Tuesday, December 12, 2006

A New Series: The Truth Behind the Hairy Debate

I had been thinking about it for awhile. Should I or shouldn’t I take the plunge? It’d mean a different set of rules altogether and would require me to essentially “find myself” all over again…oh the pressure…

After toiling and agonizing, the decision was finally made. I was going to go for it.


I’m now a brunette! (GULP!)

I’m day one into a new hair color and I have to say I do completely love it, but I’m still not quite used to seeing myself with such a different look. Not only do I have a different perception of how I look, but I’m looking forward to a very interesting social experiment.

I've been used to having long golden locks and fair looks. Now that the hair on my head is chestnut in hue, there are features on my face that stand out more than they have my entire life. For example: I now have noticeable eyebrows. It’s a wonder how they just magically appeared. I’ve committed myself to reading every single beauty magazine I can get my hands on to figure out the beauty secrets of brunettes and how the hell to do it right. I figure it may take a few days since when I look in the mirror I still do a double-take.

As for the social experiment, I have to admit that I’m completely self-aware. Probably overly self-aware. On a regular playing field, being constantly aware of oneself could be considered narcissistic, but I have to say it’s near impossible not to pay attention to how people are treating and looking at you when you change a feature as notable as one’s hairstyle. I imagine the same to be true about many drastic beauty alterations like losing weight or plastic surgery.

I also have to consider what Downtown threw out there the other day about
Blondes vs. Brunettes. When I read her post (and before I chatted with her about her perspective), I have to admit I was put off. Having been a blonde my entire life, I’ve never associated how people perceive me directly with my hair color. Perhaps for others this might be the opposite, however not until last night am I aware of this fact.

Therein lies the question: What does perception of hair color mean for a personality? Do blondes really have more fun? Do brunettes get treated with more respect? Who knows, but I will tell you one thing: I AM going to find out!

And by the way, my dear Miss Downtown, I'm throwing down the gauntlet! I believe I quote you correctly...

"Tonight I told Avenue Elle, if she decides to go dark, I'll be in the chair next to her going blonde. We'll perform the ultimate switch-er-roo experiment."
Let me know when your appointment with Donna is!

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Most Random Saturday EVER

I cherish my Saturday afternoons. It’s a time where I look forward to unwinding from the week prior and look forward to the evening ahead. A typical Saturday afternoon usually entails ample amounts of shopping – usually with a notorious Ms. Downtown and friends. Yesterday, however, was anything but typical. It was a trifecta of frustration layered with copious amounts of fun.

It all started as a usual day. I woke up on the early side, made coffee and breakfast, went to the gym…the usual. I was looking forward to a day of uber-girl activity – baking Christmas cookies. Of course what’s baking without a couple bottles of wine and a few gal-pals to keep the chef company?

Enter Downtown and our other good friend. I had just embarked on the first batch of cookies and we popped the first bottle open promptly at 4pm. Yes, 4pm my friends.

All was fine and dandy until my roommate arrived home. I can’t recall if I’ve told you all the tale of my highly anal-retentive AND passive aggressive roommate, but this Saturday was no different. I feel I’m a pretty darn good roommie. Clean, respectful, on time with paying the bills, share in certain responsibilities of apartment upkeep. Well, she arrived hope hoping for a nap and was extraordinarily pissed that there were “others” in her space. She proceeded to huff and pout, slam doors and generally do her best to make my friends feel unwelcome. Needless to say, I was happy when she left the building.

Strike one. Saturday night.

The baking continued and we opened our second bottle of wine. I decided to take a load off and watch some good old fashioned Sex and the City while the dishwasher ran. Not sure if it was karmic retribution for being such a "shoddy" roommate or if it was my bad habit of dumping coffee grounds down the sink, but we were up with a start when we realized the sink was backing up, nearly overflowing into my kitchen. Artfully, we proceeded to take buckets of water to the bathroom tub, while maintaining our pace on plunging the sink and sipping off the bottle of Malbec.

Strike two. Saturday night.

Eventually the plunging and scooping was too much for us to take, so after we got the sink under control we decided to meet up with the Producer for a party…in queens. Downtown and I rarely do non-island boroughs, but we can be convinced at the appropriate point in time and this was just the ticket to giving the evening a much needed boost. We got to the party (via bus!) and naturally were extraordinarily jealous at the size of the apartment. Over the course of the evening, we continued to gush about square footage while talking to every blazing gay man that ever existed. In a nutshell, we had a most fabulous time.

Upon arriving back on the island via subway, karmic retribution took it’s hold once more, where in my drunken state I got off at the wrong stop, leaving me stranded on the east side of the island at 1AM.

Strike three. Saturday night.

I was going to let it put me in a bad mood, but I decided to embrace the moment a la Breakfast at Tiffany’s style and take a short jaunt up Madison Avenue window shopping at all the designer boutiques. When I hit Ralph Lauren central on 71st and Madison (AKA uber-WASP-wear) I realized it was time to find an ATM STAT and hail a cab.

Heading home I felt that I had been burned a few times during the evening and would likely have to face the repercussions in the morning (more plunging and a bitchy roommate), but I had to remind myself that it’s these most random evenings out, where you’re literally dragged against your will (thanks Downtown!) that usually produce the best stories.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Jersey City."It" Neighborhood?

