yeah, i think you mentioned that. like 500 times.

I keep a small notebook in my handbag for when I’m drunk. I rarely write in it while I’m sober. I just checked it now for the first time in a while to see what I’ve been up to. It’s like reading postcards from someone else’s life. Compact slices of my life from different moments, that hardly make sense, yet just do. Here are some, not all are drunken:

I sometimes fight for things I don’t believe in, not causes, but ideas and compromises. Suddenly, I’m mid-sentence of an argument trying to convince someone else of something I’m not even sure I believe in. I fight these fights because I’m so used to getting my way, that even if “my way” isn’t ultimately what I even want, I’ll fight for it just because it is too late to change my mind. Just because I’ve already committed, put down my card, dug my heels in, said, “I’m sure.” And even if I’m not, I’ll convince myself. And then, I’ll get my way, and I’ll wonder with that heavy limp feeling when you’ve slept too long and your body is tired is.  I’ll wonder in a daze, “why did I start this conversation? Why was I this catalyst when I have no idea what I want?” And then I’ll push REALLY HARD and pretend I’m certain. I’ll fight for something I’m not even sure I want, just to get what I want, despite myself. I don’t want to be right or win, because, as it turns out, it’s lonely at the top. I’d rather be wrong and honest and not have to fight. Why can’t I keep my big trap closed?

Everyone sees it but me, and if I projected my life onto the screen to watch it, it would be obvious even to me. He’s perfect for me.

I’m sitting outside at the corner table of Isabella’s on the Upper West Side. I’m usually just leaving for work at this hour. I’m due to meet a film producer who will interview me about my life. I’ll have to fake enthusiastic because hangover feels too heavy, and they’re already adding 10 lbs. with the camera.

Phil needs a banana piece of art for the yellow room. For ButAnna.

I met an older gentleman named Bill at a bar called Asterisk in Newport. He asked me what I did for a living. “I design web sites.”
“Oh, for who?”
“Pfizer mostly.”
“I need help with that,” he said.
“Oh, well, sorry, I don’t get free Viagra.” I can’t believe my mouth sometimes.
“I meant help with a web site.”

I met Brian for a first date at Bryant Park Grill, not exactly the atmosphere that encourages the baring of our most appalling secrets. Bryant Park Grill consists of a lot of blue shirts, horrendous neckties, laptop bags and middle aged men who because they aren’t bald yet insist on wearing their hair high and wide, a nod to Max Hedrom. The pocket kerchief can be spotted here, I’m afraid, usually on the same men who pay someone to highlight their hair and pronounce schedule, “shed-ule,” as if it has something to do with Rudolph. You’ve heard of eight men out? This is eight men in, a pathetic circle of trust consisting of folded arms, $5 beers, and goatees, complete with blackberry and removable wedding bands.

Since when is Shepherd’s Pie “light fare?” Since The Banc says so on their menu, right beside “Filet Mignon Baguette.” I love that mignon means cute. Cute beef.

Whatever, call me racist.
I hate having to be on the defensive, but whatever. It’s my celebratory night for putting black on white paper. I’m out with Gay Max, Smelly, Shawn, and Co. at The Other Room because Salon was empty. We left and hit “The Coral Room” for America’s Next Top Model Party, which, as it turns out is what I call, “ethnic night.” I’m the minority. I love how people love to whip out the racist card just because I mention an observation having to do with Afro-Americans.

I know I’m white when the “Shake Your Ass” song makes me think of Hugh Grant. As a white person in a black club, you’re very aware of your rhythm, aware of your hands and how fast you’re moving. I don’t want to be that freaky white chick, so I watch the women who beset me as a cue to how fast I can move. Mostly it’s sultry, but fcukit. Eventually, I close my eyes and stop caring. This is it kids, the redhead without rhythm, and guess what? I really don’t care. I imagine as a black person it’s tough to live up to the rhythm stereotype. It’s like a reserved, reticent, redhead having to feign passion to live up to the red on the head fire in the bed stereotype. Something I’d know nothing about.

