the beer from 10 rounds of flip cup and the couple I had at Jeff's, and, well, yeah, I'm feeling good. This is probably why I went with Bacardi Diet, which is my party drink. It hits you harder than beer, it's got a little caffeine in it too, and it's diet!
So what's my very best game, you ask? My best pick-up/bar move is offering to guess everything about a girl. "Nice to meet you Katrina...wait, don't tell me anything...I'm going to guess where you're from, where you live in the city, and what your job is." This is actually a pretty fun exercise, and girls love it. It's also practical, because it's a natural conversation starter. In the process of hints, clues, and guessing there is a lot of laughing and room for digressions.
Now Liz is going on and on about how she's related to Boss Tweed. It's fairly interesting, but gets boring after a while. Thankfully, the conversation turns to my shirt. Now, I agonized for longer than I'd care to admit about what to wear out yesterday. I ended up choosing a white dress shirt that also doubles as a tuxedo shirt. It's a very sharp looking shirt, it's textured and has french cuffs, so my sleeves were rolled up. Katrina is saying how she loves the texture, and starts rubbing my chest. Liz does the same, and says she wishes her boyfriend would wear shirts like mine. Liz, with her boyfriend watching, is rubbing my shirt more intently than Katrina. Katrina and Liz go to grab drinks, and Adam comes over and jokingly tells me to stop hitting on his girlfriend.
Now's it's decision time. Do I jump in a cab home and give my body some time to digest this alcohol, meaning there is a chance I'll wake up early feeling good on a beautiful Saturday morning? Or do I make a full-court press for Katrina. You guys know me: I'm a whore. I think all women are attractive, and I'll sleep with just about anyone. Of course I went for Katrina. It turns out she is pretty interesting. She was an astronomy major at Barnard, and I impress her with my knowledge about stars, relativity, the history of the universe, and snarkily remark about how I watched the first episode of the new series on Discovery written by Stephen Hawking, but I didn't learn anything new, because I already knew it all. She's picking up what I'm putting down. Things are going well. The group heads to another bar, and I buy a round of drinks. Of course, in that round I bought three shots of Jamo. Why 3? I don't know, but it's always good to have extra. I tell Katrina that one is for Tom, one is for me, and unless she can beat me in rock-scissors-paper, she's taking the third. It's best out of three, and I lose the first two games straight away. I'm like the Oklahoma City Thunder. But you know what? She grabs the shot and downs it anyway. L'Chaim!
The night's winding down and we're outside the bar talking. Everyone's leaving. I work the classic, "let's grab one more drink. We both live on the west side, it's definitely too early to call it a night." So somehow I ask her, "where do you want to go?," which is not the right move, because you need to be assertive and you need to have a plan. Those are key elements in any successful date or any successful attempt at getting laid. She mumbles some nonsense that as best I can remember was: "I'll go anywhere. We could go to a bar...don't really care...would be fine. (Sheepishly) I'll even go to your place now if you want." Wow, talk about making it easy for me. I flag a cab and we're on our way to my apartment.
Now - the thing about sleeping with a random girl for the first time is that the sex is rarely good. Sex is perfected only after you have chemistry with a girl. And, I don't mean you need emotional chemistry. It was pretty good, but not my best performance ever. Immediately after, she says out loud: "That's it? I thought you would have been better."
Ouch. I can't believe she said that. Here I am, abandoned by Jeff, drunk, and then she insults my performance. Wow, what a low. I should have struck back but I demurred, got us both some bottles of water and we drifted off into a drunken sleep. But, not before she warned me that she snores. Endearing.
I wake up, to a beautiful day, with sun beaming in my window and a swath of blue sky visible. I can tell that Katrina is awake, and she wants me to wake up too. She wants me to get up first and move about, so she doesn't have to climb over me and get dressed in front of me. She certainly doesn't want to be the one to break the "morning after silence." I don't really care, I want to sleep more. So I just go back to sleep for 20 minutes without saying a word. Then, I start to feel charitable, and I break the "morning after silence" by saying "good morning." Morning after silences can be really awkward. I was kind of reeling from being insulted last night, so I purposefully let this one drag out for a little bit. Cruel, I know, but then I went to fetch us some waters.
