Thursday, September 2, 2010

Social dilemmas. We all have them, but not all of us have a social gnome with which to resolve these dilemmas. This is where I, your crass and apathetic social Sherpa, come into play. I present to you the 2010 Guide to Embarrassing Social Situations.

Q. I’m often confused by the wording on invitations regarding attire. What does “Black Tie Casual” mean? Or how about “Business Standard?”
A: Ahhh, the eternal question of what to wear to a function that you probably don’t want to attend in the first place. Let me break it down for you:
Black Tie Casual: You’ll most often see this phrase in reference to weddings or incredibly snooty dinner parties. The “Black Tie” part simply means that you have to buy a new outfit. The “Casual” part means that you can leave on the tags and return it after the wretched affair is over. Be careful when choosing your attire for one of these get-togethers, as you’ll want something that can withstand a possible open bar, a possible dance floor, and a possible need to flee the scene quickly after you throw up in the coat closet.

Business Standard: This is easy. Take one of your sluttiest shirts and put it on under a blazer. Add a martini in one hand and a business card in the other. Accessorize with a string of pearls and several phrases that involve a lot of acronyms.

Smart Casual: This can go several ways, but very rarely does it go the way of “smart.” The only tips I can give to anyone attending an event where the attire is “Smart Casual” is to smartly and casually invent a deadly sickness to be stricken with hours before the first mindless chit is chatted and watch the game at home like you want to in the first place.

Q. I really hate when I go to a dinner party that’s buffet-style. How can I avoid the inevitable hesitation and awkwardness that everyone feels when it’s time to start the buffet?
A: I often find it funny that people will attend a party specifically thrown to serve them dinner and then act as if they aren’t hungry when it comes time to actually eat said dinner. Several tactics exist to get around this. I often hide in the bathroom and stay there until I hear something to the effect of, “You’re the guest – YOU go first!” This also gets me out of the sight-line of the hostess before the meal so she can’t ask me to help chop lettuce, garnish devilled eggs, or clean up the unfortunate mess in the coat closet. Another option to anyone arriving too late to claim the bathroom is to start a fire in another room and go first yourself. No one will think you a gluttonous pig and you can get revenge on the jerk who claimed the bathroom before you.

Q: My best friend wants to wear white to my wedding. What do I do?
A: The answer is obvious. Simply respond to the request by telling her what you’ll be wearing to her not-so-distant funeral.

Q: My son is turning 4 in a couple of weeks and we want to throw a party for him and several of his friends. We don’t like exposing our son to cartoons, video games, plastics # 2-5, or people named Patton. How can we express these concerns on the invitation without being too wordy?
A: How about this – “We live in an incredibly boring household and before our little Stalwart III grows into a mass murdering crazy person, please join us for his 4th birthday party this Saturday. Please, no gifts, but feel free to donate to a charity or bartender of your choice.”

Q: My neighbor’s dogs are constantly relieving themselves in my yard. How can I confront my neighbor politely and get this (literal) load of crap to come to an end?
A: The simple solution would be to gently ask you neighbor to clean up after his dog. A much more satisfying solution would be to collect the droppings and light them on fire in your neighbor’s living room while attempting to avoid the buffet line.

Q: I am a complete germo-phobe and I really hate touching other people, i.e. shaking hands, hugs hello, and so forth. How can I explain my phobia to others without coming across as standoffish?
A: Let me tell you a little secret. People are disgusting, vile creatures and you have every reason to be a little freaked out by these germ-carrying cesspools. However, I don’t particularly like touching the hand of the weird mailman, but I do it for the free Victoria’s Secret coupons. I also don’t particularly care to give the midget cashier at Mapco foot rubs every Wednesday, but I do it for the free Slushees and discounted hot dogs. My point is that while you think people are revolting (and rightfully so) you are probably just as repulsive, and if you could get over your little “fear” you too could be munching on pork by-products in the comfort of the walk-in beer cooler.

