Monthly Archives: July 2008

Life, Draper Style

The reason you haven’t felt it is because it doesn’t exist. What you call love was invented by guys like me, to sell nylons. You’re born alone and you die alone and this world just drops a bunch of rules on top of you to make you forget those facts. But I never forget. I’m living like there’s no tomorrow, because there isn’t one.”

 

That’s a line spoken in one of the first episodes by the character Don Draper, in the AMC TV series Mad Men.  Pretty fucking intense, right?  Though there is much to be said about the complex & nuanced female characters on this show, I am, oddly for me, completely transfixed by this Don Draper character.  I’ve only watched like 5 episodes of the first season, but I am definitely hooked.

I don’t know if it’s because I identify heavily with people who have a horrible secret, or serious guilt issues, or maybe I’m just a huge cynic, but I almost completely agree with that statement above.  It kind of knocked the wind out of me when I heard it articulated right back at me on TV.  Maybe that’s sad.  I guess my amendment to that statement would be that yes, most people can’t and won’t feel love because it doesn’t exist– at least not in the way one thinks it does.  Most people, I think are living in a fantasy world, and are pretty much just lying to themselves.  That doesn’t mean there is no love, but I think that it is very few and far between, and doesn’t look like what you think it does or should, necessarily.  In my opinion, romantic love as we know it, is a completely constructed notion.

In that sense, I agree that all these distractions, these rules, all these things in our life that surround us on a daily basis that both shape and are shaped by us distract us from the fact that we are born and will die completely alone, and that ultimately, you are the only one you can depend on.  Basically, yes, we are actively and collectively fooling ourselves.  Though this may sound incredibly depressing, I thinkthe last part of the statement is really what illustrates Draper’s motives for not wanting to completely kill himself.  Namely, that because there really isn’t a tomorrow, and all we have is right now, fucking live it up.  Do the best you can, rage ahead because you know there is no hell, there is no one you will ultimately answer to but yourself.  Do the things that make YOU happy, do what YOU want, don’t live for other people– people that will ultimately dissappoint you, fuck you over, manipulate you to advance theirt own interests, or leave you hanging.  I mean, as long as you’re not hurting or impeding anyone in a malicious/fucked up way, you should live by your own terms.

It’s very anti-hero in the Tony Soprano sense– I mean, clearly, Don Draper is flawed (and was written by on of the guys who wrote for The Sopranos).  But I think there’s something refreshing about a main character who doesn’t buy into the “all people deep down are good” philosophy.  He’s like somewhere in between Batman & the Joker.

Also, someone started a blog called What Would Don Draper Do?  Awesome.

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Kidnap that Fool!

its way, way better if you have prior familiarity with the M.O.P. song “Ante Up”, but even if you don’t this is a delightful romp through our country’s colorful popcultural pastures.

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Let the River Run

Someone on the Interwebs recently posited that Jezebel’s popularity is likely due to the fact that “young women are underutilized at their jobs.” Well no shit. The entire blogging industry owes its life to the fact that millions of young people who work in offices–present company included– are bored shitless with their jobs. This blog owes it’s life to Coco and my boredom and career apathy. However I take issue with “underutilized” as I think it’s a bit generous. “Underutilized” implies that there isn’t enough for them to do, or the work they are given isn’t challenging or fulfilling enough to suck them in and minimize the desire for distraction. Blogs are the Solitaire of the Millennium (or the Aughts or whatever it is we’re calling the current decade now). I’m not underutilized, I’m just bored. The soul crushing dullness of each and every of my required tasks requires me to retreat into a world of Inter-web-sparked fantasy in which the people around me don’t feel the need to complement my skill with the copy-staple function. When reality is too boring, too dull and harsh to bear, that is when I feast on Jezebel and it’s ilk. Because I don’t want to be utilized. I want to be independently wealthy, or paid to do something, anything that requires thought.

However, if “underutilization” is your problem, I hear you. Sure it sucks to be at a job and want to do more and not be able to. But that frustration is good, it’s motivating and it keeps you striving. If striving is your bag, than you are probably one of those people who are just brimming full of ideas that your boss either refuses to listen to, or doesn’t see the brilliance of, cause she’s a page boy-cutted cunt who thinks you only exist to maker her dinner reservations and write down phone messages.