You can feel the bass in your chest while you Cain people watch. Everything is backlit, and all I can think of is home and hamburgers. A Persian girl with big jeweled earrings she probably made herself is talking to a crusty bearded redheaded guy who’s wearing a trucker’s hat.  When I pass her, she introduces me to a man whose name I cannot hear, so I ask to see his I.D. Surprisingly, he obliges. D.O.B.: 1983. I say, “Dude, you’re Almost a Bowling for Soup Song.” Cain is young kids spending Daddy’s money on cigarettes and the upturned pink collar. The hooch is on the house. Metal wristwatch, cuffed striped button down, jeans, some kind of loafer. If someone turned on the lights, stopped the music, they’d scatter like roaches, but you’d notice the tall chick with the breasts is really in platform wedges and a too small top. That chick would be me.

The couple beside me is smoking pot, the lit up part in his mouth while she tokes. Who does this?

I’d like a dirty martini. Actually, make it obscenely dirty.


Straight Up and Dirty


  1. I have a friend who does the same thing. Only she doesn't write legibly when she's drunk, so she spends the following morning drying to decifer what she's written.

  2. "I’d like a dirty martini. Actually, make it obscenely dirty." – i think i will put this on my quote board. so funny!

    shit, i need one too!

  3. crystal, i was not allowed into a high end european store while backpacking (i was clearly an adult, but dressed as you would imagine someone backpacking in europe to be), for the exact same reasons that oprah wasnt allowed in. was i happy about it: no. did i think it was wrong: yes. do i think the store was run by a bunch of snobs: yes. do i think it had to do with my race: no.

    i am a caucasian male, i was dressed frumpily (dont know if its a word, and i dont care), and the snobs at the store wouldnt let me in. the only reason it didnt make the news is because i dont make $225 million a year, and i am white.

    so, before you try to force the issue as being racist, take into account that it may have been exactly what they proclaim: good old fashioned snobbery (again, probably not a word, but dont care).

  4. There are elements of racism in this post! And I particularly have issues with the "whip out the racist card" line because it suggests that there is no merit to the very valid complaints that we African-Americans have in regards to the treatment we receive in this country (and abroad). Here in Chicago the local media is still abuzz about the Oprah Hermes snub, and it pisses me off when people say she's "over-reacting" and "blowing this out of proportion". What happened was Major, it was classic subtle racism that ordinary black folk deal with on a daily basis, and look–even being a billionare does not make one immune. What happened was WRONG!!

  5. I don't get the phrase "African American". why not "black" if you're going to call those of European descent "white"? And lots of black people don't even have any sort of recent African descent! And what about Canadian black people? "African-Canadian?" When they haven't even had an African ancestor since like 1790? come on!

  6. No one special – I am not sure I understand your logic. Oprah turned away because she is black, you turned away because you are dressed like a bum. No racism? Based on your argument, being black and looking like a bum are the same thing. Seems racist to me.

    Of course I am presuming that Oprah wasn't backpacking around europe or dressed like someone who is – but I would bet that is a safe assumption.

  7. Wasn't Oprah turned away becase… THE STORE WAS CLOSED for an event? Whatever, like that's the point.

    Drunk notes are funny shit, Steph. Also loved the Pianos entry… loved that I was there, and met the chops dude.

  8. 'Persia' is no longer a place, dear. But then 'Iranian' wouldn't fulfill your neat little catty self-satisfied description, would it? And she made her own earrings?! What a skinlfint!

  9. hey mike, check this out from CNN (yeah, sounds like racism to me)…again, the only reason this was ever even brought to light is because oprah is rich and black. the funny thing is, even though this was NOT an example of racism, most people wont take the time to learn that, and al sharpton and crew will pray on peoples ignorance to parlay it into an opportunity to spout off about racism:

    "The spokeswoman said Winfrey came to the store 15 minutes after closing and a security guard informed her the store was closed and gave her a card, telling her she could come back the next day.

    Surveillance videotape of the encounter supports the store's account, according to the spokeswoman."

  10. instead of filling up this space harping on a brief note stephanie jotted with no ill intentions, how about someone suggest some banana art for the yellow room? did someone say yellow? oh dear, let the antidefamation league protest…

  11. In England, darling, we say "shed-ule". The language is called English.
    American-English say "sked-ule".

  12. Hey No One,

    I am sure that there are better places for us to argue about Oprah, Hermes and racism (like in a bar, with a bunch of drinks in us) but what the hey.

    In your first comment, you said that Oprah was refused service for the same reason you were, which wasn't racism but plain ole snobbery. You were turned away for looking frumpy. Oprah for being black. I said that seems like racism to me.

    Now, citing CNN, you are saying that Oprah arrived at the store late and was turned away for that reason.

