125: CYA

I. Friday: Year of The Dragon

One of the things I miss about living with Andrea is that when her mom would come to visit, she’d bring a ton of food. Like cases of diet Coke, frozen pans of homemade lasagne, and the occasional bottle of duty free Absolut if she’d just been to Canada to visit her sister. So for this past weekend, she and Andrea’s aunt made a pile of food for her birthday dinner. A tomato and cucumber salad. Meat balls the size and weight of golf balls. Baked shells with zucchini and onion. A chocolate cake with mango preserves. I spent the time catching up with Andrea’s brother and sister. Jenn and I bonded over the amusing annoyance of living with lovey-dovey roommates, as single girls are wont to do. And then there were presents.

For some reason, I was feeling especially giggly and ridiculous. Maybe it was the slightly overheated apartment, but I felt refreshed and energized after dinner. After bidding everyone adieu, I headed out to the Big Whore to see Joe’s band play. I took the bus to Wicker Park, and was rewarded with the sight of a guy wearing dark denim jeans and a faded denim jacket. His outfit looked like a shoddy leisure suit which, with his wraparound sunglasses, looked ridiculous.

For once, the Big Whore was crowded, albeit with yuppies and underage college students. I found Jacinda near the stage, next to a group of bald guys drinking Miller Lite and ogling the women who had to pass them in order to get to the rest room. It was klassy. My friend Jeremy was in attendance with a bunch of people from work.

Joe’s band, Fever Dog, were dressed like various characters in the Chinese Zodiac. Joe, looking like he’d done a face plant in a bowl of pudding, was supposed to be a dog. I didn’t figure this out on my own — Jacinda told me. The small lead singer of the band wore dragon horns, making him look like Maleficent in Disney’s “Sleeping Beauty”. Between songs, they’d read descriptions of different signs from a Chinese restaurant menu, then pelt the audience with candy. It was more excitement than I could stand, so I went out for some fresh air with Jeremy and the others.

The kids from work were glassy-eyed and hyper. Between admiring one girl’s hair color (red with subtle blond streaks) and cracking jokes, they tried to figure out where to go next. They wandered up the street, but not before taking my cell phone number so they could call me after Joe’s set. Which they did not. Which was totally fine as I was exhausted after standing in a sweaty bar.

When Fever Dog finished their set, Jacinda and I immediately sat down and started packing our stuff to go. She had to work and I just had to sleep. My co-worker Kofi and his rather attractive friends came in to say hi to Joe, then scampered off into the night. Joe, Jacinda, and I went home, scoring parking on Belmont right smack dab in front of the Abbott Hotel. We saw a woman across the street, wearing a chubby and a leather mini skirt, but I couldn’t be sure if she was a “lady of the night” or just fashion forward.

II. Saturday: Hmm

I got up at 10:00 am, just as Jacinda was getting up and realizing that she was supposed to be at work. She dashed out, and the dog and I sat on the couch watching network television. At some point, I moved things around my bedroom, pretending to clean. Finally, at 1:30, I decided to go for a walk by myself. I walked south on Broadway, stopping at the hardware store to examine the light bulbs. Stef called, we made plans for the next day, then her roommate Jenny and I quoted “Beyond The Valley of The Dolls” to each other. Stef cut us off and I continued with my constitutional, feeling like a grumpy old man smoking a cheroot with a hankering for a bowl of chowder. I got even grumpier when I found the post office closed. Some french fries at the neighboring McDonald’s were consoling, but I did not feel truly healed until I bought the new issue of Allure at Parkway Drugs. That, some fancy shampoo, and a headband.

I haven’t worn a headband since the seventh grade, and back then they were puffy fabric-covered affairs from the local gift shop. Kim, my oldest friend, will attest to this fact and to my various fashion faux pas. But this new headband is all tortoise-shell-lookin’, and doesn’t make my head look huge. I celebrated my find with a good hour at Tower Records, reading foreign editions of Vogue instead of the American edition, which had the gall to run a picture of the epitome of crassness, Britney Spears, on its cover.

Whatever happened to real models on magazine covers? Given that most fashion magazines must now compete with celebrity rags like In Style and People, Allure and Harper’s Bazaar have been featuring actresses on their covers. I am beginning to miss Linda Evangelista, a real model’s model who never tried her hand at acting (Cindy Crawford) or singing (Naomi Campbell) or running a restaurant (Claudia Schiffer) or writing (Naomi again). She put on the clothes, dyed her hair, rocked my world and that was it.

I am tired of reading about what kind of moisturizer Sharon Stone uses on the backs of her knees, or how much Jennifer Lopez loves her jeweler. I don’t get how the Olsen Twins can, with nary a hint of irony, cover Weezer’s “Island in The Sun” *and* launch their own line of clothing. I am tired of countless starlets who say their personal style is a mix of classic and couture, rock and Reebok. Because that’s what they all say.