But what she doesn’t know is that all of those late nights when you’ve been kept late for no other reason than she can’t be bothered to turn the office light off by herself when she leaves, you’ve actually been working on something! Something big! Something great, something that your boss could never conceive of in the forest of mediocrity that are her wildest dreams! So you’ve been working away, despite the fact that your boss keeps you running your legs off with every silly, indulgent request, AND despite the fact that you have none of the actual experience, client background or business acumen required to conceive of something like this (otherwise wouldn’t you have just applied for a better position?), but it’s no matter.

You don’t have any real “launch date”in mind for this project that you’ve been toiling over, but the whole thing wil probably come to light on the day when your boss is supposed to be giving a presentation to the most important clients you guys have. Her own proposal is mediocre, and you can see the fear in her eyes as she looks over at Mr. Finley, her boss, who is angrily/disappointedly shaking his bald head and glaring at her over the rims of his expensive, expensive Italian-amde eyeglasses. Just when the shit is two inches from the fan you step into the room carrying a bunch of rolled up paper and some pie graphs:your secret project!!

Not only is the idea and project you have in mind brilliant, it’s just the thing to save the company’s big account which may make the difference between having a job next year and pouring coffee for a bunch of suits at the diner across the street.

Now here’s the part we women usually fuck up. Here’s the part where you are genetically programmed to make the stupid mistake that countless television and movie woman before you have made: the presentation-as-peace-offering. As you watch your boss begin to crash and burn, feelings of guilt enter your mind: she’s older than you and has worked so hard, and now she’s going to get fired? that doesn’t seem fair. She has a husband. Two kids. A Big House. How is she gonna pay for that if she loses the big account? She looks so nervous and helpless, doesn’t she? Almost childlike in that Ralph Lauren Purple Label suit, like a little girl playing “office” in mommy’s clothes. How can you, who she has trusted and relied on for so long, take advantage? Better to let her pass the presentation off as her own, saving her shame and the company’s best client. Your reward will be a tight lipped smile, no pay raise and a more pleasant work environment for approximately ten to fourteen business days.

Don’t do it.
Now, here’s the part where you stop being underutilized, and start skyrocketing to the top of your company like a business-casual bottle rocket. As your boss bites her lip and nervously shifts her weight from foot to foot looking like a virgin at Usher’s house,you step in front of her and bump her to the side with your hip causing her to spill the bottle of Saratoga Springs water all over herself. While she clumsily attempts to mop it off, grab the laser pointer out of her hand, address the biggest clients in perfect Japanese and begin the presentation that is gonna change your fucking life.

Afterward, when Mr. Finley hugs you and calls you the daughter he never had, and the Japanese clients have smiled and bowed more times than any politically correct media awareness group would be comfortable with, the office manager will take you downstairs where your boss, sobbing and broken is cleaning out her desk. The last thing you see before you run into the arms of the sexy, sexy guy in finance (who revealed only moments ago,that he has always had a thing for you) is the cheerful office handyman, spray-stencilling your name on your boss’s office door. As you catch his eye, he winks and gives you the thumbs up.

Sweet.

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Sophia Petrillo, an American Hero aka Go to hell, all of ya!

I assume you’ve all heard the news that we’ve lost my favorite Golden Girl, Sophia Petrillo aka Estelle Getty.  So I’ve taken the liberty of putting together some great quotes from the show.

Oh, but on a sidenote, Rue McClanahan aka Blanche Devereux was at my roommate’s office promoting some new show she’s on, and he got her autograph for me.  They had a conversation about what a giant fan I am.  Let the record show that although Sophia is my favorite Golden Girl, every single Golden Girls personality quiz I have ever taken has resulted in me being Blanche.  Que sera, sera.  Also, I actually de-framed a picture of me and my cousins to accommodate her autograph. 

