oh word? phrases that i hate

 allow me to get a pass on using this nonsense phrase that i hate…
“it is what it is”
zooey unsure

beg your pardon?

i hate it.
i do.
i hate the pervasiveness of it into our culture.
what it is tattoo

indeed.

I hate the fake-zen role the sayer takes on as they say this thing that
makes no sense.
say,
“i’ve got no answer to the dire conclusion that we have come to so
am instead going to make noises with my face
and pretend it is riveting conversation.”
or
“i’ve got no way to actively fix the conclusion that we have come to
so i’m going to reference the fact that i’ve go no way to actively
fix it by not even actively making sense.”
and most of all, I hate the fact that it makes no sense.
 by definition…
a thing..
IS. what. it. IS.
popeye yam what i yam

indeed.

and of course,
what else could it be? as it is by definition impossible to be what it is not?
the fact that it is doing what it is supposed to
and being what it is supposed to be
shouldn’t even be remarkable. 
it is what it is?
thats like saying
“look at that orange over there being an orange”
orange

completely unremarkable

well,
…yeah. of course.

it’s not pithy or even glib or trite.

it’s collective nonsense turned into slang.
(ok, when isn’t collective nonsense not turned into a thing? i’m looking at YOU-
every meme ever.)

condescending wonka

self-depreciating humor! meta!

why is it even a phrase?
it would be something to remark upon if say,
something is what is wasn’t or shouldn’t be.
for example:
“look at that purple orange.”
purple orange

slightly more remarkable.

or
“look at that orange doing graffiti.”
orange head graffiti

you should see his finger tattoos.

that is all, really.

don’t say it around me.
because i’ll hit you.
and when you complain

then i’ll say it.

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do over: I only wore the ugly shoes because you’re short

in my world, there are about three general responses i could have when i run into an Ex in the street.

1.Point and laugh.

2.Vomit.

3.Run.

(sometimes a combo.)

i imagine it is awkward under even the best of circumstances. not that i can really imagine what the best circumstances would be. perhaps:

1. You run into your Ex on the way into the book signing for your best selling novel.

hillary duff booksigning

“oh. hello…who is this made out to? jerkface? how do you spell that?”

2. You run into your Ex in the crowd at the ribbon cutting ceremony your hometown has just put on commemorating the library and park erected in your honor.
giant scissor

“oh. hello. could you hold my giant scissor?”

3.You run into your Ex at the airport baggage claim returning from your honeymoon in the Maldives with your new wife who is a rockstar-slash-underwear model-slash-biochemist. 
hot chemist

“that guy? i bet he knows nothing about the practical importance of a phenomenological theory of particles.” or “oh”

or

4.You run into your Ex in a late model pickup truck or SUV with stolen plates… reverse, and do it again. Then drive off into the night, cackling, vengeance yours.

truck

“boom”

I’m kidding.

Sorta.

but there’s always that one person from your past where the relationship went sour like milk and you wouldn’t even want to run into them in the street without a Nobel Peace Prize in one hand and a can of ‘told-ya-so’ in the other and yet you still effing do.  i know a guy like that.

in the first years and a half since that break-up i ran into that guy five times.
five fingers

FIVE.

(one of the run-ins was a semi-drunken late night exchange in front of a 24-hour McDonald’s walk-up window.  his friend threw a chicken mcnugget at my friend’s head. nothing good can come from french fries at 2am. nothing.)

my mother still occasionally asks
“whatever happened to that guy? he had such nice teeth!”
right. you know who else have perfect teeth, ma?
tom

sociopaths.

at first, i’d practice all the scathing remarks and perfectly arched eyebrows that would speak volumes, specifically “eat shit volumes 1 and 2”– that is, just in case i’m not walking with my rhodes scholar super hot french and cameroonian life partner because she’s off leading a pilates retreat in mexico that week.
or, alternately, pretend i am method acting for the lead in a movie about a blind woman by specifically not seeing him.
(constantly wearing sunglasses aids this method considerably)
or, channel my inner ancient ninja and disappear into a rice paddy or the crowd of hustling rush hour commuters.
but, none of these are the right thing to do. as i’ve said – with me as well as with jennifer aniston— the best response may be to ‘just keep livin’, but the best revenge is to
live well.
 
