2010 Bitches!

So far it’s been pretty fabulous.

New Years Eve found us at Mike’s delightful duplex in Greenpoint, one of my favorite places in the world, high praise indeed considering it necessitates traveling to Brooklyn. We drank champagne, ate hallucinogenic mushrooms, fought over the music control, and rolled around giggling on the couch and floor in front of Mike’s fireplace. Meanwhile, another crew of friends sat in the dark in his downstairs entertainment room, staring for hours at live footage of the Talking Heads.

Talking Heads? Even without the aid of mind-altering substances this would bum me out. Occasionally I would have to leave the cheery glow of the Christmas tree to use the bathroom downstairs, and every time I went down there I came back with reports of a spooky land in which the music sucked.

Mike, who loves an awful thing that Drew likes to call “Awkward Pause” music, explained that he loves the Talking Heads and that one time when he was too high on one thing or another he put them on the sound system and it made him happy again. So I guess this is what he did for his friends who like to sit quietly in his basement at every party.

Mike also explained that his friends come in two groups: Uplanders and Downlanders. The Uplanders, of which Drew and I number) prefer to stay in the light of the kitchen, fireplace, or backyard, while the Downlanders would rather watch his giant flat screen tv in the dark. He is comfortable in both lands, since they each belong to him, and thus he happily has feet in two worlds. We all thought this was very deep at the time but of course, we were on drugs.

I thought it hilarious to text him any time I felt the need, as any experience that involves mind-altering substances must have the comfort and joy of Mike’s presence nearby at all times. These are the texts that came out of the night. He never responded but would always come back eventually for more of my abuse.

Dec 31, 2009: Will you be our midget water sherpa?

Jan 1, 2010 12:46 AM: Damn you, stop snorting cocaine off our water cup!

1:35 AM: Come back!

2:06 AM: Have the ducks stopped quacking Michael? Have they?

2:22 AM: If that fireplace

3:01 AM: Shhhhhhh

3:24 AM: Your tree is pokey.

I know, I know. Pretty intelligent stuff. But my justification for this kind of stupidity is that mushrooms are a cheery and easily controlled substance with little damage to the body, and indeed we did have a lovely New Year’s Eve celebration, giggling with some of our closest friends in Mike’s beautiful home. It was one of the best I’ve had in many years.

This welcoming of the New Year with people I love helped with another peeling of the layers of my onion psyche. I am am somewhat loathe to put it down because I feel like I have beaten the subject of beauty down to a pulp, but it does seem to always be on my mind and my friends’ minds  as we watch ourselves age. So I thought I would share this:

A few weeks ago I flopped on the couch dramatically and said to Drew: “I hate getting older. I just hate it. I see women on TV and the street and I know I’ll never look like that again. I’ll never be able to wear a baby doll dress again, I’ll never be that fresh-faced and soft again. I can’t eat a pounds of pasta anymore with no consequences. I’m just fading and I hate it. It’s a big fat, fucking bummer. I hate it, I hate it, I hate it!”

He replied with something very nice about timelessness, and I did understand that I was whining over something pretty unimportant in the grand scheme of things. But it is there. And my struggles with having to spend time around the hordes of models that trail his last couple of bands (with well known male model singer Jamie Burke) has also been documented here.

I have made my peace with it as I have grown to trust my boyfriend, trust being something I’ve never had in my life up until now. But it still sucks to let him out of the house sometimes when I know he’s going to spend the night surrounded by some of the world’s most beautiful (and often very willing) females less than half my age. It’s been an interesting experience over the last few years, and I’m proud of myself for working through some very deep issues connected to the situation.

ANYHOO, so here’s my latest thought process:

Occasionally we have model castings in the store and there was a doozy this week. Three days of hordes of the most gorgeous young women you’ve ever seen, all lined up and hopeful with portfolios in hand. Each one was stunning–so tall and sparkly and  young, it felt like an invasion from another planet. I simply couldn’t get too worked up about my own insecurities standing near them because en masse they are alien. I am another species altogether. One of my boobs is as large as one of their tiny doll heads.