Anyhow, back to the prolific Sophia.  Enjoy:

  • “Let me tell you a story. Sicily. 1912. Picture this. Two young girls, best friends, who share three things: a pizza recipe, some dough and a dream. Everything is going great until one day a fast talking pepperoni salesman gallops into town. Of course, both girls are impressed. He dates one one night, the other the next night. Pretty soon, he drives a wedge between them. Before you know it, they pizza suffers, the business suffers, the friendship suffers. The girls part company and head for America, never to see one another again. Rose, one of those girls was me. The other one you probably know as Mama Celeste.”

 

  • Blanche: Well, what do you know? Sophia has a past!

        Sophia: That’s right! But unlike yours, I didn’t need penicillin to get through it.

  • Sophia: Oh Dorothy, can I make a little suggestion when you go for your makeover?

          Dorothy: Sure. What is it?

  • Sophia: Don’t expect a miracle.

 

  • Blanche: My whole life is an open book.
Sophia: Your whole life is an open blouse!
Rose: Sophia, do you think it’s wrong for a girl to sleep with a man she’s only known a few       hours?
Sophia: It’s a sin.
Rose: See! Sophia agrees with me.
Sophia: All I said was it’s a sin. Personally I’d go back to eating fish on Fridays if His Holiness gave that one the green light.
  • Rose: Oh Sophia, I want to explain about last night. When I was a little girl one summer we had a terrible thunderstorm…
Sophia: Excuse me Rose, have I given any indication at all that I care?
  • Dorothy: [on menopause] What is the big deal, Blanche? It’s nothing. Look at it this way: you don’t get cramps once a month. You don’t go on eating binges once a month. You don’t get crazy once a month.
Sophia: You just grow a beard.
Dorothy: Don’t listen to her, Blanche.
Sophia: You grow a beard, Dorothy! Believe me, I woke up one morning, I looked like Arafat!
Blanche: Oh, my GOD!
Rose: I never grew a beard!
Sophia: You never grew brains, either!
  • Sophia: [upon learning that she’s not invited to see Burt Reynolds with the others] Fine, break an old lady’s heart. If you need me I’ll be out back with the rest of the garbage!

 

  • Police Officer: Where are your roommates, Mrs. Petrillo?
Sophia: They’re not here.
Dorothy: MA!!!!
Sophia: Don’t “Ma” me, you cheap floozy!
Dorothy: Ma, you would do this to your own flesh and blood?!
Sophia: You’ll get over it, Dorothy. And if you don’t, who cares?! I’m on my way to see Burt Reynolds!
[Sophia walks out of the police station triumphantly clutching the tickets in her hand, while Rose, Blanche and Dorothy cry out to her from their cell]
  • (not a Sophia quote, really, but awesome all the same) Burt Reynolds: [to Sophia] Which one’s the slut?

          Dorothy, Rose, Blanche: I AM!!!

  • Dorothy: We’re interested in arranging a funeral.

        Mr. Pfeiffer: Isn’t that lovely. The three of you planning ahead for Mother.

Sophia: Hey, Puh-feiffer, how would you like a punch in your puh-face?
  • Dorothy: Merry Christmas, Rose. Merry Christmas, Blanche.
Rose: Merry Christmas Dorothy, Merry Christmas Blanche.
Blanche: Merry Christmas Rose–
Sophia: What the hell is this, The Waltons?
  • Sophia: If you didn’t come here to apologize, why don’t you leave?
Angela: Why should I apologize?
Sophia: I’ll tell you why, because you’re nothing but a back-stabbing Judas in sensible shoes!
Angela: Oh, yeah? Well, you know what your are? You’re a two-lire tramp with cheap bridgework!
Sophia: May you put your dentures in upside down and chew your head off!
Angela: May your legs grow old and gnarled and withered like an olive branch… [looking at Sophia’s legs] you should be so lucky.
Sophia: May your moles grow hair thicker than Jerry Vale‘s!
Angela: May your marinara sauce never cling to your pasta!
Sophia: Oooooh [biting her own fist], that does it! Come back here and say that to my face!
  • Blanche: I am abhorred!
Sophia: We know what you are Blanche. I’m glad to finally hear you admit it.
Blanche: Sophia, I said “abhorred”.
Sophia: A whore, a slut, a tramp, it’s all the same.
  • Sophia: Eighty-one years I’ve eaten fish on Friday, even when the Pope told me I didn’t have to. I go to Mass, I light candles, I say novenas, and for what? So it could all be flushed down the toilet because my daughter insists on going out with Father Happy Pants?