so even if my future life partner IS really a rockstar and a master yoga instructor teaching a course in mexico… but isn’t here with me at the moment of concern because i don’t actually know her yet– i STILL should act as tho’ oprah is about to endorse my book on the OWN network by next week. because without the drama from that guy in my life i AM living better than well.
double rainbow
ok, ok, ok. all of that best inner life, fully transcendant stuff is all well and good.
but if i WAS to run into that guy again, there’d be ONE snarky thing i would definitely have to say:
“I only wore the ugly shoes because you’re short”
ugly sneakers
that would probably settle that.

a mini conversation: flying time.

flying clock

“it’s a bird! it’s a plane! no! it’s the rest of your life!”

me: …that means its two days before mercury retrograde is over

she:  mercury is forever in retrograde. it seems like there are only 10 days in the year when it’s NOT in retro and they have the nerve to be scattered throughout the calendar.
I blame my life on Mercury retrograding.
Spilled coffee? Mercury retrograding.
Getting a divorce? Mercury retrograding.
National disasters? Mercury retrograding.
me:  basically! every time you turn around its like:
“dont make any plans!”

she: why do the days drag so? like this whole week?

me: right now my day is hovering.

im eating

im waiting

and im thinking

i could do x y z with my day

OR i could let it fall to the wayside

looking up after reading just one more gossip blog entry and somehow that will be the rest of my life.

she: chile

me: and then oh shit its 5pm?
so that means im exhausted from sitting in this chair all day and have burned off my breakfast that i ate 4 hours ago by furioiusly scrolling thru all my bookmarked tumblr pages?

she:  lol

me: how is this my life?

she: Mercury retrograding.

me: foolish question

they’re real and…

last night,
a fairly regular occurrence, well, occurred.

i was walking down the street, minding my own business.
neither looking left or right in particular, but making eye contact with people as i am wont to do because i am admittedly a teeny-tiny bit of a townie (no shade) and i feel like it is good for neighborhood morale if everyone smiles like the non-manhattan-ites we actually are.
(regardless of how many of us would rather be manhattan-ites, but thats another story)

99% of the time – people smile back, and if i we know each other they say hello.

80% of the time they say hello even if we are total strangers and they get the “good neighbor” award for the day.

mr. rodgers

hello, neighbor.

ok,

less frequently they will think i am my sister. or think they know me from some event that happened in the early 90s by in which case again they think i am my sister. i looked like THIS in the early 90s.  it wasn’t me.  i promise.
i’m sorry anyway.

and oftentimes, more often than even i suspect it would happen… i get this.

friendly neighbor:  miss! miss! hello, miss!

me: hello there.

friendly neighbor: can i… can i ask you something?

me: uhm… ok

(this is usually the part where i look for the clipboard where the friendly neighbor would like me to sign something for the Human Rights Campaign)

(it’s not the Human Rights Campaign)

friendly neighbor: is that your real hair?

seriously?

SERIOUSLY?

is this my real hair? is that your real question? you stopped me from a half a block away to come charging at me out of breath to ask me if THE HAIR SITTING  ON THE TOP OF MY HEAD WAS GROWING FROM MY SCALP???

i’ve encountered many, many version of interaction that run from semi-harmless and inquisitive:

“is that your real hair?” “how do you get your hair to do that?” “wow!”

(no, i don’t really think my hair is worth a full-on “WOW” but it happens, and honestly its flattering, i admit it. i do this shit myself. i’ll take an accolade or two.)

but on the flip side, it can also be a beacon for crazy/rudeness:

“what IS that?”
(it’s hair, you idiot. the great tell to figure it out is the fact that its growing out of my head.)

“can you wash your hair like that?”
(why don’t you try to smell me and then find out what happens.)

“is that fabric?”
(you’re an idiot. go swallow something sharp.)

sometimes, this type of exchange is fun and i have a mini lesson on race relations with a stranger, to boot! sometimes i hear about someones jewish or puerto rican friend who also has “super curly” hair but how their hair doesn’t do “THAT” (hardy-har-har). sometimes i have to swat a reaching hand (only once). sometimes i smile awkwardly and move away slowly.

and sometimes, like last night. it annoys me.

i mean, i get it. i truly, truly do. i’ve walked around with some version of  THAT on my head since the dawn of my creation – except for some ill-conceived idea to try to make THAT aka my hair do the opposite, which did not end well.

wild wild hair book

i love this bookcover. not the idea. just the bookcover

very ill-conceived.

