Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Jessica Has Nothing In Her Future Except...Everything

I hope you remembered to bring some hot cocoa tonight.

I have my pipe, my robe, my pretentious spectacles and I'm sitting in my gorgeous, high-backed, leather armchair. A fire blazes in my darkened den, creating a beautiful chiaroscuro against the cold, wintry night. Sit back, relax and settle in for another edition of:

The Incoherent Ramblings of Jessica Wakeman

You remember Jessica? Of course you do. She last lectured us that marrying for money is not only acceptable but almost noble. We here at the SNC all secretly dreamed of ditching our wives for such a siren.

Why do we love Jessica? Aside from her wildly prodigious and piquant writing ability? Well, she can take whatever singular experience her mid 20s brain processes and turn it into an overarching cultural meme. Throw in a dash of bullshit polemics, a pinch of contradiction, five gallons of really odd narcissism and poof! You have Jessica.

It's not all her fault. It's what people in their mid 20s do. They really do believe that every thought that flows through their neurotransmitters is entirely original and should be voiced...loudly. And nobody will be able to see through their steaming piles of crap.

So, in honor of the recently deceased William Safire and his Rules For Writers, we offer Jessica Wakeman's Rules For Relationship Bloggers Looking To Justify Their Own Selfish Impulses And Vindicate Their Lot In Life:
Rule #1 - Always reference yourself and your choices in life as yardsticks of inherent human truth even if they're unbelievably stupid or, worse, obvious.

Rule #2 - Always inject thinly veiled references to things that show the world how far you've come and how truly mature and wonderful you really are.

Rule #3 - If examples don't exist to back up your point, make shit up.

Rule #4 - The whole point of being a writer is to exact revenge on perceived slights in life so make sure you come out as the tragic hero in the end. How you get there is not relevant.
Let's get started.

CNN.com via TheFrisky.com

Blame my older sister, the kindergarten teacher, but I believe in the Golden Rule (Ding! Ding! Ding! We have a winner! That's officially the 100 billionth time in the history of man somebody referenced the Golden Rule in the first graf. Collect your prize at the front desk.). Whether you're my boss, my intern (WHOA! All her Facebook friends now know Jessica has an intern so we already have Rule #2, even if the intern is shared with the entire office. They don't know that. Bet that intern interview was a rigorous one for TheFrisky.com.), my boyfriend or my third-cousin-twice-removed, I will treat you with the same amount of respect as everyone else. (That's big of her.)

Why am I wired this way? Other kids were really cruel to me from grade school through high school -- whether putting Scotch tape in my hair during class, calling me "Cabbage Patch Kid" because of my chubby cheeks, or circulating my name on a list where girls were ranked by their hotness and I was rated 3 out of 10. (Classic triumph over tragedy. It's Horacio Alger in Schenectady. Stick Hillary Duff in it and the script writes itself!)

That stuff made me feel terrible most of the time and I don't want anyone knowing what that's like. Instead, I try to be kind to every person, regardless of how popular/attractive/smart they are, and not be a brownnoser, ever. (Who brownnoses their friends?)

It's striking to me, though, how not being a kiss-up has ruined my friendships with some very pretty women. In fact, my only friendship Titanics (Is that a metaphor?) have happened when I've stood up to extraordinarily beautiful women and lost out. "The Pretty Girl" wanted me to play by her rules; I didn't want to do it, so Pretty Girl read me the friendship riot act and ditched me. Forever. (Let's all buy Jessica a big, wooden cross so she can climb on up and nail herself to it.)

Let me be clear: I do have girlfriends (Glad that's cleared up). I'm not incapable of being friends with women. I have some really great female friends who are all regular-looking (sigh) like me. When we bicker, we get over it. But when a normal-looking woman like me (You said that! Cripes! You have an intern. Get an editor!) befriends someone who is model-pretty, there's trouble.

Let's face it (Let's!): Beauty is a privilege. It acts like a honing device (Eh...it's HOMING device. (slaps head)) for male attention, opens doors to clubs, causes compliments to rain upon the lucky ones. But if the parties aren't careful, a beautiful friend and a regular-looking friend can get locked into a power dynamic (Because "regular-looking" people like Jessica speak da truth and keeps it real while pretty people all be stick-up bitches.)

Of course, not every beautiful woman lords her privilege over her less beautiful friends. Still, some do. Beauty is a universally valued quality for a woman; it offers privileges that can always be relied on (You! Said! That!). The logic of one's arguments, or articulation of one's emotions, unfortunately, is less reliable. And because plenty of women and men want to be around attractive women (Boy, she hangs around a regular Algonquin Round Table, doesn't she?) just so those privileges can rub off of them (Who's them? And 'of'? Editor!), some beautiful women aren't used to hearing "no."