 

  • Sophia: [describing what happened after she broke her glasses] It took me six hours to find my way home.
Dorothy: Ma, if you couldn’t see, why didn’t you call me to come get you?
Sophia: I tried to, but every time I put in a dime and dialed, a condom popped out. I’ve got 5, you want ’em? A lifetime’s supply.
  • Sophia: [Singing to the tune of “Thanks for the Memories“] “Thanks for the Medicare / For Blue Cross and Blue Shield / For a hip that finally healed / Remember, on prescriptions, generic is a steal / We thank you so much!” Okay, what did you think? Now don’t hold back, I can take the criticism.
Blanche: Depressing.
Dorothy: Awful.
Rose: Stinky.
Sophia: [Unplugging her boombox and storming out] Go to hell, all of ya!
  • Dorothy: Ma, ma, you promised you’d stay in your room ’til the meeting was over.
Sophia: Who am I, ALF?
  • Sophia: My name is Sophia Petrillo and my idea of a good psychiatrist is a bartender who pours without a spout.

 

  • Sophia: [to Blanche] You know what I can’t stand anymore? That phony accent of yours. What is this, Designing Women?

 

  • Dorothy: Ma, another hot toddy? I think I’ve had enough!
Sophia: Shut up and drink.
Dorothy: This is the fourth one! Ma, that’s an awful lot of whiskey!
Sophia: I only put whiskey in the first one.
Dorothy: Oh.
Sophia: The second and third were vodka.
Dorothy: No wonder my head is spinning!
Sophia: This one’s part Amaretto, part Sambuca. That should kill everything. It killed your father.
  • Buddy: Rose Nylund?
Sophia: No, and if I start acting like her, pull the plug!
  • Sophia: Who’s Laszlo?
Rose: He’s a Hungarian sculptor we’ve all been posing nude for.
Sophia: [looking chagrined] In the future, a simple “None of your business, Sophia” will suffice!
  • Sophia: You, Dorothy, are the biggest disappointment to hit the streets since the AMC Pacer!

 

[While Angelo is looking away, Sophia slaps Stan across the face.]
Sophia: Shut up and play ball, you yutz! [To Angelo] False alarm, never mind.
  • Blanche: Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m gonna go take a long, hot, steamy bath with just enough water to barely cover my perky bosoms.
Sophia: You’re only gonna sit in an inch of water?!
  • Sophia: Look Rose, God doesn’t make mistakes, we were all put on this planet for a purpose. Blanche, you’re here to work in a museum so that art can be appreciated by humanity. Dorothy, you’re here as a substitute teacher to educate our youth. And Rose, you’re here because the rhythm method was very popular in the 20’s.

 

  • Rose: [preparing her bio] I just found out I’m the most boring person alive.

        Sophia: Did something happen to Regis Philbin?

  • Dorothy: Ma, why do you constantly look for ways to amuse yourself at my expense?
Sophia: Because we don’t have cable and I can’t crochet. This is who I am Dorothy. Learn to live with it, or medicate me!
  • Blanche: Well, Rose, I might not have any idea what it’s like to feel the kind of dependency you do, but, there was a time in my life when I tried quittin’ somethin’.
Dorothy: Blanche, you don’t mean…
Blanche: Sex, Dorothy. I tried quittin’ sex.
Dorothy: Obviously you fell off the wagon.
Sophia: And onto a naval base!
  • Holly: She’s feisty, zesty, and full of Old World charm, Sophia!
Sophia: She’s mopey, dopey, and full of crap, Rose’s sister. Don’t mess with me kid, I have the home field advantage.
  • Sophia: Ribs, great… why don’t you just kick the dentures out of my mouth?!

 

  • Sophia: I always wondered why blessings wore disguises. If I were a blessing, I’d run around naked.

 

  • Martha: I’m going to miss her so much.
Sophia: I know. But you said yourself, the last few weeks were so hard on her. At least now she’s resting peacefully.
Martha: I feel so bad.
Sophia: Hey, I’m the one who should feel bad. Lydia and I were wearing the same dress.
  • Dorothy: I’ll never be rich before I’m 21, I’ll never be homecoming queen.

