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This is literally the worst.

26 Sep

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Is “standing one’s ground” the new “literally”? Like, can it *literally* be used to mean whatever we want? Because I’m pretty sure this isn’t right. Unless, wait, maybe Shelly Zimmerman is planning to shoot George in the face for inappropriate use of Skittles? In which case…cool cool cool, nothing to see here.

This is almost as good as that time the senator went “gangnum style.”

Michel Gondry drew a picture of me!

29 Apr

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And there it is! How cool is that?

About four years ago (almost to the day, oddly), I read that filmmaker Michel Gondry had decided to—with his copious amounts of free time—make hand-drawings of photos for a mere $20. It hardly mattered that I love Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind or that Gondry directed one of my very favorite Flight of the Conchords episodes ever—anyone who has the opportunity to get a drawing by an artist or visionary of any kind of standing for a mere 20 bucks should. So I sent in my money and waited. And waited. I got an email saying that due to Gondry’s schedule, there would be a delay. Then I waited some more. Then I checked in again. I checked in a lot. Then I forgot about it. Then, I don’t know why,  about a month ago checked in again—and was told that Mssr. Gondry finally had time to do my drawing. And he did it!!! And it just arrived! And it is so cool! And I am so happy!!!

Yay.

Oh, also, here’s my latest Community recap. (Oops. Sorry. But look how patient I was!!!)

Affliction.

1 Feb

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I am sick. Sick with shopping. Those of you who are similarly afflicted understand. Those of you aren’t, well, maybe you can relate in some other way. Perhaps drugs or alcohol is your particular thing. My particular thing is clothes. My mother is ill, as was her mother before her. My aunt is unwell, too. All of us, sick.

I tell you this because last night on my way home from work, I decided to swing by Century 21 downtown. It’s unfortunate/fortunate that I’ve learned that there is 7 o’clock parking right there (and that everyone who works in the Financial District gets the hell out of Dodge as soon as work lets out), so there are plus de spots for the taking. (It is also worth noting that it could not have been colder last night, and there is no windier place in New York City than the Financial District. This sickness, it knows no bounds.)

In the warmth of Century 21, bustling with European tourists even at this late hour, I browsed and browsed and tried in vain to find something, anything, to scratch that itch, to calm that voice in my head urging, “Buy something, anything.” Only $17,000 Lanvin coats marked down to $6,000 and shop-worn Ports 1961 sweaters that I could perhaps talk myself into liking remained. And then.

It beckoned to me as I made my way toward the down elevator, resigned to go home, heat up a sweet potato, bid adieu to Liz Lemon and Jack Donaghy forever and call it a night. A shimmering Galliano dress. It makes sense that it had escaped my attention on the first lap. I was so used to bypassing the Galliano rack, my (big Jewish) nose perched high in the air, an “I don’t fucking think so” floating above me in an invisible thought bubble.

The forgiveness had come only recently. I’m typically an up-with-anger grudge-holder; I come from a family that would never buy a German car, and I was trained by 8 to understand that Nestle was responsible for the death of poor, defenseless Indian babies. But in my old age, I believe in forgiveness, that people don’t always say what they mean or mean what they say and that they can change. I think Galliano’s shown a bit of contrition and humility in ways that other people who have been publicly awful haven’t (cough, Chris Brown, cough) and so, okay. I decided I would look at his dress. (YOU’RE WELCOME, JOHN GALLIANO.)

This dress. It was so beautiful. (You can’t tell from the photo, but it is the prettiest thing on the planet that has ever existed ever.) It was the only one, and it was my size. So I tried it on. And it fit. But. It was a little short. And could have been a little looser. There were lots of little things it could have been. (AND there was a small tear in the lace by the neck.) But I loved it. I lovedlovedloved it. And in the comfort of my tiny dressing room, beneath the glaring fluorescent lights, I was able to tell myself that I looked pretty in it. That the sleeves were cut so as to accentuate my muscular arms. And that the black lace tiers were a high-fashion take on the frocks I used to wear to bat mitzvahs in the ’90s. But then there were the bad angles. And the realization that there would be people outside the comfort of my dressing room, people who might look at me. Ultimately, of course, there was the price. Originally, the dress was A MILLION DOLLARS. (Not really, but close.) Suffice it to say, it had been marked down a great deal, but it was still more than I felt comfortable paying. (I’m pretty sure I heard my wallet groan when I plucked it off the rack.) And so I left it. (Well, I rushed out of the fitting room and thrust it at the attendant before I could reconsider.) I was proud of myself. But I was also sad.

I’ve never been a drug addict or an alcoholic, but I am quite sure that whatever pleasure centers light up when a junkie gets a fix are the same ones that light up for me when I buy something new. It’s always the same: I get excited about whatever I’ve found. I buy it. My excitement fades. Then I buy something else. And so on and so forth.

