Archive for January, 2010


Sunday, January 31st, 2010

Who am I to tell you what to wear?  Let’s just say I am clearly louder than your full-length mirror or the salesgirl in the store who told you and everyone else from a size minus-zero to 5X, “That looks really great on you — you should buy it!”  So, you learned about message t-shirts.  Let’s move on, shall we, to…


Do you frequent crafts stores?  Do you enjoy giving and receiving “homemade” gifts?  Do you change the windsock on your porch with each holiday?  Then you will never pull off that “high fashion” look.  If it’s something you crave, get a huge box of matches — right now — and burn any sweater with any of the following:  teddy bears, clouds and kites, snowmen and/or snowflakes, jack o’lanterns, kittens in a basket, (extra demerits if there is a ball of yarn in said basket), “fun” button covers — i.e., daisies, ice cream cones, four-leaf clovers, lady bugs.  Why?  The fact that you’re actually wondering frightens me, but here’s the skinny.  The last comment you want to evoke from others about your outfit other than, “Is that flammable?” is “That is so cute!”

There is no second childhood.  You had it, it’s over and, when you stop and think about it, you weren’t the one choosing your clothes when you were small enough to look adorable in sweaters appliqued with ballerinas and sailboats.  Repeat after me:  “Just because they make adult-size Tigger sweaters doesn’t mean I have to wear one.”  Thank you.  Sincerely.



Only peasants should wear peasant skirts.  Are you a peasant?  Perhaps you’re not sure.  Here are some questions to ask yourself, just to be certain:

1)  Do I eat root vegetables straight from the ground?

2)  Do I consider shoes “optional”?

3)  If I pour water onto the floor of my living room, does it turn to mud?

If you answered “no” to even one of the above questions, chances are you are not a peasant.  And you would be wise to note that, given the choice most peasants would go for the Chanel suit.

I’d write more today but you searching your closets and drawers for any of the above right now.  So I’ll give you time to “edit” your wardrobe.  But I’ll be back.  Probably sooner than you’d like…


Thursday, January 28th, 2010

New York.  Fashion capital if the world.  But I know — it’s hard to keep up.  Who has time to read “Elle” and “Vogue,” “Marie Claire” and “Women’s Wear Daily”?  One year hemlines are up, the next, they’re mid-calf.  Are animal prints in or out?  Is it the season of the chunky heel or the strappy sandal?  New York fashion.  It’s a bitch.

But if you live here or want people to think that you have that “New York sense of style,” you have certain responsibilities, chief among them owning a full-length mirror and peering into it before you leave your house.  Always try to ask yourself, “Does this outfit invite perfect strangers to mock me?”  But — what if you aren’t sure?  What if you just can’t figure it out?  Breathe a loud sigh of relief.  I am here.  Alas, I am but one person with a finite amount of time.  I can’t dress you, for god’s sake but please, do yourself and everyone else around you a favor and stay away from…


Now hear this — there is no message or information imparted on any t-shirt that is of interest to anyone who can walk and read at the same time.  We’re never met but I’ll go out on a limb and say that the “Rolling Stones” tongue t-shirt is probably not a good look for you unless you’re a hard-bodied 19-year-old on your way to a rock concert.  The streets of New York, for the well-heeled New Yorker, are not the place to pass along messages unless somebody asks and especially on a t-shirt.  Some cardinal rules:  if you are over the age of four and even contemplate wearing a shirt that says “Spoiled,” “Princess” or “Sagittarius, do not ever reveal this by removing whatever you were smart enough to wear over it.  Be bold enough to wear a t-shirt without hawking someone else’s product for free.  Calvin Klein would probably be appalled to see you in his t-shirt.  I’m appalled to see you in a Budweiser t-shirt with the silk-screened pot leaf on it.

A final note — those of you who insist on still wearing your thread-bare Ivy League t-shirt with “Harvard” or “Brown” emblazoned on the front, please  limit this to the gym or when you’re doing your laundry.  There’s a twenty-year statute of limitations on making everyone else feel inferior for partying in high school and your time has run out.  And please keep in mind that if everything after college didn’t suck so much you wouldn’t feel compelled to still be wearing that shirt.  Bet you miss the quad…


Monday, January 25th, 2010

For some reason many people take out life’s frustrations while food-shoping.  With high prices, often bad service and a sad economy, I’m feeling you.  But I have my own problems so please — take a page or two from “my” book…


While I’d be the last to arue that it’s difficult if not impossible to determine whether a fruit or vegetable is ripe just by looking at it, you will offend more than a handful of other shoppers by committing bold and blatant acts against produce.  And though many women’s magazines list the supermarket as an ideal place to expand one’s social life, keep in mind that no man has ever picked up any woman whose nose was buried two inches into a Casaba melon.