The kicker: the job was non-paying. And the photographer is completely out of his mind and was screaming at them: “TURN AROUND! WILL YOU ALLOW US TO PHOTOGRAPH YOU NUDE? CAN WE SHAVE YOUR HEAD?” Just totally obnoxious for the sake of being crazy and obnoxious. And then when they were finally done with the first day’s group I overheard him say, “There were no stars. No stars! Hideous, AWFUL girls!” So these individuals fixed themselves up, picked up their books, and took transportation in freezing January to stand in line for an hour, get abused about who they are, and then leave empty-handed. What a crappy afternoon.

Every one of the girls, and they are girls, most of them not yet 21, was absolutely beautiful. Even if she wasn’t perfectly beautiful, she was. If you know what I mean. And no matter how pretty you are, it must be excruciating to be rated and rejected many times as part of your chosen profession. I know that it would crush me at my age, with whatever wisdom and self-confidence I’ve garnered from the simple passage of time. What must it do to your psyche when you are 18? I know they get the breaks and perks that come with beauty, which are mighty, but once you get into NY and into that competition, it has to have some effect.

So I missed the last casting on Friday as I left work early. Vas and I went to see our old friend Eerie Von do an acoustic set and book signing at Generation Records for his new book Misery Obscura. If you are a Misfits, Samhain, Danzig fan, or if you just love that era, you MUST pick this book up. It is SO fun to look at and EV saved everything over the years, so there are some really fun photos. And he is hilarious so the text is pretty funny. The acoustic show was great, and he’s thinking about expanding that with a slide show, which I think would be amazing.

Afterwards a 22 year old model who I’ve recently become friendly with, who generally does very well for herself, and who I’ve blogged about before, texted that she wanted to hang out. It’s weird, for as much as I complain about the omnipotent NYC presence of the gorgeous foetus, they’re always wanting to hang out. Rocket says it’s like ducklings imprinting on me. I really like this one though, she’s smart and interesting.

So I told her that if she didn’t mind hanging out with the ancients to come and meet EV, Vas, and myself at the bar. She did, and Eerie thanked me for providing something wonderful to look at, and then just to be a dick asked if she was my daughter. I punched him and we got down to the task of drinking and reminiscing. It was a wonderful night, although I did have a pretty brutal hangover the next day from too many celebratory shots. I also have a vague memory of doing a “sexy” dance to Def Leppard, which is never a good thing no matter what your age.

At the beginning of the evening I complimented my model on what had to be a $4000 jacket and asked how her career was going. She always has the most amazing clothes and I’m incredibly jealous, although even if I did finally manage to wrangle something off of her I’d never in a million years squeeze into it. She told me that she got dropped from her US agency because of weight issues. The girl is a twig. She literally looks like you could snap her, she even looks like Twiggy. I said “What???” She said, “I was 95 pounds when they signed me, but I gained 20 pounds and that was too much.”

The girl is 5′ 8″. Can you imagine?

She didn’t seem too broken up about it, she’s creative and has a brain and other things going on, and said she’s fine in Europe. But she did confide in me about experiencing some pains that are classically the kind of crap you contend with when young; and that coupled with seeing the casting at my job seemed to be a good reminder for the new year that the grass is always greener. And that once again the lesson for me is to suck it up, stop whining and enjoy all I have, which is substantial.

And there is some relief in allowing myself to step out of the race when I’m standing next to someone who truly could be my kid. In some ways it felt nice to sit back and let her shine for the people around us. Hmmm…maybe old age will be a relief one day.

So that’s where I’m at in the beginning of 2010, as I continue to work to relax into my life and age. The less panicky  I become, the more I can see that these people that I have felt so insecure about in the past have their own lives to contend with. Our personal worlds orbit around ourselves so tightly that it’s often difficult to see what someone else is going through. It’s so important to remember that we’re all human and to have compassion for others’ journeys. I love my life, with all of it’s flaws and dramas, and I wouldn’t change it with any one of theirs.

Although I wouldn’t mind the $4000 jackets.