And so in leaving the dress I was reacting to that awareness of my pattern, that knowledge of my repetitions and the comfort that this too would pass (the same way last weekend’s obsession with this amazing Rebecca Taylor gown that is sold out everywhere but for the token size 4’s has faded). I put it out of my mind. I was being financially responsible. I was being a grown-up.

Or, I tried to be one. Here’s the thing. The dress did not look perfect on me. Few things do. But I love clothes. And somehow by the grace of god I am able to overlook my flaws and wear things that might not flatter my weird body but that for better or worse I love and have the confidence to wear. And I am fucking GRATEFUL for that. So this Galliano dress meant my midriff, but for a sheer panel of lace, would be naked. It meant I’d be wearing a shorter skirt than I am typically comfortable with. It meant that the person taking home this dress would probably not be the person Signor Galliano had had in mind when he was draping it on a mannequin. All I know is that when I sucked in my cheeks and struck a pose in the dressing room, I felt like fucking Madonna circa 1987, which is pretty much the pinnacle of everything and meant I simply could not not have it.

And so after work on Friday night, when my only plan was to come home, order sushi and drink enough wine that I could spectacularly pass out after Dateline, I found myself back at Century 21. There was my dress, hanging on the rack, waiting for me. And there I was in the fitting room, reasoning that I could wear it to my dear friends Maura and Roy’s wedding this year, where many of the Indian women in attendance would have their bellies fully exposed, not even covered by a sheer strip of Italian lace. And there I was at the cashier, persuading the manager to give me 10% off for the tear. (She did, though not before telling me in a tone I felt accusatory that I could not return it, not to this location, not to any of the others, as if I had ripped the dress myself and was now trying to eke out some small discount. “Why are you talking to me like that?” I snapped at her. “Like I’m trying to pull a fast one.” Oh my god, PULL A FAST ONE. I become one of the Three Stooges when faced with fashion adversity, apparently.)

Anyway. I bought the dress. Ta-da! And it makes me so happy. I believe fashion is the kind of art I can get down with and I thank my lucky stars that despite what could easily devolve for me into a kind of self-hatred at not living up to the very difficult standards set by the fashion world I adore and the as-difficult standards set by my city, which I adore even more, I have never once considered relegating myself to a life of baggy sweats and nondescript tees. I can’t even imagine it. (But so help me, if I hear one Hitler peep out of John Galliano, this dress will find its way to Butter consignment—or better yet, the trash—faster than you can say something clever that I can’t think of right now because it’s been a really long week and I’m tired and have had some wine.

So yeah. I bought a dress. And I love it. And I hope you all go out and buy yourself a dress (or a book or a microbrew or a ticket to a show or whatever it is that makes you giddy and gleeful), too.

My absolute least-favorite trend in journalism: the oversnark

28 Dec

There’s a time and a place for wit. LOADS of times and places, in fact. I adore wit. My devotion to it, I believe, is what leads me to respond to all the wrong men on OkCupid while the nicer, slightly less clever guys who would probably make excellent boyfriends are doomed to perish in my rejected file. (That was conceited. They probably won’t perish. They’ll probably be just fine without me. Good luck to you, nice witless fellows!)

Where were we? Right. Wit. I usually like it. But one place I could do without it is in my news reporting, when I’m not really dying for an invisible yuk-yuk elbow jab.

Plenty of places are guilty of the oversnark. My eyes roll a lot when I read Jezebel, for example — and I enjoy (and have written for) Jezebel. And though I spend every morning with the gang over at the Today show, I nearly had an aneurysm last week when, while former Wyoming senator Alan Simpson was speaking, they flashed the following hed: “Former senator goes gangnam for fiscal cliff action.”  I AM NOT MAKING THIS UP. Look:

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Anyway, here’s the example that’s setting me off right now, from New York magazine online:

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Maa. Like, really? It’s not even offensive, it’s just dumb. I adore New York magazine. Other than the two mags I work for, New York is the only print publication I read religiously. So I’m speaking as a fan. An irritated fan. Not every post needs to end with a smirk. Sometimes a post can just end. Save your smirks, writers. Save ‘em for a rainy day! You’re hurting your writing. Stop trying to be so clever, everybody. I promise we’ll be okay.

All right. Rant over.

Aside 16 Dec

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In times of tragedy we all search for a way in, to become a part of it, even as we wish that it had never happened. My sister and brother-in-law and their five kids, my nieces and nephews, live in Newtown, Conn. When I used to say that to people, nobody knew where I meant. I had to qualify it—“It’s near Danbury,” or “It’s about an hour outside New York.” I won’t ever have to do that again. “We’re on the map,” my sister said on the phone this morning. “We’re the new Columbine.”