I truly think my friendship difficulties with pretty women stem from my challenging them with words or reasoning (Okay, Jessica's roommate just moved out on her last week and she was marginally pretty. She'll show her, damn it!), instead of just falling in line with the power dynamic they try to exert.

Jealous? No. I'm resentful (And jealous.). When it becomes clear to me that a beautiful friend of mine plays the "my way or the highway" card, I resent the fact that I'm being valued so little (Her roommate totally just bolted on her. Bet her boyfriend heard the story in 48 different forms over five straight nights.). Compromise and admitting you are wrong are friendship skills which date back to the sandbox days -- I don't care if you look like Megan Fox (Still don't get the Megan Fox fascination. Would somebody clue me in?).

Sasha modeled back in New York, where we went to school; she turned heads with her pretty blonde hair, sparkling blue eyes, and lovely smile (Keep in mind that Jessica's profile over at The Frisky says "straightish" under orientation. Context.). We met studying abroad in Prague ("Now my Facebook friends know about Prague!") together and lived in the same dormitory.

It became clear after a few weeks, though, that Sasha only wanted to do what she wanted to do and when she wanted to do it. She wouldn't go to a Czech restaurant or join me at a dance club just because I wanted her to -- she said "no" all the time (Maybe she didn't really like you and wanted to spare your feelings. Chalk one up for "Sasha". Or she was a roommate you occasionally drank with, not a "friend". There's a difference.). I hated that, of course, but I figured I had to suck it up because the other girls we hung out with parroted whatever Sasha did.

Then one day I was robbed; my passport and all my money was stolen. I told Sasha about it and it surprised me that she didn't offer to spot me even a little Czech currency to tide me over until an American Express wire came through from my dad (Bullshit Alert! That shit takes three hours at most. I did it in Florence ten years ago (look at me!). Couldn't wait three hours, huh?). Instead, Sasha was really quiet.

When I returned from the Czech embassy (Czech (?) embassy...in Prague? More doubts a creepin' in. When you're in a U.S. embassy, you remember the "U.S." part...because it says so in every way possible every four feet.) after replacing my passport, I saw Sasha by my bedroom. Out of left field, she confronted me and accused me of coveting her fiance because I'd once hooked up with a guy who had the same name as her fiance did (This is the part where Jessica conveys the idea that she doesn't really think she's "regular-looking". Here's a "beautiful", probably made-up person thinking that her beautiful, probably made-up fiance would sleep with Jessica. Since we know beautiful people never slum it with anyone below their own range of beauty, Jessica is slyly telling us that there's a chance, on a good day, that she's in the ballgame. See. Bullshit stories to back up an argument serves two purposes. She's so efficient.) . Lusting after a guy I'd never met back in New York? What?! No!

Minutes later, Sasha switched gears and lectured me for calling myself a vegetarian (That week. Vietnamese Buddhism was scheduled for the week after.) even though I eat fish. I defended myself against that accusation, too. After a lot of tsk-tsking and head-shaking on her part, she said she didn't want to be friends anymore and stalked out of my dorm room. OK, whatever kooky lady who kicks a friend when she's down (Feel sorry for yourself much.).

But then over the next few days, I realized the group of girls Sasha and I hung out with (Well, hung out with "Sasha" but you were always there in this version of the fantasy.) were avoiding me completely, but still hanging out with her. What bitches!

Years later, I butted heads again with a roommate (I sense a pattern and it's not the one Jessica is talking about.), Elizabeth, who worked as a professional model and actress (Jessica really can't stop attracting beautiful models. It's a curse, really.). She was tall, slim and elegant, with dark hair, dark eyes and an absolutely breathtaking face. Elizabeth, too, insisted she was right about everything, whether it was whether men should pay on dates or the best way to scour a bathtub (JHC! This crap isn't even worthy of a teenage diary!).

When I disagreed with Elizabeth (Yes. Jessica got into a fight...over cleaning a tub. Line starts at my butt, guys.), she would, without fail, say something in a condescending voice about how I didn't understand XYZ, but she did because she claimed to have had more experience with whatever it was. That kind of "logic" is hard to argue with. Eventually, we had a friendship/happy roommates blowup when I told her that her friend who insisted that he knew how to fix our broken Internet connection was actually making it worse ($20 the guy was right. Ba-Zing!).

I could go on with other examples of disagreements with attractive women (But I can't think of anymore bogus stories...) where I ended up getting ditched, but I think you get the point. It's their loss, I think, because they could have had a friend who stood up to them. That's an asset, ladies (The world IS better with Jessica in it.).

But it's my loss for being so stubborn about arguments that I lose friendships over them. I'm just unwilling to be a butt-kisser. I really, really can't do it.

To be, or not to be: that is the question:
Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,
Or to take arms against a sea of troubles...

See. Tragic hero. Like all great writers, she follows her own rules.