Reason #108

…that Drew is Tigger-ey…

DREW’S FRIEND (chin on the ground over a 90 lb blonde standing next to us): Dude, I think she’s famous.

DREW: Man, who gives a shit? Models are like tribbles, they’re fucking everywhere. You can’t get away from them. You open up a bathroom door in any club and piles of them fall out with coke all over their noses…

Christmas Miracles

Well… I’ve got a wicked hangover at the moment and haven’t done anything all day long so I thought I’d fill you all in on my weekend.

Friday night found me at the gorgeous home of my fancy friends Luke and Jack for a snowman themed holiday party. They have a beautiful condo right at Astor Place and always go out for their parties. There was a big ice sculpture of a snowman and the bartenders wore top hats and there were plenty of hors d’ouevres being served by waiters with trays. If I tried to set up a bar and some waiters in my apartment that would be the whole party. The ice sculpture would have to go in the tub. But their place is huge and sleek and modern with a windows running along the whole side of the building so you can feel like a movie star while gazing down 7th Street from different angles.

The singer from the Counting Crows lives next door and Norah Jones is in the building somewhere too. Mike suggested we go ringing some doorbells and see who turned up, but we behaved and simply drank and snarked over the bad ensembles some of the women were wearing. I looove a roomful of bad ensembles when I’m getting my drink on and no one dresses more horribly than a nerdy fag hag at a holiday party.

There was a guy plinking out Christmas carols at the grand piano (yes, they have one of those too) and I was tempted to lay on it and sing “Making Whoopee” a la Michele Pfeiffer in The Fabulous Baker Boys. Since it was a party full of gays I’m sure no one would have objected, but I don’t know the words and my corset was so tight it was all I could do just to sit down, so rolling around on a piano was out of the question. Maybe next time they have a party I’ll rehearse a repertoire ahead of time.

And then a Christmas miracle happened for me: Along with the Mikes (Mike and his boyfriend, who we differentiate by calling him Mike Squared), I brought some of my co-workers and we got into a discussion with some other partygoers about earth and animal consciousness. Sushi, the head buyer at PF, and I have gotten into vicious arguments about fur in the past. I buy the lingerie and handle all the consignment for the store, and I refuse to buy fur for those departments. He liked some fur lined hoodies that his friend wanted to put in the store on consignment and I refused to take them and it turned into a war.

This was a couple of years ago and after that I felt that my point had been made. So I’ll crack bitchy jokes about the fur he buys but I don’t fight him really hard on it because he already knows my opinion and I don’t want to be unpleasant with people I like and have to work with.

For the record – here is my view: I have always loved fur. My first memories are of a white rabbit trimmed blue velvet coat my mother dressed me in. It had a fur hat and a fur muff and I felt like a princess in it. Through high school I collected vintage fur coats and muffs and had a ton of them. My mom has always picked them up for me when she would see good ones as well. But as my consciousness grew about it and I learned of the suffering that goes on, I realized I couldn’t justify my love of real fur anymore. So I would never buy it now, but I do have two short black jackets that I am just not ready to give up, although lately I’ve been wearing them a lot less often because I feel like a hypocrite when I put them on.

Anyhoo, so we got on the subject of fur and I made my usual point about the fact that in China they will just stick an animal on a hook and skin it alive and that is one of the many reasons that I don’t think it’s okay to buy fur. And Sushi turned to me and said, “You know, years ago when we would fight about this, I just thought ‘fuck you!’, and that you were just being a bitch. But now I understand your point and I think you’re right.”

My jaw dropped open and just hung there. Did I just hear these words from one of the most rabid fashion fags I know? I think there may have been a chorus of angels singing somewhere, although perhaps that was just the free-flowing vodka talking. Still, I was floored and thrilled and it gives me great hope that change in consciousness is indeed possible even with the most stubborn cases.

Then the next night Drew had a gig at Don Hill’s with Bloody Social and before I knew it I found myself surrounded by models at the front of his stage. It was like this cartoon I’ve had up on my fridge for so long it’s old and yellow:

That pretty much sums up my life so far and describes last night…

I have a strict policy about standing right in front at my boyfriend’s gigs. I think it’s gauche and distracting and I prefer to stand further in the back where I can watch a little more anonymously. To me it looks very amateur when the girlfriends line up at the front of the stage and glare at fans like they own the band.