anyway, i know that sometimes if i’m in certain places or if  my hair is dyed certain colors certain people will consider THAT aka my hair a spectacle. this one time…
(wait for it) at art camp… in ROME.
i was followed around a department store by two clerks and four shopping women… no, not to see if i was stealing, but because they were taking turns reaching out to try to touch my hair and chickening out and trying again.

kids, the way to say “NO” in italian is “NO”.

anyway, i get it. people are going to stop, stare, look, point, ask, touch (get swatted), take photos unasked (seriously this happend) and generally be inquisitive. i also have a piece of metal thru the center of my face. not unlike this:

janet jackson septum

sorry, mom.

and sometimes…. sometimes my hair is the same color as the above, too.

trust me. i GET it.

but sometimes… sometimes the exchange goes like this:

friendly neighbor: is that you’re real hair?

me: (blank face) …yes. it’s mine.

friendly neighbor: …oh… well it’s GORGEOUS!

THAT
THAT is what makes me sick!

does it matter? really? really? does it matter if its mine by virtue of purchase or by genetics? does it make it any less “gorgeous”?

what if i had said “no, its someone else’s?”

well, if i had said that they probably wouldn’t have understood the joke ’til i was well on my way -if ever -as they are the type of person who chases  a stranger down on the street to ask if they are wearing a hairpiece. it is always as if they are tempering their compliment  on the basis of it being ‘real’ or ‘fake’. and usually they chide me if my  response is incredulous because they are trying to “give me a compliment”

should i ask – “is it real what? obviously its real you can see that it exists.”

i’ve tried asking if it matters if it is real or fake if it is visibly “gorgeous”, and usually it devolves into a “conversation” about how:

“black-women-don’t-ever-have-nice-REAL-hair”

or “black-women-always-got-weaves” or

“black-women-always-be-so-uptight-about-random-strangers-asking-them-personal-questions-about-their-bodies-in-the-street”

or somesuch.

and most times, sadly, i dont give this asshole a dressing down. i just say “yes” and then grit my teeth and move on to write a blog post.

but always, always, i want to say this:

and then i wonder if they are smart enough to get the humor on seinfield.
was that rude?
they started it.

lost in the sandbox

how do you make friends as an adult?

coz i need more/better/new ones.
not that theres anything wrong with the ones i’ve got – i love them all truly, madly, deeply. but as is the course of friendships- you become friends because of shared interests and remain friends because of shared history. you know what you are going to GET with your peeps and thats what makes them YOURS.

knowing them as i do, i know the majority of mine arent going to want to go barhopping on a sunday night no matter how hard i beg. which is why i find myself writing a memorial to my social life. not of a year ago when i was a swinging single. nay. of about 25 years ago when i was in pre school and the easiest way to make a new friend was to plop down beside them in the sandbox and show them that you, too, liked to make gourmet  meals from play doh and it was game ON from there on out.

girl eating sand

sea food.

things ain’t that simple no more. majority of my friends now are in various relationship stages that are not conducive to stone chillin’ saturday nights as in the days of old. they’re either

A:coupled up – so do married type things on the weekend like antiquing upstate, or visiting their special person’s parents for long weekends on lumpy twin beds.

couple on twin bed retro black and white

"...but grandma's right next door."

or hang out with other couples who are married or married-like and talk about antiquing  trips upstate with the parents.

or B:  newly coupled-  which means they spend their entire weekend in bed discovering all the fascinating quirks about their partner that will annoy the shit out of them in 7 months but that at the moment they find adorable, or telling stories about things they did in junior high and drinking each others sweat.

couple on bed

can't blame 'em

until they come up for air there’s really  no room for a third in that party.

and the last group, the dying breed, i was the local chapter president of for longer than i remember –can’t hang out on weekends because they are

C:single and mingling.

party girl

what? olives are vegetables -- so this is heathy.

which means roughly a year ago today i was most likely drunk, doing something mildly inappropriate with someone who’s last name i didn’t know then and first name i can’t remember now. (ok. or home happily reading a book) either way, a complete 180 from tonight, where i bedrugingly took off my party clothes at 11pm and told myself I need to get a jump start on tomorrow’s work. which brings me back around to my original lament. where, as an adult do you make new friends? its not like picking up fruit (or tricks) in the supermarket, or books (or tricks) in the bookstore.