 

  • Sophia: You can still be homecoming queen, it’ll just be a different kind of home.
Rose: Dorothy, you’re the smart one, Blanche is the sexy one and Sophia is the old one. And I’ve always been the nice one. Everybody likes me.
Sophia: The old one isn’t so crazy about you.
  • Dorothy: Ma, these are your twilight years.
Sophia: Are you kidding? I’m supposed to be dead! These are your twilight years

 

  • Sophia: Oh, my God. Now she’s with the other boyfriend. It’s like living with Cher. [goes into the kitchen]

        Dorothy: Ma.

       Blanche: Sophia, you’re here. And you have your suitcase. Does that mean you’re moving back?

       Sophia: I don’t get it. I’m gone a few days and the dumb one’s in there acting like a slut, while the slut’s in here being stupid.

  • Sophia: [about Stan] It means that ever since he made a fortune on that baked potato opener, he’s been coming onto you like Gang Busters and I don’t like it. Not that I’ve ever actually seen Gang Busters. But I did see Ghostbusters , I didn’t like that either. I mean, they couldn’t give the black guy one funny line? And how about that sequel!

 

  • Dorothy: Ma, don’t do anything I wouldn’t do.
Sophia: I think I crossed that line when I had a date.
  • Sophia: [posing as Blanche’s grandmother] Well, well, well. Looks like my little magnolia just turned into a big ho.

 

  • Sophia: [seeing Blanche in her red funeral dress] What’s with Satan’s Secretary?
Blanche: Sophia, I believe Phil would have liked this dress.
Sophia: Liked it? He would’ve looked great in it. Dorothy, I never understood why your brother liked to wear women’s clothes, unless he was queer.
Blanche: Sophia, people don’t say “Queer” anymore, they say “Gay.”
Sophia: They say “Gay” if a guy can sing the entire score of Gigi. But a six-foot-three, 200-pound married man with kids who likes to dress up like Dorothy Lamour, I think you have to go with “Queer.”
  • Blanche: I don’t really mind Clayton being homosexual, I just don’t like him dating men.
Dorothy: You really haven’t grasped the concept of this gay thing yet, have you?
Blanche: There must be homosexuals who date women.
Sophia: Yeah, they’re called lesbians.
  • Sophia: [to Clayton and Doug] So, Butch, Sundance? Who’s gonna throw the bouquet?

 

  • Blanche: [on being reported dead] What are people gonna think?
Sophia: They’ll think it’s time to elect a new town slut.
  • Sophia: I don’t like you being taken advantage of by some guy out of town. At least when Blanche does it it’s good for tourism.

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The Teen Menace

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Miley Cyrus and The Farce of Virginity

This past week, Miley Cyrus spoke with TV Guide (sidenote: who the hell reads OR buys TV Guide anymore?  That’s really what I’d like to know) about some bullshit, I dunno.  You can call me “over the hill” all you want, but Miley Cyrus/Hannah Montana (whatever the hell the difference is) is something that I never “got,” nor do I think I care to “get.”  Even with all the Vanity Fair scandal, I still didn’t really care to pay attention to her much.  However, it is this kind of holier-than-thou virginity bullshit that really kind of pisses me off. 

Oh, but first of all, in response to a question about what type of things she’d like to see herself working on in the future, Miley responded: “I’d love to do a younger, cleaner version of Sex and the City.” 

Umm, all the materialist brainwashing aside, wasn’t the fact that it was a show about older women, who would otherwise be commonly relegated and pigeonholed as sexless dried up old maids, talking (allegedly) honestly and openly about sex, like, the WHOLE POINT OF THE SHOW?  What the hell would the point be to make a “cleaner” (whatever the fuck that even means, as though sex is somehow “dirty”) version? 

Oh, it gets better.  Here’s Miley talking about her “purity ring” (shudder):

I like to think of myself as the girl that no one can get, that no one can keep in their hand. Even at my age, a lot of girls are starting to fall and I think if [staying a virgin] is a commitment girls make, that’s great.