And you all know how I feel about models – tepid at best. But there it is, because of this particular band I have slowly found myself inducted into a pack of them like Mowgli with his pack of wolves. I fought long and hard, people, with much scowling and bitchy sarcasm. I tried my best to be as terrifying an unapproachable as possible. But eventually I had to give in and be nice to someone, and since all the someones in the entourage are 6 foot tall, 22 years old, 100 lbs and gorgeous, I had no choice but to bite the bullet and befriend the beautiful. And it turns out that some of them are actually all right.

So there I am, covered in tattoos and a crappy attitude (cue the song…”one of these things is not like the others…”), doing a dumb dance with my supermodel bff (who is actually quite badass) and her lanky pals at the front of the stage. Of course Drew mocked me afterwards, but I know he’s relieved that I’m actually getting along with people instead of giving him constant grief with the insecurity that ensues when I’m surrounded by gazelles.

So there are my Christmas miracles: less fur at PF, no fur flying at the gorgeous people convention. Pretty awesome. And then at the end of the night when there were no cabs, a wasted Brooklyn mook in an expensive white SUV stopped and picked us up and drove all the way home in the snowstorm, just to be nice. It was heaven-sent and hilarious in a really comical and completely New York kind of way. So maybe that’ll be the next New York type I befriend, I have a feeling they’d love my model crew.

This photo’s a little beat up and blotchy because it’s a polaroid that knocked around in a drunken dancing girl’s purse all night, but I like it anyway.

It’s So Rock!

Text messages at 11 pm:
Me: Better have bail money ready, I’m goin’ in.
Dennis: I’ve had bail money at the foot of my bed since I met you.

I have set my life up in my own comfort zone and I’m totally uninterested in stepping out of it. 
I hang out in shitty rock and roll bars with my angry rock and roll friends and I like it that way. I get the appreciation I crave from the rock boys and I can relate and have fun with the rock girls. We all have plenty to talk about and we agree on what music should be played. I like knowing who the bartenders are and getting drink tickets and VIP passes when my friends’ bands come to town. I like my little rock and roll world. I feel safe in it. If I need a vacation from that I just hang out with my favorite gays and they make me feel equally safe and loved while standing at the bar or eating brunch and talking about my need for shoes or their latest filthy sexual encounters. For the most part it’s a very contented little East Village life that I lead. 
But of course life is not always about being safe and I am currently being thrust into a discomfort zone that is teaching me all kinds of new crap about my own deep-seated insecurities that I don’t care to learn: My boyfriend Drew is busting his ass playing drums with a couple of different and worthy outfits, and one of them is getting a lot of attention and drawing a very upwardly mobile scene. Things are moving along at a fairly good clip, which means that I have suddenly found myself spending time in rooms jammed up to the gills with models, movie stars, photographers, and hipster guys in ironic hats. It’s frigging killing me.
It has become painfully obvious that I am a deeply insecure person and get panicky outside of my own environment. When pulled out of the rock and roll element I get prickly and defensive and paranoid. I stand with my arms folded and say bitchy things to random strangers. I sneer at the men and watch the women around me with an eagle’s glare, scanning for any infringement upon my territory or person. I overreact to tiny infractions and I scowl a lot. Suffice to say that when I am not feeling comfortable I am a big, fat, high-maintenance pain-in-the-ass girlfriend, not much fun when someone is just trying to play a good gig and deal with the socializing that goes along with that.
Most of my life I’ve had good reason to torture the men I’ve been with. They deserved it. But I don’t now. Drew is very much in love with me and when we are out he is hyper-conscious of making sure that I feel safe, that I have a drink, that I’m not left standing alone, and that I know where he is in the room at any given time. He’s a complete gentleman and a total fucking champion. And yet the first time he had a gig with this band I could feel myself veering on the edge of insanity a number of times, and when I head into crazy territory he’s the one that suffers. He pays for things like me having to shove my way to the sink through a gaggle of tiny, pretty, young heads on sticks discussing how addictive getting tattooed is:
Model #1: “I have 2 now and I might get a 3rd! I just can’t stop!”
Model #2: “Yeah, I’m going to get a yin/yang symbol on the back of my neck next.”
Model #3: “You guys are sooo crazy!”
Crabby, overly tattooed crone (that’d be me) trying to get to the soap: “Excuse me…excuse me…excuse me!”