Sure, it’s tough deciding between the Lean Cuisine Chicken Marsala and the Weight Watchers Four-Cheese Pizza, but the freezer door is made of glass, not lead.  Therefore, especially the “go-green” among you, should be sensitive to the fact that your dinner decision should not include thawing out a caseload of Brussels sprouts.  While it is still true that “nobody doesn’t like Sara Lee,” nobody doesn’t like Sara Lee a whole lot more when the cake frosting hasn’t melted into the cardboard lid.


The cashiers have enough problems without having to try to explain to you why the fifty-cent coupon for elbow macaroni isn’t valid for lasagna, tortellini , or Peanut Butter Cap’n Crunch.


Okay.  So maybe you changed your mind about an item at the last minute.  Happens to all of us.  Nonetheless, tossing the frozen broccoli florets onto the tabloid rack is not only a rude and conspicuous way to reduce your shopping list.  If you have enough energy to be in the supermarket then surely you have enough strength to return the can of kidney beans to its proper shelf instead of rolling it down the condiments aisle.  Just saying…


If you’re going to go to the trouble of asking the cashier to do you a favor, think standing rib roast, not freezer bags.


You’re at the supermarket, not your nephew’s wedding reception, so “tasting a little of everything” is not only unacceptable.  It’s pathetic.  If the Bing cherries look so good to you, buy a pound instead of sneaking a fistful when the produce guy is hosing down the lettuce heads.


Understandable when someone is holding a knife to your throat, not when you want someone to watch your shopping cart.  Remember — if the woman in front of you with two months’ worth of groceries wanted to let you, with a six-pack of Diet Coke, get in front of her, she would have offered.


Saturday, January 23rd, 2010

This exclusively female species tends to live between Park and Fifth Avenues, generally from 60th to 86th Streets, though a smattering live in “Carnegie Hill,” a euphemism they prefer to the “East 90s,” which is just a tad too close to Spanish Harlem, an area the NORMA DESMOND ANTIQUITAS visits about as often as she does Payless Shoes.

Though she can typically afford a driver she can often be found, for no apparent rhyme or reason, riding the M2, M3 or M5 Fifth Avenue bus, clutching to her person her 60-year-old Chanel quilted purse and small, empty lavender Bergdorf-Goodman shopping bag.  From the Delman pumps to the hairstyle that hasn’t changed since the Eisenhower administration, she sometimes wears gloves that don’t quite conceal her bony, alabaster wrists, often an obscenely, over-sized and incredibly garish cocktail ring and always, though her fingers arthritic and covered with liver spots, a fresh manicure.  No matter the season, no matter the occasion, she will always smell like camphor balls soaked in Shalimar by Guerlain.

She and all other members of her order area adept at one skill above all others —  marrying or being born into enormous, vast, colossal wealth.  Though admittedly requiring less ability than pitching a Major League no-hitter or landing a prop plane in a hailstorm wearing a Hannibal Lecter mask, this is a talent more difficult to master than one might imagine.  When one’s entire arsenal consists solely of a degree in Art History from Marymount College and the ability to walk through Henri Bendel in cataract sunglasses and still correctly identify the entire Oscar de la Renta fall collection and yet live in a one-apartment-per-floor co-op on Manhattan’s Gold Coast with a terrace bigger than most center-hall colonials without benefit of ever holding a paying job, (tour guide at the Met does NOT count), now that’s a feat worthy of my applause.  And yours.

The NORMA DESMOND ANTIQUITAS must be credited for perfecting the anorexic body-type and is perhaps the only group who would not offer Nicole Richie a rice cake.  This doesn’t mean this species won’t meet others of her own ilk for lunch at the Carlyle or Le Perigord but, more often than not she’ll guzzle her High Ball or Apricot Sour and just pick at the food before ordering the waiter to “wrap it up for the colored girl who cleans for me.”

