Monday, November 28, 2011

Fashion Faux Pas

            I’m sitting on the patio of Verb CafĂ© on Bedford Ave with Roland.
            His foot is twisting slowly like a cat’s tail under the table as he finishes rolling another cigarette.
            “How about that one?”
            He points to one of the myriad of women that saunter down the boulevard. This one’s got strange yellow and black print tights on and an oversized faded blue jean denim shirt over her small anorexic frame.
            “Hell, no.”
            Roland shakes his head, taking a long hit from his rolled tobacco and squinting from the sun’s rays. 
            “Okay, what about that one?”
            This one: Over-sized round framed amber colored glasses, dressed all in black. Black spandex tights, black tasseled boots, a black shirt draped over her chest, chin poised up to the sky, and walking a small white dog.
            “Jesus, Matthew. Okay, this one, yes, definitely. Look at her.” He straightens up and points across the street to a girl walking out of Catbird.
             This one has got the obligatory Stevie Nicks round brimmed black hat, boutique bought floral print Zooey Deschanel styled vintage dress, black tights with holes in the knees, the bullet casing necklace hanging around her neck, holding an American Apparel bag.    
             “Nope,” I say, pouting.
            “You’re impossible! What do you want them to wear? Steak and potatoes?
            “That sounds great,” I say, feeling a little hungry.
            “You are so totally vanilla straight, Matthew. Why the hell do you live in Williamsburg when you hate the style of the neighborhood?”
            “I’m a rebel out here ‘cause I’m normal. That makes me happy.”
            “I guess. But it’s also why you don’t ever use your penis on an actual woman. So let me get this straight. You hate hipster style, you hate overtly fashionable people, you hate small galleries, you hate tights on women, you hate oversized shirts, you hate tattoos, you hate nerd glasses, you hate shawls of any kind. What do want? A Republican nominee, man?  
            “Don’t forget greasy hair, arbitrary necklaces with anything resembling a bullet, a fig leave, a key lock, or feather, and headbands.”
            “You’re rampant heterosexuality is appalling. Why are we friends?”
            “Cause you love me,” I say, smiling.
            “Ha. You would have been a much better faggot. Next time we go out, I’ll take you to Bensonhurst, get you a real Guinea Chick who will cook you chicken pot pie and wear red dresses and heels when you go out for your boring ass dinner and a movie date.”
            “That sounds great, actually.”
            “Ugh. Traditionalism. It was you people who burned us at the stake back in the day.”

            Now, Roland may be right about my silly simple tastes, and it is true that of all the neighborhoods to live in New York City, I live in the one where I don’t fit in. This could be the fact that I’m a natural antagonist, or its that I have a Doritos Bag of chips on my shoulder and just need to be around what irritates me to prove that life is an endless parade of half-truths and near misses.
            However, despite my own prejudices, there are still some fashion horrors this neighborhood attempts to pass off as acceptable dress, and they deserve to be mentioned here.           
            Please ladies, work hard not to fall into any of these fashion victim categories, and tell your friends too. It is true, Williamsburg is an arty neighborhood, and unfortunately, like all rebellion against conformity, it rebels in the exact same way, becoming conformists in the end. But in the war against ‘normal’ some of these decisions have gone way too far. 

            UGG BOOTS

            Please, please, please, please, please stop this travesty. Okay, first their ugly. That light shit brown color, the well worn in, now a faded yellow, sheep stuffing insides. U-G-L-Y. If you own a pair, donate them to a homeless shelter this winter. Cause that’s what they make you look like, a homeless vagrant. But you know what worries me more? The smell that no doubt gathers off the white socked, all day wearing moment you take them off in my bedroom. Ugh, get a sniff of that! Horror. Ultimate horror!    

            Yes. Indian rug print shirts. Turquoise jewelry. Those crappy leather jackets. You look like you work at car dealership outside Tucson, Arizona. It’s not cool. It has never been cool. Don’t fall for it. I just saw two women trying to pull off this look on Bedford Avenue in an hour. Stop it before it takes control. The whole fur wearing Royksopp meets Bat For Lashes feathers everywhere style almost broke this Fall. Let’s face it. You are neither a chick from the Reservation or an Eskimo. You’re a poseur.
            (Special Note: Have you ever notice that fashion models itself after cultures we’ve destroyed. Remember the Afghan-Sheik look a couple years back? Now the Indian. Come on people, do we really dress like the people we kill? This is an anthropological research question I will save for future blogs.)