Then right after the bathroom encounter a horrid little asian girl came speeding out of nowhere and began hopping up and down on Drew like an amped up puppy. I stopped short in mid-sentence in a rage and he squirmed out of her grip with a panicked look on his face, knowing full well that in my current tweaked and semi-drunken state something bad could very well ensue. 
As he grabbed me and we moved on I took a moment to turn back, lean down close to her, look her in the eye, and put my forefinger up into her surprised little doll face. I’m pretty sure my message was clear but when we got back to the dressing room she was off and humping him again. I realized at that moment that I was only torturing myself by trying to control the moves of an obvious dipshit with no sense of self-preservation. So I sat down with our friends and let her leap around unfettered until Drew was able to extricate himself and she toddled off, I imagine to find some guy with an ironic hat to blow in the bathroom.
Fast forward to a gig on Thursday night and I knew it would be even more of the same. In fact, truth be told, there is a decent chance that things may continue to expand exponentially far and beyond the reach of my angry forefinger. And I want this for my boyfriend. He works his ass off, he’s a brilliant, well-respected musician, and he deserves to have people into him and to be able to make a living doing what he wants to do. But there is nothing that makes me crabbier than spending time in a roomful of horny models and socialites, or even worse, leaving my boyfriend alone in a roomful of horny models and socialites. Ay, there’s the rub.
I had a little talk with myself before we left the house. My mantra for the night was, “Everything is okay, let the models grope your boyfriend. Everything is okay, let the models grope your boyfriend.” Meaning: my guy is awesome, deserves my trust, and behaving like an angry control freak is just going to make his night suck and make me feel shitty about myself. And I know that my nuttiness in those situations doesn’t really have to do with not trusting him. It has to do with my own childhood bullshit and insecurities about myself.
So we went and so they came—the famous waifs that pretentious security will always shove you out of the way to make room for (Gosh, sorry, sir, should the ordinary people refrain from eye contact, too?), the hipster boys, the tiny heads on sticks and the baby hookers in 80’s garb, fresh out of the box and primed for action. At times they all make me feel like a bulky, ancient bird of prey (Ca-caw! Ca-caw!!). 
But I sat back with cocktail in hand and let Drew do what he had to do while working on paying attention to what was going on inside me instead of just reacting unconsciously to what I couldn’t control. This was not always easy once the party reached its peak and they put up a stripper pole on the stage so the girls could really get rolling (HAWT!!). The DJ slaughtered great songs and bad ones by mashing things up: two seconds of Baba O’Reilly crashing into 30 seconds of Eye of the Tiger slamming into Mr. Roboto. He would play just enough of a great song to lull me into a moment of happiness and then tear it off unmercifully to be replaced by two seconds of something crap from the 80’s. Are people in clubs now so ADD that they can’t hear a full song? Why would anyone need to hear even two seconds of Eye of the Tiger, especially when Baba O’Reilly is starting up? I could feel a vein throbbing near my temple.
First girl on pole, swinging her hair into my face as I try to pass: “Oh my God, I love this song!”
Second girl on pole: “I know, it’s so ROCK.