OK.  Back the fuck up.  WHAT?!?!??!?!   I know if I had a daughter, I CERTAINLY would not want Miley “Purity Ring” Cyrus to be ANYONE for her to look up to.  in my opinion, purity rings are a bunch of bullshit white, Christian people do to make themselves feel better about their idiocy and to justify their audacious self righteousness and intrusive style of religion.  Why must a woman or girl’s value be placed on what she does or does not do with her fucking vagina?  What kind of message does THAT send? 

If Miley Cyrus wants to pose spread eagle on the cover of Vanity Fair, be my fucking guest, but if she wants to preach to me/the public about what an upstanding citizen she is because her father controls her mind and sexuality, I’m sorry, but that’s fucking bullshit.  There are so many awful things wrong with that last quote, I don’t even know where to begin.  First of all, having consensual sex at 16 with someone doesn’t mean that that someone “has” you, or is “keeping you in their hand,” whatever that even means.  In my opinion, people should have consentual sex when they feel they’re emotionally mature to do so.  It’s a choice very specific to that individual.  And you know what?  If they make a mistake, that doesn’t mean they’ve failed as a human being!  You know why?  Because there is a lot more to girls and women than when they choose to have sex, or who they choose to have sex with.  Who the fuck is this pushy fucking scumbag actress to tell ANYONE that they’ve “fallen” if they have sex before marriage?  Or rather, who the fuck is Billy Ray Cyrus to control how his daughter feels?  Or anyone else’s daughter feel about anything?

Oh, and to illustrate what a bastion of morality she claims to be, here are her 7 things she can’t live without:

1) “The Bible. It’s my ‘how-to’ guide for life.” 2) “My mommy!” 3) “My Yorkie Roadie and my lovebird Zazu.” 4) “Grilled cheese. Mmm…” 5) “Music and my beautiful Gibson guitar.” 6) “My black Chuck Taylor Converse sneakers.” 7) “My Sidekick.”

This basically makes me want to gouge my eyes out.  Im sorry you had to read that, but like, anyone who expects me to believe that they are “better” than me should probably not include both “The Bible” (how-to guide for life????  JUST KILL ME NOW) and “My Sidekick” in any top whatever list of bullshit “you” want to say about whatever. 

But, anyway, the bottom line is, how is it more of a positive thing to put other girls down because they’ve had sex or want to have sex?  So, what, they’re just magically supposed to be in touch with their sexuality when (and if) they get married?  How does that help your self esteem again?   Sorry, I’m just having difficulty understanding why being a fucking bitch to other girls is supposed to be something one should aspire to as a young girl.

Oh, and can we touch upon the fact that apparently, the normative definition of a “virgin” means that you have not had your vagina penetrated by a penis?  Why is it that, most of the time, whenever a penis is involved that this is the only type of sex that counts?  So, if you’re a lesbian, does that mean you’ll always be a virgin?  It’s like those people who think they’re virgins even if they have anal and oral sex.  Ridiculous.  Like, you’re a better person because you licked Johnny’s penis as opposed to sticking your vagina on it?  Please.

So, basically, there self-satisfied, self-important virgins can SUCK IT!

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Backdraft: The Musical!

Having lived in an around New York City for most of my life, I am used to the questions about it from people from other states, relatives, or family friends who are interested in what they percieve to be the whirlwind of cultural activities that a young professional woman must engage in on a regular basis.  Readings, plays, performances, eating at exotic restaurants and sipping chamapgne cocktails at record release parties while wearing achingly fashionable clothes and Manolo Blahniks, the ubiquitousness of which, a certain cable TV series may have slightly exaggerated. 

I am loathe to tell them the truth–that my after work hours are often spent at a 7:15 “Chisel!” class at my gym, getting stoned on my friends roof, wandering around Brooklyn with my boyfriend or cooking dinner. 

Yes, there was a year or two after I graduated from college where the novelty of open bars, magazine or product launch parties, and other seemingly glamorous events were still very fresh and, well, glamorous.  However, there are only so many free Skyy Vodka-sponsored cocktails one can imbibe before you realize that most of the people beyond the velvet ropes of the cheesy venues these events are held at, are equally bored, and equally seeking the promised glamour of this “Exclusive” event.  So a combination of getting tired of that scene, a serious relationship and a diminishing tolerance for alcohol have contributed to that increasing lame-ening of the list of activities I participate in.  WIth the exception of gallery openings which I always find at least somewhat worthwhile, and music shows at smaller venues I tend to avoid all of that stuff. 