    With a flick of your google button I am sure that you could also dig up the various news reports that also said that high-end stores like Hermes often allow late shopping by celebrites and that when they turned Oprah away they said that they had recently been having problems with 'North Africans'. I'll leave you to believe who you want.

    Yes, the only reason we hear about this is because Oprah is rich. To my mind that says that we have institutionalized this type of racism to such a degree that when it happens to an 'ordinary' black person it isn't news. This makes the story even worse.

    Anyway, there are always two sides and always always a variety of different facts.

    My original beef wasn't with Oprah, Hermes or racism per se, but with the logic of your argument. I stand by that, irrespective of the various news reports you can dig up to support your position. Unless, of course, you can find me one that says that Oprah was backpacking around Europe.

    Feel free to email me to continue the discussion and spare all these good people our boring chit-chat.

  13. Nothing wrong with a kiefchef now and again, besides, I rarely see anyone wearing them, and when I do, people just freak out about it, as if I'm doing something so outrageous for doing something that Frank Sanatra did in the 50s. It's my way to rebel, and it adds a little color to an otherwise sea of conformity. I'm sure if they got popular, I'd stop wearing them. BUt I have to say, I have never seen a man with too much facial hair wearing one – I have to disagree with your observation – but whatever.

    This was one of your better posts in a long time.

  14. Why not just dictate your thoughts into your cell phone? That's what I always do — it's faster, no need to carry a notebook, no need to decipher bad writing the next morning, etc.

  15. wow crystal, didn't you hear that oppressive whiney coffee table race relations work dooesn't do the cause much good?

  16. If I was Oprah, I wouldn't want Herpes either! Heck, I'm NOT Oprah and I stay as far away form Herpes as I can! Herpes is forever!

  17. The point I was making is this–Oprah felt a very valid sentiment that she was snubbed for racial reasons, and whether this was true or not, it is wrong for whites to automatically discount her as "playing into the whole race card game". Yes, the store had closed 15min. prior, but her camp states that they saw several people still shopping inside, and of course normally exceptions are made at high-end boutiques, they typically go out of their way to accomodate the type of clientele that they cater to. She only wanted to buy a watch for Tina Turner, and how hard would have that been to let her go in a little to shop? Had she been white this never would have happened! And Yes, I was looking like a backpacker when I had my own incident in Europe, but so was my husband and he didn't get held up and extra-scrutinized! Why not? Because he's white with blonde hair.

  18. are you kidding me crystal?

    oh my god.
    Oprah is hardly held down by her race… the shop was closed. they didn't recognize her- it had nothing to do with her being black. they didn't let her in because the store was closed. if some white woman walked up after they were no longer letting people in and she was not recognized as a star- guess where she would be? standing outside looking in right next to Oprah.
    if it was a white woman would anyone give a shit about this? no.

    this is the point. when something bad happens to a person of color it's automatically about race. that's called playing the race card. and it happens.

    and this is coming from a black woman- so please, don't call me some ignorant white girl. we've all been victims of racism, just the same as many white people have been victims of "reverse" racism.

    but it's not always about black and white. and the sooner we ALL learn that (black people too here)- the better.

  19. well, at least you said "whatever, call me racist". white people can get so bitchy and defensive when they're called on their colonial programming. hahahaha…

  20. HOLD THE PAGE SIX PRESSES! I just saw Keri Russell coming out of the Starbucks on Park Avenue South and 29th Street. Now get this–as she walked down the sidewalk, a gust of wind from the subway blew her dress up in the air and she was wearing no panties! Catching a glimpse of Keri's pie would have given me a major case of meringue in my trousers if I weren't gay!

  21. Hey, nice icon. I knew you'd want to stand out among the crowd. It suits you.

  22. Yea supposedly they didn't let Oprah in because her "hair wasn't done" and the whole "north-african thing" never even happened. This is not about race its about stuck up celebrites thinking that they should get special treatment at all times. Get over it and get to the store before it closes!

  23. Yeah dealmaker, and you ever try to call out a black person's colonial programming? hahah!


    Whaaa! Yah.

    Everybody does it. That's why it sounds like whining. Black people white people yellow people. They are all full of shit and they are ALL racist to some extent or another.

  24. Oh yeah… that guy holding the lit end of the joint in his open mouth while the chick smokes the other end?? That's called a "shotgun". Works best with big joints or even blunts. You blow the smoke directly into the awaiting and currently inhaling lungs of the other person.

    Good stuff.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.