            Hey. I’m not a hater. But I was told once that you should accentuate you positive traits and hide your flaws. It’s okay that you’re a plus size. In fact, a lot fellahs like some extra curves on a gal. But you cannot pull off that look unless you are a very specific body type. You know the look I’m talking about?
            It’s the tight black jeans, long white shirt past the ass, the bandana (optional). This look is a sweeping style made for stick figures with great hair and long torsos. If this is not you, stop trying. You don’t look hot wedged into tight, tight jeans. You look like a bowling pin with muffin tops.

            MOM STYLE

            Okay, I’m almost 35. Which means I was alive to see my mother wear this particular style when I was young in the eighties. High-waisted jeans. That faded color denim, like white blue, what is that? Also, those terrible blouses that look like they were bought from the Salvation Army for a dollar. Wearing those goddamn canvas shoes. It’s like these women should be smoking Capri’s bitching about Dan Quayle.

            There are so many more of these frightening fashion decisions at any given time down on Bedford Avenue. And ladies, I don’t mean to single you out entirely. I’m sure your tired of consistently dating faux-west flannel wearing, spotty half-grown bearded, 50’s styled glasses donning musician/painter/filmmaker/graphic designer dude.
            I get it, it’s rough for everyone these days. But I’ve gotta go.
            Roland is taking me to Astoria tonight which he describes as "full of enough T and A to make any straight man cry and me vomit.”
            Till next time.  





Monday, November 21, 2011

Am I Good In Bed?

            I have a picture of Dostoyevsky by my writing desk. He looks at me, long beard, old rustic homeless man’s coat on, staring out with the weariness of old Russia in his eyes. He sits, judging me, his face looks past me, through me really, telling me I’ll never be a great writer.
            I pitch to him different blog post ideas and I can see him shaking his head, remembering his own written tombs of the human struggle for redemption and of damnation, of poverty and familial blood, of the high tones of fever madness and the low drudgery of the human drama.
            I, on the other hand, write about fucking and drinking. Even so, I try to ignore his judging stares.
            You see, Dostoyevsky never had the Internet. If he did, he might have lightened up a little bit. He would have loved the random searches, but he would have been a little peeved when the number of hits for the word ‘fuck’ comes up a whopping 1,060,000,000 and the number for his homeboy ‘Jesus’ was only a meager 719,000,000. There are a lot of other things we have that ole Dostoyevsky didn’t: Drive-thrus, mini-malls, Netflix, Fox News, hardcore pornography, IPads. Back in those old St. Petersburg days, you spent most of your time eating goulash and dodging cholera. There seemed, at least in his novels, some kind of grand love, or a search for that love, and the sexual natures of men and women consisted of either nail biting passions of lost loves or at least a healthy dowry for marrying off an portly Russian hag.
            These days, especially on the brink of 2012 in New York City, the sexual mores of the everyday citizen is a little different. Our sexual politics resemble the politics in Syria about now, frenzied and little a violent in nature. They want change, and they want now. And, I suppose, so do we. Like the kind of change like you’d rather be lying naked in bed with that special someone then reading this blog at your job dealing with shitty customers, clients or bosses. I get it. Trust me, I’d rather be naked with a particular person (Yes, I do have someone in mind) instead of writing this blog in my boxer shorts right now.
            And being that we’d all rather be fucking someone right now, it begs the question, how good are we at it? I like to average my experience, and I range a straight C+, leaning heavily on extra credit for effort.   
            Which brings us to a question many must have considered in their sexual lives:
            Am I Good In Bed?
            Now, when most people are asked this question (especially women), the answer is generally: YES.
            This can’t possibly be true.
            You have to suck to someone (not literally here folks).
            Now most men, yes, are just happy to be there, and could care less if we are good or not, or if the girl has any special talents at all.  But even us Neanderthals, as we get older, develop some kind of discerning sense about what good sex is and what bad sex is (except for my friend, Wyatt, who will fuck anything from here to Siberia).
            Think back to all of the sexual experiences you have had in your life.
            No doubt there is a range of embarrassing charades of passable love-making to toe curling, illegally pleasurable jaunts of orgasmic thrill.
            I decided recently to conduct a social experiment in several bars (the best place for alcohol induced lewd honesty) asking the common person to write down 3 specific reasons why someone would be deemed ‘good in bed’. And of course, as expected from sarcastic drunk New Yorkers, the answers were honest, revealing, and some down-right hilarious.
              Here’s are some of the specific reasons why people are ‘good in bed’ deduced from my barroom social experiment and they are as varied as the human beings themselves
            Adults only now, kids.

            “Can last more than ten minutes”. (What’s the average out there? I’ll save that for my next social experiment. There might be a rampant army of two pump chumps out there. Come on fellas. I know you want to bust but ladies first, you know what I’m saying!)
            “Lots of head”. (Tons of people expressed this, so there must be some head drought going on out there. Maybe people are too much in a rush to fuck, or fearful of certain cleaning habits.  Remember people, Head is caring, and sharing is good for everybody. So get out there and go down on someone.)