I want somebody to come forward and say, in all seriousness, “Well, the look I’m shooting for is ‘junkie whore’.” Everybody’s so busy exercising good taste, trying so hard to get on Joan Rivers’ good side, that they all look the same. And who the hell wants to court Joan Rivers’ favor, anyway? Anyone who gets poor reviews from the TV Guide critic for playing herself in the television movie of her own life gets no love from me.

Being an awards show junkie, I look forward to Cher, Sally Kellerman, Maria Conchia Alonso, and the other ladies who have no problem wearing baby blue sequined jeans with a paisley bikini top and a pashmina shawl. I want Barbra Streisand to attend next year’s Oscars in the same see-through pajamas she wore the year she won for “Funny Girl”. I know it’s a long shot, but I’m keeping my fingers crossed just the same.

Back to the record shop. I perked up at the sight of the UK import of the new N.E.R.D. record, so I bought that and “Velvet Underground”. I spent the rest of the afternoon wondering what Jacinda was up to, then remembered that Jacinda was baby-sitting after work, and wouldn’t be home until late. Should I go to the L&L by myself? Go see the N’Sync movie that none of my friends want to see? Order food then pass out in a food coma in a couch?

Guess which one I picked.

III. Sunday: “You can’t buy happiness. But you can bloody well charge it.”

Stefanie, Dave (her boyfriend), Jenny (one of her roommates), and I made our way to Oakbrook for a little retail therapy. Along the way, we listened to 106.7 FM (“the fish”) and when we got bored listening to Christian pop music, turned off the radio and looked for funny billboards. We hit Old Navy first, ogling the glitter sweaters though ultimately we all get pajama bottoms — except for Stef, who wouldn’t give in to peer pressure. She’s so strong. On the way over to the mall, Bruce called to say that the baby he and Joan are adopting was on its way, so I’d have to hang out with their pets for a couple of days while they drove to the hospital. As I write this (it’s Tuesday afternoon), Bruce & Joan should be home with the baby now. So hooray!

Oakbrook is an outdoor mall, so there was no cruising in heated comfort. There was a slight chill in the air, so we had lunch at Houlihan’s which featured an “Oriental Grilled Chicken Salad” and “Dublin Pot Roast”. Being from Dublin, Jenny found the last item to be a bit of a mystery. We dished about the books we read as teenagers, and the research Jenny was doing. She interviews little girls about body image, and what they do and do not like about their Barbie dolls. What kind of lives did their dolls live, and what did they like to do. I was fascinated, but saddened because these damn dolls seemed to be having better luck with their love lives than I was. All that talk reminded me of an old neighbor in Brooklyn, a boy named Victor who, when I was 10 and he was 12, loved to play Barbie with me and my sister. Our favorite game was “Dynasty” — we’d stage catfights in the Jacuzzi, and arrange assignations in Barbie’s dream bed. Dave watched the football game on telly.

I didn’t find anything for myself at Sephora or at Marshall Field’s. While Stef shopped for foundation, Jenny and I made up our eyes to look bruised. The Prescriptives counter had a national artist (someone who works for the cosmetics company represented, not Marshall Field’s) who was from New York, so we bemoaned the lack of style in the Midwest and talked about the cost of housing. Our conversation was interrupted by a man in fishing hat and football jersey, who boasted that he was the number 1Acura salesman in the entire Midwest. He tried to imply that they were supposed to have had a romantic tryst the night before, which Paul (the Prescriptives guy) was *so* not feeling. After trying to sell the Paul a car, the Acura man tendered his apologies and stumbled away.

I finally found a Kiehl’s counter (for my annual bottle of Creme with Silk Groom hair conditioner) but they don’t take Visa. Had enough cash for a bottle of moisturizer, but the woman behind the counter gave us tons o’ samples. We stopped at Dave’s before driving home, where we met his dog, his older brother, his nieces. We had doughnuts, then talked about our fucked-up families on the way home.

The last couple of days have been pretty slow. I appreciate the quiet of Bruce and Joan’s, and the cable television, but according to Jacinda the dog misses me already. And, I must admit, I miss her, too. I went to the Gap last night with Jacinda, Liz, and Liz’s husband, Jim. We all seemed to vacillate between sheer joy and utter terror at the number of items you could get for a newborn baby. Miniature bell-bottoms, leather jackets, underpants emblazoned with the word “Gap” in glitter letters. I don’t know about you, but I don’t know that I’d like to associate the Gap with my crotch. But then, I may be alone on that feeling. Let me know if you feel the same, and happy halloween!


Jasmine (who is wearing gin and tonic-scented cologne, and is loving it)

“To be honest, I’d really like to go too far.” [Christina Aguilera]


Peaches – Fuck The Pain Away; N.E.R.D. – Things Are Getting Better; The Velvet Underground – I’m Set Free; The Sugarcubes – Dancing Queen





~ by Jasmine on October 30, 2001.

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