Many members of this species refuse to age gracefully and find nothing peculiar about a tight-pulled-back, collagen-infested face on an eighty-year-old body.  Unless it’s Joan Rivers.  Theirs is a species with many oddities — members will gladly spend thousands of dollars on a vase or brooch, yet are compelled to pilfer packets of Splenda from the local diner and plastic bags from D’Agostino’s.  They will not wear white after Labor Day or suede after Memorial Day but will wear the same shade of shmeared red lipstick year-round.  Some of them are physically strong but even those who walk with the aid of a cane or walker can beat you out of a cab or bus seat faster than Derek Jeter can steal second base.


Wednesday, January 20th, 2010

Though you should always expect the unexpected when hosting a party, there are some rules to always bear in mind:

1.   Never ask, “Are you having a good time?” because those who aren’t will lie, and those who are will be too high to understand the question.

2.  If it’s a choice between no coasters and coasters that look like fruit slices or parquet floor tiles, better to risk the rings on your coffee table.

3.  Grown-ups by and large, do not like dry cold cereal and those who do prefer it with milk at breakfast, not salted, roasted and hidden in a mixture of cocktail peanuts and teeny pretzels.

4.  If you love playing the “martyr,” do it over some truly worthwhile cause as no one at your party gives a damn how long it took you to peel and devein the shrimp.

5.  Given the choice, most people prefer lip bleach to fruit punch.

6.  Guests who offer to help serve, tend bar and clean up aren’t thoughtful.  They’re bored.

7.  Thought it’s not necessary that your home be immaculate for your guests to have a good time, remember there’s a world of difference between “lived-in” and “hoarder-house” dustballs.

8.  Most people are uncomfortable washing their hands with soap shaped like a tulip or a seashell.

9.  If G-d intended ice cubes to resemble any part of the human anatomy He’d have picked a more interesting place for them to float in than a highball glass.

10.  Styrofoam is for PACKING dishes in, not AS dishes to serve ANYTHING on.

So, now you know.


Monday, January 18th, 2010


Precursor to the dreaded sub-species Park Slopian Self-Absorbaurus, the Upper West Sidian Arrogantus is perhaps the proudest of all groups inhabiting the island of Manhattan.  Clinging to the erroneous belief that, were it not for him and his forebears, the Nova Scotia salmon would long be extinct, the Upper West Sidian is in fact responsible for the ever-increasing popularity of the abomination more commonly known as the “Everything” bagel, undoubtedly due to his self-proclaimed liberal political leanings extending so far as to not offend by exclusion any seed, grain, herb or condiment.

The typical Upper West Sidian finds nothing more satisfying than telling other species how much he loves living on the “Upper West Side” because the neighborhood is “so diverse.”  Do not burst his politically correct balloon by informing him that the neighborhood is almost exclusively upper middle class Caucasian unless, of course, one counts Morningside Heights, which most parents of Columbia undergrads do, preferring to drink driveway gravel than admit that their SAT-proficient issues are actually attending school in Harlem.  As they can sometimes turn on you when you when challenged, do not ever inform any member of this species that “diversity” is not defined by the number of Hunan, Szechuan and Cantonese restaurants within walking distance from your “pre-war six” co-op.

Without question the most boastful of species, it’s hard to get an Upper West Sidian to shut up about why he pities you for living anywhere else.  “Can you beat the architecture up here?”  Don’t think so.”  “Got Central Park on one end, Riverside on the other.”  “Have you seen ‘When Harry Met Sally’? That’s my building/my deli.”  Ignore that twinge of envy you might feel for a nano-second.  It will disappear the minute you realize you are jealous of someone whose major life point-of-reference is a mediocre Nora Ephron film which is not only quite sad, but also redundant.

Though skin tone might lead the casual observer to believe the Upper West Sidian a rather homogeneous bunch, there are sub-groups within the species and they can be most easily identified by profession: — social worker, psychologist, psychiatrist, pit musician;  by uniform — Banana Republic/J. Crew; post grunge haute couture vintage; black sweater and opaque tights/clunky bead necklace/crocheted shoulder bag;  by hobby — gourmet cooking, Pilates and/or African dance class and/or spinning, applying to neighborhood “Talented and Gifted” programs before sending their children to Calhoun.

Is it mere coincidence that the area boasts more therapists per square block than brownstones?  Perhaps, but maybe it’s divine intervention to help a species still unable to come to terms with the fact that there’s a Fairway supermarket in Brooklyn.  And it’s bigger.  And has free parking…



Monday, January 18th, 2010

Yes you.  Even at Applebee’s, you should behave like a human.  A kind of low-rent human admittedly but nonetheless, look around.  If you’re not doing any of the following, someone else is…

When dining out, you are on public display and though you may never see most of the other diners again, this is no excuse to re-create those awful dining habits you’ve cultivated at home.