So in the scale of connection, I am perhaps one degree closer to Newtown than most because I’ve been there and people I love live there—and because I got a call from my father yesterday as news was still breaking, giving me the soul-shaking news that my nieces and nephews were fine, that they were at a different school—but that hardly matters. I think we want a way in because it makes our grief seem warranted. My peers and I all did the same thing when a student in our middle school was brutally murdered. “Oh, I just met her last week!” or “My cousin lives on her block,” we all said. Tangential connections, ways to make ourselves feel like we had a right to feel the way we did, to be shocked and sad and terrified and angry, as if the sheer horror of the thing wasn’t enough of a reason. There’s no need this time. We’re all a part of this. Whether your sister lives in Newtown or not, if you live in this country, what happened in Newtown matters to you. How could it not matter to you?

The ramifications of Newtown are big and small. Big in the way we all—on Twitter and Facebook and down the block at the nail place and up the street at the coffee shop—are talking about things like gun control and mental-health care and the president and the teachers and the horrible, horrible sadness. Small in the subtle shifts, the way things can be altered so instantaneously when we realize that we don’t all agree, whether by the relative who has the audacity to rail against gun laws while my sister and her family grieve for their neighbors or the few who felt the bizarre and tone-deaf need to chime in on Facebook that Newtown is evidence of the importance of the death penalty, as if that has anything to do with anything right now.

David Remnick and Adam Gopnik have much more eloquent and important things to say about Newtown than I ever could—I’m just angry and heartbroken, I have no thesis, no real point, I just need to talk—and you can read them here and here. My thoughts are less coherent. My thoughts begin and end with the bogus story so many people in this country tell themselves about their right to have and use a gun, start and finish with the notion that guns don’t kill people, people kill people. Yesterday, a lunatic in China stabbed 20 children. That is mind-boggling and horrible. But those children lived. The undeniable truth is that without a gun, it is harder to do what Adam Lanza did. The NRA and its followers know that. That they pretend not to is insulting. They know it—they just don’t care. Arm the teachers, they say. The shooter’s mother was armed. In fact, she was responsible for arming her son. What does the NRA have to say about that? It makes no sense.

If you are a gun owner or a gun lover, to say that you have a right to a gun instead of owning up to the fact that you just like having one, that you think guns are cool, that the murder of 20 children and the adults who tried to protect them simply doesn’t bother you in the scheme of things, well, that’s a story you tell yourself so that you seem palatable to this world. You are not palatable to me. You are grotesque and foolish and you should be ashamed of yourself. What happened in Newtown was preventable. It was preventable. It was preventable. Hear that, because it’s true.

That’s all. I don’t know how to make sense of something so senseless, so that’s all. If you’d like to help the residents of Sandy Hook, please follow this link.

And the three wise men brought gold, frankincense and…acetone?

6 Dec

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Okay, so, this is a thing: A 16-piece Tom Ford gift collection of nail polish. It’s $480. OH MY GOD IT’S $480!!!

Anyone who knows me knows I am a fashion-and-beauty whore and always have been. If I have the money for something expensive and really want it, I will buy it, because that’s what money is for, and you should do what makes you happy so long as you’re not bankrupting yourself. See also this:

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And this:

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And also this:

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Okay, now I’m just showing you my clothes, and I guess that’s obnoxious. But my clothes are my boyfriend! (The most private thing I admit in my OkCupid profile (which I am totally taking down I swear I am I’m doing it!) is that I recently walked into my apartment and said to the pile of new clothes stacked on my couch, “Hello, my babies.” Surprisingly, this adorable anecdote has not sent the fellas a’courtin’.) ANYWAY.

I work hard and clothes are how I like to spend my money. I am a “decadent single,” obvs. (If that reference doesn’t make sense, I encourage you to read this. Can I get a hell yes, please? And also a say what? Because how are we singles the decadent ones when the world is so overpopulated? Selfish, maybe, or narcissistic, but decadent? Not automatically, no. Anyway, read that. Let’s get back to nail polish.)

love me some Tom Ford (I still swoon about the blue velvet Gucci blazer he designed and which I managed to snag when I was a teenager at the outlets at Secaucus, except they only had men’s left, so I bought it but never wore it, because the shoulders were just a smidge too broad, but still, I had that damn blazer and I loved it), but come ON. I mean, these polishes are pretty enough—really pretty, actually—but I just…I can’t. I mean, if polish is  YOUR boyfriend, then by all means. But I’d just as soon someone give me $480 bucks for Hanukkah instead. (Wait, you weren’t planning on giving me these nail polishes, WERE you? Because then maybe $480 sounds like the exact amount friendly strangers should send a blogger lady and dare I say FRIEND? (I’m Jewish, btdubs, in case that wasn’t clear, which means my wise-men ref up top may not make sense. I’m not entirely sure what frankincense is. Is it a kind of incense? Maybe throw some frankincense in my gift bag with my new Tom Ford nail polishes.)