When I explain this to people they sometimes seem slightly disappointed, as though I should be a more active cultural animal but they seem to understand in most cases when I describe the crowod of hangers on, the cheap, poorly mixed drink and the absurd “party photographers”.  However the one thing that no one can understand,  and about which I am constantly encouraged to feel shame is the fact that I never go to any theater performances of any kind, at all, ever.

 “You mean never?” they gasp incredulously. “But, you live in New York!”

Truly New York is a city known for its theater.  The cultural importance of something being on “Broadway” cannot be overstated, as people from outside New York imagine Broadway to be the height of metropolitan glamour and artistic sophistication.  These people probably have not been subjected to bus ads screaming “CLAY AIKEN IN SPAMALOT!!”  or “Elephant Man: The Musical”,  but even so, theater is absurdly important to New Yorkers and people from outside the city seem to need us to feel that it is important.  Even those who never, ever  go to the theater will cite it as one of the main cultural reasons to live in this city.  I just don’t enjoy it.   With actors in a movie or on TV at least their setting is believable. To me, theater, especially musical theater is just embarrassing.  All these grown men and women standing on a raised platform and pretending stuff, often without a set, without props or without costumes.  The goal being, to make us feel like we are actually watching a drama unfold.  I have seen some plays I liked, but only because the actor or actress was able to overcome the fact that they were standing on a wooden box pretending it was a boat/moor in Scotland/Danish castle/Italian balcony, and convince me that they understood what they were doing.  It didn’t last long though, and within moments I felt the familiar empathic embarrassment I feel when I see that lady painted green and dressed like the Statue Of Liberty in the park. Maybe my mind has been diluted so much by film and TV that I need actual context, editing and locations to truly bring me into the experience.  I especially hate when they talk to the audience as though they were just talking aloud to themselves.  Its  just silly to me and I tend to tune out. 

I saw a Tony Kushner play at BAM a couple years back because my boyfriend bought me tickets for our first Valentine’s Day together. He knew that I had watched Angels in America and figured this would be a good present.  Needless to say we hadn’t been together long.  We had dinner together before the show where he revealed to me his skepticism. 

“Yeah I mean, I don’t really like theater but I figure since you’re into it…” he shrugged.

“Oh well, yeah. I mean, I’m excited. I mean, I’m not really big into theater either but…this will be fun.”

“You’re…you’re not?”

“No”.

“Oh, Thank God. I can’t deal with theater people”

There are some “theater people” who are perfectly lovely.  Then there are the others, loud, per formative, clove cigarette-smoking dramatists who sign off their emails with a quote from Samuel Beckett and are about two socially-awkward steps above Dungeons and Dragons enthusiasts.  They stress me out and I’m not sure why.   Perhaps it was 4 years at the theater-person heavy Sarah Lawrence. Or maybe its just don’t respond well to grown ups pretending something is happening that isn’t, and asking me to pay to indulge them. 

We did have a good time and I must say enjoyed the play but more for Mr. Kushner’s wonderful writing skills than for the “performance” happening on stage.  I think my disdain is tied somewhat to the “stage voices”  the actors use.  All of these people yelling but behaving as though they are speaking in their nromal voice.  Everything is so exaggerated from volume to gesture to each and every personal quality the actors are so desperate to express. 

I know how unpopular my opinion is, and I know too how uncultured I sound but I cannot help it.  A friend of mine is into theater and often does plays in an around New York City which I have attended because I do beleive in supporting her, but I just dont know how Im supposed to react or what to say. Especially experimental theater.  I just don’t understand what Im supposed to be understanding.

 I love the visual arts, I love writing and poetry and music. I just cant really get down with the performing arts as such, unless its like a concert or something like that which happens to have a lot of theatrics to it. 

I would welcome the advice of any readers who can help me to understand and embrace theater instead of rolling my eyes at it, in all its forms. 

Oh, but I do like The Crucible.

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