You must also take into consideration the fact that other people in the restaurant are there to enjoy themselves and you must therefore do your best not to draw needless attention to yourself by exhibiting rude, coarse behavior.  Here are some general rules you might do well to keep in mind the next time you head out for dinner:

*Keep your conversation low:  if the people across the room are that interested in what you have to say, they’ll ask you to join them.

*Always treat your waiter with dignity and respect —  you’re at a restaurant, not Tara.

*There is no conspiracy going on and the fact that you even noticed that the next table got more bread-sticks than you should be taken up with your therapist, not the maitre’d.

*If you can afford to eat out, you can certainly afford a box of Sweet and Low, so no pocketing the sugar substitutes while the waiter is filling your drink order.

*Most people would rather dine with an arsonist than with anyone who collects “Round-the-Globe” matchbooks in a giant brandy snifter.

*It is always in bad taste to order any drink named after a Spanish contessa, Hawaiian island or duty-free British colony.

*While it’s perfectly acceptable to dress casually when dining out, remember that there’s a world of difference between “comfortable” and “Possible Hoarder and/or Crazy Cat Lady.”

If there’s more than one fork at your place setting, think “salad,” not “souvenir.”




Saturday, January 16th, 2010

Did you think I’d run out of annoying New Yorkers so soon?  For those of you reading my words for the first time, I was born in New York and have lived here mot of my life.  So don’t get defensive or tell yourself, “Here’s another Midwesterner who just doesn’t get us.”  I’ll get to the mid-west soon enough.  But for now, let’s add this annoying New Yorker to our list….


This species migrated from the West Village about 15 years ago, intiially drawn by cheaper square footage but ultimately because their work in Greenwich Village was done.  Like Lewis and Clark seeking to expand their expedition, it was time for CHELSEAMAN to create another “stunning” space in New York City and, at the time, Barney’s was right across the street from Williams-Sonoma, making the neighborhood as attractive to this species as herring to a penguin.

CHELSEAMAN’s two biggest passions while, at first glance, might seem diametrically opposed, are working out and food.  The average member of this species has less body fat than a Kenyan marathon runner but loves to eat fine food, whether prepared by him and/or his partner, a five-star chef or the Whole Foods take-out department.  In fact, if CHELSEAMAN could simultaneously dine on a Hamachi and Heirloom Tomato Salad and Pumpkin Risotto while doing power-crunches, he’d put in even more hours at the gym than he already does which, I think, is mathematically, technically and factually impossible.

CHELSEAMAN FABULOUSAURUS is perhaps the best, most meticuously groomed of all species, spending much of his expendable income on “product.”  Cleansers, toners, scrubs, moisturizers, creams, balms, sunscreens.  Shampoos, conditioners, voluminizers, serums, mousses, gels.  If you can rub it in, pat it on, soak it in, spritz it on, leave it in, rinse it out, CHELSEAMAN has at least tried it and swears it makes him look better, younger, hotter, smoother or, at the very least, makes his pores look smaller.

This is a hyper-sensitive  yet overly critical species, an order whose self-proclaimed impeccable taste in fashion and home decor is more refined, more sophisticated and superior to yours.  Pairing, for example, a Queen Anne desk with a Biedermeier chair will boil the blood of the average CHELSEAMAN, as will any sheet with less than a 600-thread count and every garment from Old Navy.

CHELSEAMAN is very protective of his neighborhood.  Though he continues to ponder whether heterosexuals are born tht way or chose the “hetero” life, he still doesn’t want him hanging out in his bars, gyms or restaurants.  Perhaps because this species typically does not procreate, many members choose to have pets, usually dogs, often tiny dogs named “Spike” or “Butch because that’s ironic.  He prides himself on his cerebral sense of humor and brilliant sense of irony.  Of course, this is all shot to hell the minute he dresses his Mattel-size dog, which he inevitably will, in a teeny-tiny Burberry rain slicker or fringed pleather poncho.



Thursday, January 14th, 2010


I know most of you with small children truly believe you have given birth to a combination Christ child/Mother Theresa/MENSA mega-genius/Stephen Hawking/Angelina Jolie-only-better, but try to bear in mind that this is something only you, your husband and your child’s grandparents buy into.  To everyone else, he or she is just some cute moppet whose looks will peak at about age five, who’ll be “gifted” until he hits pre-K and you find out that he, like all the other “gifted” children, are, at best, pretty average.