Anyway, thanks for bearing with my rantlet. (It’s not really much of one. It’s hard to get irate about nail polish, even when it seems so out of touch with what’s, y’know, happening out in the world. Then again, so do the photos of the clothing/boyfriend I just posted.) I get sort of ADD this time of year (as evidenced by here), so I appreciate you reading this far. You are still reading, right? Hello(ello(ello))?

I always thought I was a late bloomer.

29 Nov

Turns out I was an early adopter!

Jezebel posted this piece a couple of days ago on the “sex trend” (air quotes mine) of young women losing their virginity in their 20s, with Girls’ Shoshanna as the crowning example. I’m 36 and far from a virgin (what do you mean how far? You mind your own business!), but I fell instantly in love with Shoshanna when I first met her. At 22, she was the “least virginy virgin” ever, she said, and I dug that, because once upon a time, I was, too.

Even today, closer to 40 than 30 (oh my God, I don’t think I realized that until just now; or I did, but early-onset senility made me bad at math), I still feel alienated when I see teens on-screen giving it up, sneaking out of their parents’ house to go paw at their boyfriend in some car. I feel equally out of sorts watching kids who are desperate to have sex but resisting in the interest of waiting until they’re ready (virgins by logic). And my goat is equally got by young characters dying for a roll in the sack but refusing to because of religion (virgins by Jesus). I was none of those. And I had a lot of friends who were in the same sexless boat I was.

We were smart, hard-working, overachieving teenagers. We weren’t goody-goodys, really. We drank, we smoked pot, we had mad crazy crushes on boys. But we didn’t fool around, and most of us hadn’t had any relationships beyond the occasional chaste date or soul-ruining, going-nowhere crush on a boy. My crushes were almost entirely asexual, and I guess, in retrospect, that was by unconscious design. When I got to college and a hot shot a cappella guy (I swear that wasn’t an oxymoron where I went to school) took a shine to me and somehow duped me into phone sex, I had absolutely no idea. (“He kept asking me what I was wearing,” I told my similarly hymenated roommate. Somehow even she knew what the sartorial curiosity and quickened breathing meant. Makes sense: She’d at least rounded some of the bases. I’d only ever made out. And really just a little.)

Of the late-blooming ilk, we were more Liz Lemon than Donna Martin (graduates). We were innocents, in a way. Sex just wasn’t something most of us were considering. In fact, when a friend went home one winter break and ended up punching her V-card with her sometime boyfriend, she broke it to us like she was admitting she’d pledged a sorority. I think she was afraid we would judge her, and I’m sure that we did, if only because she was instantly foreign to us.

All these years, boyfriends and sexcapades later (that’s right, I said sexcapades), I still feel like a confused loser when I compare myself to Girls’ Hannah Horvath or Tina from the magnificent (and canceled) I Just Want My Pants Back, modern-day Mary Richardses relocated to New York City. It’s confusing because I was them—only, not really. Sexuality is an important, if not the most important aspect to both characters. We meet them when they’re just out of college, and it’s clear that both said bon voyage to their virginity a very long time ago. So even now, technically old enough to be their incredibly young mother (excuse me while I go take a Xanax), I feel excluded. Not just because they got it on early but because they wanted to. I didn’t. Not until I realized just how late it was getting.

Enter Shoshanna. She is horrified that she somehow ended up 22 and a virgin. She has no idea how it happened. But the thing you don’t hear her saying is that she’s been dying for sex. Because she hasn’t. Of course she hasn’t. Those of us who were still virgins in our early 20s weren’t really dying for it until after we’d done it, when we realized what we’d been missing. (And then we were really dying for it.) When Shoshanna does give it up, it’s exactly how (I think) it should be: with someone nice and respectful and cute and whom she doesn’t actually know very well. The point wasn’t that she have great sex—the point was that she couldn’t be a virgin anymore.

The Jezebel piece references the sex hold-outs who have boyfriends but just don’t want to be stank hos (paraphrasing), and those women alienate me as much as the sluts ever did. Same goes for the virgins by circumstance: In High Fidelity, as John Cusack’s Rob goes back to find/torment his lost loves, one accuses him of being the reason she became Grandma Virgin. All his constant sex pressure in high school made her unable to go through with it in college, “when you’re supposed to have sex.” She was a virgin only because her high school boyfriend had tried so hard to make her not one. Her circumstance was sexual aggression. I remember watching that movie and having this exact reaction to her: “Oh! Oh.” It was rare to see a simpatico on-screen, so I was elated, but then her V-ness was qualified by circumstance, and I was disappointed. My only circumstances were fear and indifference. Until I met my own respectful, cute stranger. And then my 20s got much more interesting.

So yeah, up with late bloomers. There are more of them out there than you think. And Shoshanna at 36 is going to be unstoppable.

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