Any New Yorker has their own story of “when I lived in X,” referring to the days when they lived off of pennies/parents, were forced to live in the shittiest bourough/neighborhood/suburb, ate red beans & rice at every meal and generally hated their New York existence. On the other hand, it’s precisely this sad existence that we eventually brag about in our stories on why we have become official New Yorkers.

I know, because I was one of them. And when I read this week’s New York Magazine story on “If You Lived Here, You’d Be Cool by Now” story I just had to spout off a bit.

The article centered on the next “it” neighborhood...Jersey City, New Jersey.
(I’ll patiently wait for you all to scrape your jaws off the ground)

Yes, Jersey City. The next “it” neighborhood? OK…I might be able to buy it. After all, I must admit that I once was a resident of Jersey City (GASP!), and like all of the rest of you out there…it was not by choice. As New York Magazine truthfully points out, anyone who has lived there usually has an excellent “How I wound up in Jersey City” story. Mine goes roughly like this…

I moved to NYC straight out of college for a lovely (and unpaid) internship at an international public relations firm. Because I knew nothing about the city, I sprung for a 4-month sublet on the corner of safe and boring: 57th and 8th. Clearly as a 22-year old, I was dirt poor and couldn’t afford to stay in my lovely pre-war, elevator, doorman, 2 bedroom, 2 bathroom apartment with a view of the park. So I was invited to move in with the one person in the city I knew and her roommate who happened to be a bartender at Coyote Ugly.

So I moved to Jersey City. I have to admit I was a bit scared. I was glad that after getting off the PATH at Pavonia Newport, half of my walk home was through the mall which has 24-hour security. My apartment was on the second floor of a 4-floor brownstone. Every room in the place was about 300 square feet. No joke. I paid $500 a month and that was about all I could afford at the time.

Despite the economical living quarters, I was none too pleased with the hood, which consisted of scary dark corners, a giant ShopRite and one Newark Avenue – home of the dollar store.

I was one of those people who incessantly bitched and moaned about JC. Why? Well, I was living there by default with a bartender from Coyote Ugly (I won’t even get into this). My dream of moving to New York City actually included living IN New York City proper. Plus, I wasn’t too keen on negotiating cab fare home at 3am.

Regardless of my story about the now-cool-kids-hood, the key thing that New York Magazine doesn’t talk about is that fact that to live in an “it” neighborhood essentially means resigning yourself to living in a shit hole until gentrification hits, at which point all residents then have the right either move out to another shit hole OR to complain about said gentrification. It’s all part of the ebb and flow of “Neighborhood ADD” as they say.

Jersey City might have lots of cool shops, cafes and apartments to live in, but one thing is certain: it’s NOT NYC. Let’s be honest here. It’s not even part of New York State. As I mentioned, as a New Yorker, my poorish and frustrating time in Jersey City will be looked back on fondly as part of the city hazing process, however I’ll always be happy to be living on the island.

And by the way, I totally have dibs on declaring that Morningside Heights is next on the list…

Friday, December 01, 2006

MASH This…

M-A-S-H. At the ripe age of 14, these four letters meant everything. With one simple stroke of the pen, hopes and dreams would be wiped out of existence. It was your future. It was destiny. It was MASH!

You all know what I’m talking about. M-A-S-H. Would you end up in a mansion, apartment, shack or house? Who would your prince charming be? What does your wedding ring look like? What job do you have? How much sex will you and your husband have?

It’s a game we all played in our spiral notebooks while sitting at the back of math class. Instead of staring off into space or busting our brains over how to decipher the Pythagorean Theorem, we played MASH. Even though we sometimes ended up crushed at the outcomes, it still was such great fun back then…

…and it’s still great fun now.

Last night, while cracking open our fourth bottle of red, Downtown, myself and two other gal pals dug out a spiral notebook and put the proverbial wheels into motion for our futures (aka: thirties) to be determined for us by virtue of slash marks.

I almost bust a gut over the outcomes.

I have to say, my destiny was probably the most harmless. I married the man of my (current) dreams in London, live in New York working as a writer (with no kids to speak of) and even have a giant canary diamond on my finger to boot. The downfall…I live in a shack. Ha! Not that this scenario is too far from the present truth of course.

The hostess ended up with a cliché (but lovely) east coast destiny: married a hot surgeon, lives in Connecticut working as a florist…yadda yadda yadda…

The best part was Downtown’s destiny. You know the rule that each category has to have one bad option? Well, poor Downtown’s pen stroke circled all the doozies…

She married the a-sexual guy which was fitting because he turned out to play for the other team. Somehow they ended up with one child – a fine boy named Hamish. It was a good thing she got to honeymoon in the Greek Isles and travel lots due to her job as a professional figure skater because the happy family was stuck living in a dung hut...it's a good thing we were limited to 7 categories.

Maybe the Barbera made it all funnier, but all I know is that I’m glad I’m grown up enough not to be crushed over my MASH destiny.

Even though it's all a childhood game, I have to wonder if my MASH destiny back from the math class days of yore was even close to my current scenario…after all, hindsight is known to be a bitch.