The rest of us have to deal with you and your children, which is bad enough when we have to dance around your MacLaren double-stroller on the streets of New York and put up with your “eye-roll” if we don’t move out of your way fast enough, or have to listen to your toddler asking, “Where’s the fairy princess?” over and over again because you’ve chosen to bring little Max or Emily to a Eugene O’Neill play thinking  the experience would be broadening.

They created places like Chuckee Cheese and MacDonald’s precisely so that you would have a restaurant to take your child to, where it’s okay to draw on the tables or where your child’s whining will, at the very least, be drowned out by the whining of other people his age.

As far as I’m concerned, until they start paying taxes, voting and contributing something to society other than the ability to look cute in a snowsuit, children should be left at home with a sitter.  What’s that?  You can’t afford a sitter?  Then maybe you shouldn’t be spending what little money you have dining out at the latest French/Asian fusion restaurant in town.  For those of who who still insist on dragging little Ava or Jackson with you so that at least you don’t have to talk to your spouse during dinner, here’s some food for thought:

* Don’t conduct mature conversations with your six-year old:  “This is what hamburger is before they chop it up, honey,” is always a poor second to “Shut up and eat your steak.”

* Precocious children are charming only if they offer to buy the next round.

* As a rule, children do not appreciate fine food., having not yet come to terms with the fact that there is an appreciable difference between Shrimp Scampi and SpongeBob action figures.

* Don’t expect other diners to understand that your toddler is cranky because he hasn’t slept all day;  they’d sooner buy him a Long Island Iced Tea than wait for you to shut him up.

* When it comes to something “warmly bundled up” at a restaurant, most people would prefer a basket of onion-pumpernickel rolls to your nine-month old.



Wednesday, January 13th, 2010

Okay.  So the stroller moms and yoga freaks are covered.  But when it comes to annoying New Yorkers, I’ve barely scratched the surface…


You can often spot this New York species walking the streets of trendy-only neighborhoods of New York City.  He is usually accompanied by his tall, lithe, often WASP, always blonde third wife and their children whom, more often than not, are named “Ava,” “Sophie,” “Zach,” and/or “Jackson,” and whom you will always mistake for his grandchildren.  ELDERDAD also has “practice” children from his previous marriages, parental “PSATS” if you will and, after an Amstel Lite or six, he will confide, with a weather-worn smile and hail-fellow-well-met crinkle in his eye, that his current kids are “profiting from all the mistakes I made with my older kids!”  That’s peachy, ELDERDAD — perhaps when your older kids get out of Hazeldon or Promises,  little Jackson or Ava will tell them what a fab dad you are now!

Like many species, ELDERDAD is most comfortable among his own, which explains why you can usually find him either wandering aimlessly through Whole Foods, eager to spend as much for a pound of organic red grapes as he would on an area rug, or coaching his kids’ softball or soccer games, attempting to bond with the younger dads.  Behind his back, the younger dads will refer to him as either “the old fart,” or “PopPop.”  That is, unless ELDERDAD suggests that they all go “shoot some hoops,” at which point they will jut call him an asshole to his face.

Other distinguishing features of ELDERDAD include his always unappealing head of hair, gray, graying or white, and either severly receding or pathetically pony-tailed.  When it comes to outerwear, ELDERDAD prefers either a baseball jacket with independent film company logo on the back, or three-quarter length, obscenely expensive black leather coat, preferably from Barney’s.

ELDERDAD’s environment is excruciatingly important, in fact key to the continued existence of his species.  He is happiest on land anywhere in SoHo, Tribeca and Battery Park City and characteristically does better in a loft, which he will always refer to as his “space.”  Though he wouldn’t think of living anywhere else, ELDERDAD and his family need to get out of New York, (which he always refers to as “the city,”), often.  In fact, ELDERDAD thrives on vacations, which Wife Number Three, in an attempt to sound European, will refer to as “holiday.”  And, while ELDERDAD’s political leanings lean sharply to the left, he’ll always opt to “holiday” in Vail, South Hampton or Park City, Utah, places where you’d have an easier time finding a Hyundai Elantra than you would a person of color.

Coming soon…

CHELSEA FAULOUSAURUS and more!  In the meantime, someone is watching so — behave yourself!