I head to the bathroom first, and looking at myself in the mirror, some self-pity emerges. I look like a complete mess. My hair which once looked really good, courtesy of the Ax messy look paste I applied before going out, now looks horrible, precisely because the combination of sweat, sex, and sleep have mixed with the ax messy-look paste to make my hair look like a bird's nest that's been split in half in a heavy rainstorm. I have a slight hangover, and my eyes are bloodshot and still adjusting to the light of day. Self-pity is growing fast and strong. But, then, I have an ah-ha moment. My inner thoughts shifted to Pacino's speech in Any Given Sunday.
"I don't know what to say really. Three minutes to the biggest battle of our professional lives all comes down to today. Either we heal as a team or we are going to crumble. Inch by inch play by play till we're finished. We are in hell right now, gentlemen believe me and we can stay here and get the shit kicked out of us or we can fight our way back into the light. We can climb out of hell. One inch, at a time."
I decided to climb out of hell, gentlemen. I fought for that inch. I threw on my Motown playlist in the living room, grabbed to bottles of water, and went back into the bedroom ready to fight for some morning sex. I was going back in. Sadly, It was another subpar performance but I shook it off, grabbed my book of Robert Frost poetry and engaged her with that. She seemed to enjoy it, and I read her a few of my favorite poems, and discussed them with her.
Soon enough, she was on her way out the door. To be polite, I asked for her phone number. And she left with the always classic, morning-after-a-one-night-stand euphemism: "Well...it was really great to...meet you last night," she said in a slightly embarrassed tone as I showed her to the door.
Tuesday, May 4, 2010
To diversify the shameless over-promotion, here's a look at the 10 characters who spill their guts, non-traditional monologue style (see it's like they're having a conversation with someone who isn't there) about the ins and outs of hooking up as 20-Nothing city-dwellers.
Andy - Andy dates flakes and can't figure out why. He wants to stop buuut can't figure out how.
Alex - Alex wants help for what she thinks is a major psychological problem. She sleeps around and that doesn't phase her in the slightest.
Anna - Anna is tired of explaining why she's a virigin at age 23, but she'll go through the story one more time if it means saving face in front of this asshole.
Charlie - Charlie didn't think he was the kind of guy who would do a thing like this to a girl like her, but then again, she only knew him for a few hours.
Kate - Kate doesn't have a problem. It's all the guys who don't realize they're in a relationship with her who do.
Patrick - Patrick's issue is simple - he's a gay man who's only attracted to gay men who act like straight men.
Grace - Grace didn't expect to confess what she confesses to her guy best friend, but you can only keep how you feel bottled up for so long before you explode.
Erica - Erica solved a little drunk eating tick with a brilliant drunk make-out habit.
Jake - Jake thought he was doing the right thing by telling the girl it wasn't going anywhere after the hook-up. He was wrong.
Jessie - That's me, and I have a proposition for a very simple way we can all help each other find someone to date.
You can watch preview of all the HUC's on the 20-Nothings youtube channel, but here's a little commercial (shot by the incomparable Zac Wilson) for ease:
What is The Hook-Up Conversations? Think the Vagina Monologues, but of the dating war-stories variety. The Hook-Up Conversations is a collection of 12 monologues about the sometimes hysterical, sometimes heartbreaking issues surrounding dating, hooking up, and breaking up as a 20- or 30-something in Manhattan.
Monday, May 3, 2010
- The New York version - you meet there opening up a series of wild-cards about what may go down open arrival, aaaand departure. There is nothing more awkward than sharing a cab home after a date and deciding whether you're making one stop or two.
- The New York version - I can't comment because I'm too busy trying to re-play 4-year-old conversations in my head...
- The New York version - to put it simply - a first date in New York is just more of a wild card than it is in LA. Maybe you'll be out for a sensible after-work cocktail then call it a night, but maybe the mood will be right and you'll hop from one bar to the next until 2am. You can be more spontaneous in New York because you're not driving, and there are far more bars/restaurants/events per square block.