Q: My friends and I are having an argument. They say that you are a single, 58-year-old recluse who sits around watching Lifetime movies and sipping homemade Molotov cocktails. I say that you are only 32, have 7 cats, and enjoy knitting cozies for kitchen appliances. Who is right here? P.S. There’s a steak dinner riding on this!
A: Perhaps you should treat each other to a trip through the White Castle drive-thru because I can assure you that I’m neither a recluse, no am I 58. I have never watched a movie on Lifetime, but I will confess to the occasional episode of “Columbo.” While I will always admire a well-cushioned microwave, my knitting skills are limited and my ferret, Freckles, ate my knitting needles three years ago. Now, if you’ll excuse me, there are hookers to be eradicated and pineapples to be tended.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

The Angry Curl's Guide to Living Life on the Cheap

So, you've decided to read my blog.  Congratulations on your first step towards senility.  If you don't know me, I can assure you that I am one thing if I am anything:  cheap.  And I have no qualms about digging through dirty bins filled with mismatched shoes at the Salvation Army, nor do I turn up my nose at the about-to-expire pork chops in the Manager Meat section at Kroger. Deciding it’s a shame to keep these awesomely cheap ideas to myself, I’ve decided to share them with you, dear reader, in hopes that soon you too will soon be tugging a J. Crew shirt out of a woman’s hands on Half-Off Goodwill Saturday.

1. Cars are expensive. Gas is exorbitant, oil changes are costly, and the cost of tires will make you pee yourself a little bit. Since this form of transportation isn’t exactly thrifty, might I suggest riding bikes? There are racks and racks of them around the city! Simply carry your “Bike Emancipation Kit” (your bike helmet and some bolt cutters) and you could be traversing Nashville with an ever-growing rap sheet and indisputable thriftiness.

2. My water bill has been exponentially growing the past few months, so I decided to put a cap on my water usage. I did this by gaining my neighbors’ trust, and in turn, got a key to their place. You know, to check on things in case of an emergency. I now shower there after they’ve gone to work. I also steal their cat food! You have NO idea how much money I’ve saved (plus, they feed their cats Iams, which is waaaaay out of my price range.) I’m clean and my cats are happy. I view this as a win-win in my book.

3. I also routinely raid my co-worker’s snack drawers after hours. A dinner of chicken noodle soup and cheese crackers is much more nutritious when it’s free. It also helps with the cost of the night-vision goggles and ski caps.

4. I often serve roadkill at dinner parties. When served out of a Crock-Pot with toothpicks, people are too busy praising your braising to question the origins of said meat.

5. Now, I’ve certainly heard about people re-using coffee grounds, but this requires you to actually buy coffee in the first place. Simply go down to Starbucks, get the coffee grounds for free, and re-use at your pleasure. Not only are you getting free, gourmet coffee, you’re also getting a unique blend I like to call the “Cheap-tastic Roast of the Day.”

6. Two words if you happen to find a place with a rat problem: Free. Cheese.

7. I have 365 ID’s all giving me a different birthday. The cost of these fake ID’s (gained in the parking lot of Hillsboro High School) is easily offset by the copious amounts of free cake and sombrero-wearing experiences you’re about to encounter.

8. I split the cost of a gym membership with a dear friend with a rather large gym bag. You do the math.

9. The free bins in front of McKay’s Used Books are always a great place for bargain-hunting. Just crawl in slightly before closing, cover yourself with books, and wait until they pull you inside. Then you have a virtual plethora of free books!

10. There is no need to visit a zoo when you live in Tennessee. There are plenty of farmers who would welcome a little volunteer labor at 4am when milking cows. Your children will get a feel of where there milk comes from, all with the same benefits of a petting zoo. And manure comes right out in your neighbor’s washing machine. Trust me.

11. Also, you can get the full bumper car experience if you find a grocery store with a parking lot on a hill. Strap in little Folkcherry (or whatever your child’s name may be) and give them a shove. See? Just like Dollywood!

12. Pimp yourself out as an advice-giving guru, even if you have absolutely no experience or knowledge of well, anything. It’s a great way to make a little cash while bettering humanity in the meantime.