So what I’m figuring out is this: The world has indeed been taken over by those jocky popular kids we hated in high school. For the most part they’re rich, stupid, young, pretty, over privileged and unfortunately they own New York now and there’s nothing the rest of us can do about it. They’re the people that I came to this city to avoid and when I’m forced out there among them again I revert back to my sullen, resentful childhood self. I hate them before they can hate me and I flail around angrily trying to gain back the illusion of control that I have when I am with my people in my dark rock dens of safety. 
Also, I am no longer their age and when I’m in a roomful of incredibly beautiful twenty-something women, a portion of whom would like to fuck my boyfriend (who is closer to their age than I am), I get a little testy. But the truth is that I don’t want to be twenty again. Christ, it was painful enough the first time around. And although I wouldn’t mind having their perfectly flat stomachs and delicate bird arms, I would never trade who I am for who they are. I like my life and I like being an angry rock chick with big boobs and scars and too much makeup on. So I’m going to continue to repeat my mantra, suck it up and support my boyfriend, and be glad that Dennis is good for bail money. 

Wish me luck, people.

When Models Attack!

This morning I was walking to work in my usual January fashion–very quickly and crabbily, wearing the same f-ing jeans and sweater I’ve been wearing all winter because I’m sick of the cold and not getting enough light and don’t give a shit anymore what I’m wearing. And I was late because I didn’t want to get dressed and go to work in the first place, so I was walking even faster than usual and feeling a little stressed.

While I’m walking down a fairly empty street in Soho I am passed by a very tall and attractive girl, obviously a model. The neighborhood is littered with them and they are easy to identify because of their height, the standard no-makeup on perfect face and the long, expensively coiffed but messy, natural brown hair. She also had on the sneakers and high quality but standard looking wool coat they always wear.

So our model does that really annoying thing that is a staple of NY rudeness, the pass and cut off move where the person speeds up just fast enough to pass you, then cuts in really close and steps in front of you so that you have to slow your speed for a second. This is an annoyance technique that works twofold: first, you have the sudden invasion of your space by a body coming up from behind and veering too close, second you get the forced stride break that jams up your energy and motion.

And me, being my cranky January self, decided not to slow down and stepped on her heel. I might even go so far to admit that I may have purposely timed my foot to step on it. It is not easy to admit that I am so incredibly immature, but there it is. I’ll state it for the record: at times I am incredibly immature. Many moments throughout the day I strive to take the high road, but once in a while, especially when it’s cold and I’m cranky and late for work and don’t want to be cut off when there’s plenty of frigging space for two people on the sidewalk, I let my lower nature take over and do its rotten thing.

But then I felt a little bit badly about the bratty behavior, so I said, “Sorry!” To which our tall beauty turned around and gave me the dirtiest of looks. I mean, she looked at me like I was a bug. Which of course just goaded me back into being even more rotten, so I added, “But you shouldn’t cut people off.”

She swung her head around and angrily mouthed the words, “What did you say?”. She actually said it out loud, I’m sure, but I had my Ipod blasting and I couldn’t hear anything except Ryan Adams whining about whatever girl he was ruining at songwriting time. Then very quickly she twisted around so that she was walking very closely by my side and started jamming her elbow into my arm. I was stunned. I have never experienced this bizarre and particular move, and said (probably too loudly because I couldn’t hear), “What the fuck are you doing??”

She continued to elbow me and look at me threateningly while saying things that I couldn’t hear. I gaped up at her unbelievingly and assessed the situation. Could I take her? She was incredibly tall and obviously crazy. How humiliating would it be to have my ass kicked in public by a model! Oh, the red-faced shame of it…

And truthfully, I don’t know that I have enough rage left in me to engage in fisticuffs anymore. Although still cranky, I am lazy and somewhat contented in my dotage. So I said, “Look, I said I was sorry, but if you don’t want to have your heels stepped on you shouldn’t cut people off like that.” At least that’s what I think I said, it was all happening very fast and internally I was veering wildly from adrenaline fight mode to total outside-of-body amusement at the ridiculous situations I regularly get myself into. And while this was going on Ryan continued to cry a river in my ears because I was too disconcerted to shut the ipod down.

Then just as quickly as she veered into me, she turned sharply and veered into the street, still muttering words forever unheard and leaving me feeling stunned, a little bit frightened, and weirdly giggly.

And this, my friends, is a first-hand account of when models attack. I am relieved and happy to say that I escaped unscathed, and perhaps a little wiser. Next time I step on a model’s heel I’ll make sure the ipod is turned off first so I won’t miss what she says.

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