if you lean over to the interesting looking girl sitting next to you on the subway reading the fountainhead on her ipad (only after checking to see if her thick frame black glasses actually had a perscription in the lens. (score! they do. proceed) and ask her where she got that obviously eco-friendly backpack… she’s going to think you’re cruising her.

girl w glasses reading

mind yours.

aaaaaaand a year ago she would have been right.
or, when you’re at your local organic coffee place and that guy with the bike and the yogamat and the vintage sneakers saunters in blasting something out of his beats by dre that sounds kinda like starwars meets r&b meets 80s; if you grab him before he takes his soy latte to-go in order to ask what is he listening to and does he know if they touring locally? he’s going to think you are cruising him. aaaaaaaaaand again, a year ago he would have ended up as that fuck  friend you dont remember from last summer  and therefore he would have been right.

pharrell with bike

mind yours.

so whats a girl to do?
join professional clubs, do charity, get involved with your community, take a class?  could find tons of people with shared interest and you’ll have reasons to talk to them eliminating the awkward “hello” and the tamping down the automatic response of trying to formulate a meet-cute when all you want to do is find someone to talk about how much you still miss LOST.

lost on tv screen two sodas

one for me. one for the polar bear

and then what happens when it comes down to the main nerve-wracking event part where you exchange numbers – how do you ask someone out on a friend date without feeling date-like?

couple on date

im not on a date. are you on a date?

how do you cruise for platonic friends?

why i can’t blog

yep.

SHE: you should be writing

ME: i know i know
but my … brain
it hates me

SHE: no negative talk/thoughts/chat

ME: right right
well uhm
my brain is SO FULL of awesomeness
sometimes its overwhelming and hard to focus… so i sleep.
thats better, right?

SHE: yes
wait
no

ME: hahaha

my retirement from fabulous

I used to be Fabulous.
velvet rope
(capital F- fabulous, thanks.)
I used to be THAT Chick.
THAT Chick With Those TALL CHICKS over there on the other side of the rope.
Maybe that’s only considered Fabulous By Association but it worked.
I was THAT Chick with those TALL CHICKS so do let us in
Mr. Earpiece-Wearing-Scary-Bouncer-Man-Who-Holds-the-Key-to-the-Outcome-of-So-Many-Peoples-Evenings-in-Your-Meaty-Sweaty-Palm.
As a matter of fact when I was THAT Chick Here With Those TALL CHICKS (TChwtTC)
I didn’t wait on line for shit.
And on the rare occasions it did happen my companions would stand right up in Mr.Bouncer and Miss Guestlist’s face. They would be looking so surly, so put-upon so… tall the (probably not very long in the first place) waiting time was drastically reduced.
velvet rope opening

“you too, shorty.”

And the fabulousness didn’t stop once inside.
Asides from the free entry business- being Fabulous garnered you prime real estate seating in the VIP. That means the lighting is flattering and everybody can see you but you can’t really see everybody else.
That means there are free drinks by the champagne bucketload – provided by somebody’s boyfriend in finance.
On some (rare) occasions the girls in finance would finance a bottle for themselves but that was probably just to prove a point.
(This was before the ‘ECONOMIC CRISIS IN ALLCAPS’, of course).
That means it’s a private party hosted by an agency or magazine or some photog’ or music industry type.
That means someone next to you has been in a commercial.
That means someone owns a Bentley.
That means someone’s been to a party with Diddy. With an invite.
And beside the table service bottles there’s the:
‘New Guy Trying Too Hard to Get in Good with the In Crowd’ drink
or
‘Not-Even-Close to Being VIP Dude You Met In Line for the Bathroom Who Saw You Walk Out of the VIP and Thinks You Can Get HIM In (or at least thinks he can score coke from you)’ drink
and then theres always
‘Trisexual Model Trying to Seduce You With Alcohol’ drink.
(Seriously)
Dammit.
I loved being Fabulous in the club.
big shades big hair
I loved the VIP. I love the drinking. I love the extra space on the dancefloor.
But as much as I loved it I have to be honest– I was bad at it.
For starters, I’m only 5’5.
So sometimes –despite looking the part of THAT CHICK at all times– in order to get in I’d still have to have a TALL CHICK nearby to vouch for me.
Next, my ‘Bored’ look usually just looks ‘Mean’. Mean looks don’t get you free drinks in the club.
(sidebar: I don’t condone typical freeloading, golddigging bitchery—but in my first foray into Fabness I was fresh out of college and flat broke and interning for free. I’m not gonna look a giftdrink in the mouth.) Anyway, a mean face won’t help get your thirst quenched. Unless Mr. Drinksponsor is also a masochist and ever looking for excuse to use the classic openers:
‘Smile. It can’t be that bad honey’
or ‘Why you looking so mean?’
To which I would typically respond with “because I am mean.”
Yeah. No drinks there.
Leading to the third reason I sucked at the fab-life:
I suck at small talk.
Mean face aside, anything past ‘Hey, hows it going?’ and I’m toast. DOA DNR (Dead On Arrival. Do Not Resuscitate.) I’m rendered completely at a loss for words and left staring down at my Fabulous shoes on the Fabulous “IT” club linoleum. And you won’t be sitting at the cheerleader’s table in the VIP for long unless you can prove your worth. Those TC’s are ever wary of fresh female meat.
If you can’t rope new (rich) guys into the circle you’re just one more mouth trying to drink from the free bottle. And that’s not gonna help you keep your seat.
Another reason I’m not fabulous like that anymore is because I ‘m label conscious enough.
(sidenote:that was only an issue when I was Uptown Fab or WestSide Fab. And don’t get me STARTED on being properly sartorially Downtown, Eastisde or Hipster Fab. That’s a different rant for a different day.)
I’ll never forget the time a TC dug in my purse for the label because she was convinced it wasn’t a real Chloe bag. She was shocked/appalled/disgusted/amused that I had taken its lock off and called another TC over to inspect:

TC1:Can you believe she took the padlock off of her Chloebag? TC2:Whats the point of having a Chloe bag with no padlock?

Me: Because the zipper was actually working rather nicely on its own?

This girl knows the score.

This girl knows the score.

They ultimately decided my “IT”bag was the real deal. I ultimately decided I’m not cool enough for that shit. I’m not as broke as I was as an intern (i.e. not completely). But a far cry from the point where my spending money would even merit giving a fuck about “IT” bags. My mom gave both me and my sister a REAL Louis Vuitton as a ‘Welcome to Womanhood’ present. (not to be confused with the ‘Welcome to Menstruation’ present which consisted of a giant box of pads and a ‘don’t come home preggers’ lecture. Was that TMI?) Meantime I hardly use the (gorgeous classic and fabulous) bag because its so de rigueur for a FabTC that it doesn’t even feel fab to me. When I carry it I feel like I’m trying to claim membership to a group I’m not involved with and particularly dislike.

(And who honestly wouldn’t claim me anyway.)

Sigh. I’ve not even really mentioned the GUYS in the Fab scene…

roxbury

yum.

I saw enough vertical stripes in ’05 to last a lifetime. All dumb muscle wrapped in fence post. This weekend I ran into one of the TCs that I used to hang out in the vicinity of.

We were both primping in the mirror of this “IT” bar bathroom
(I should have known better than to venture higher than 42nd!)
After my gut reaction of deer-in-headlights ‘to greet or not to greet’ deliberation I took the highroad and said hello. We air kiss (seriously). Shared some small talk that was (surprisingly) not-completely awkward. She did say that the scarf on my head was ‘supercute’ but she wasn’t ‘artsy’ enough to rock it.
(Was that a dig? Awkwardly worded compliment?)
Sigh.I happened upon fabulosity by accident; but entered into normalcy (artsy-ness? sideeye.) on purpose. I don’t miss trying to decode things that people say. My feet don’t miss always having to wear 6inch heels (now I do it bc I like it). I don’t miss always being on my toes literally and figuratively. Flipside: my wallet does miss free drinks and my ego misses not crossing my fingers at the velvet rope.
All in all, I’m (mostly) glad I retired from Fab.
Or I rather, glad I quit my internship at Fab because the openings for fulltime with tenure were too few and far between. As I’m running around in my new post-Fab life I can’t help but… what? Stare wistfully? Gape and drool? Die inside slowly remembering what could have been? Uhm, I can’t help but glance over as I pass the new “IT” places. The lines are wrapping around the block, the bass is thumping through the concrete and glittery girls are tottering on too-tall shoes ingnoring the velvet rope protocol. I think to myself

Damn! What is going on in THERE?” And have to laugh at myself when I remember that I, in fact, know whats going on in there.

I used to be what was going on in there.

I have to shake it off and keep it moving downtown– where I’ve enough moxie to get in solo.

All 5’5 of me.