            “Submissive as a motherfucker” (direct quote). Followed by an *. The addendum states: “Not like dead fish submissive, but someone who actually can think of nothing better than letting someone dominate their every move.” I like this person, and I’m guessing it’s a dude, but you never know.

            “Good Penis Size” I loved this answer. I actually asked her right after she showed me her answer: “You like a John Holmes type?” She answered, very demurely. “No, just even if the guy sucks in bed I can make him hold still and get where I gotta go anyways.” Thank you Miss, and let this be a lesson to all of you who say size doesn’t matter.

            “Mellow-I don’t like too much pressure”. I’m with this guy. Women will never understand this factor, but the sex act can be a very stressful situation for some of us guys, especially if it’s been a while. And when stress comes around banging, there’s that horrible tendency of the wet noodle problem. A considerate women can turn the tables on this one real quick, but an amateur love-maker will only make that embarrassing issue turn into a lifetime of problems for the fellah. See point #2.

            “Lets me do anal the first time we hook up.” Well, this dude is forward, but it takes all kinds. Is it strange if I dare say he was British? Maybe sodomizing Americans makes up for the whole British loss of the Colonies perhaps? Historical grudge fuck in the ass. Who knows? Just a guess. But just so I’m not totally throwing this Brit under the bus, his third point was “Stays for breakfast”. Awww.          
            “Being affectionate.” Well, there we go, a little softness from our New York tough crowd. She did let me know how dangerous it was, however, when people are this way. It makes her think they actually care for her. God forbid, right, anyone shows a little love? I stand by this woman. Let’s all be a little more affectionate to each other. Our bodies aren’t factory lines for Christ’s Sake.

            There were hundreds of other points, which I will more than willing bring up in future blogs about this particular topic.
            There were obviously a lot of classic responses, anything from “Makes me cum in every position” to my personal favorite “The 3 S’s: Shape, Size, and Shift”, which I’ll let y’all use your imagination on that one.
            What are your specific three reasons why someone is good in bed? Send your list to  
            Until next time I argue with Dostoyevsky…see you at the bar.




Friday, November 11, 2011

Bartender Secrets (Part 2)

            There’s one place I know everyone goes, and it ain’t church.
            At least once a week (or for others, several times a day), most of you will step into a bar and order up a drink from your local, friendly bartender (And they better be friendly to you or you can rat them out to me and I’ll write a profile on them in the coming blogs. I now plan to wage a very public war against shitty bartenders).
            You walk into the bar. It already sounds like a joke, but the punch line is a good time.     
            That’s the name of the game.  
            A good time. Alcohol is not meant to be drunk when depressed. Being that alcohol already is a drug, and a depressant at that, it can make a perfectly rational man try to wrestle with my doorman Tommy from Bed-Stuy (i.e. Bad Decision). You will be chicken-winged directly.
            Now that you’re in the bar, I want you to look around. Let’s do a checklist of a good bar real fast.
            Good music? Check.
            A smile and greeting from the bartender? Check.
            A couple of shot and beer specials for the financially insecure? (and who isn’t these days?) Check.
            Okay. Now I want you to remember what a weird creation a bar is. There is no other place like it in the world. It is a state and federally mandated room where you are legally allowed to serve and consume drugs.
            That’s it.
            And people gather in a socially acceptable way to take drugs together.
            Now think of what a dive bar is (my personal favorite). A socially acceptable place where people are served drugs in a dark room. Wow. When you put it like that, that makes all of us bartenders State And Federally mandated drug dealers!
            Who can beat that?
            It’s like working down on Wall Street.
            I just discovered a very interesting little book titled “Ten Nights In a Bar Room, and What I Saw There” written by a Timothy Shay Arthur in 1865, and later used by Temperance Leagues towards the fight for Prohibition. In the publisher’s preface, it states:
            “Ten Nights In A Bar Room gives a series of sharply drawn sketches of scenes, some touching in the extreme, and some dark and terrible (Note: He should try the Subway Bar). Step by step, the author traces the downward course of the tempting vendor and his infatuated victims, until both are involved in hopeless ruin.”   
            I guess ole Timothy Shay Arthur didn’t have a penchant for the sauce. Ten nights Timmy? Try 10 years, brother. See what you see then. I’ll tell you about tempting vendors and infatuated victims.  
            The bar life is full of these interesting caveats of information and secrets. The only way to learn these things is to do the job for some number of years.
            I’ve covered some other Bartending Secrets a number of blogs ago (to read click go here).   
            To continue our little list of Bartending Secrets, please read on, to learn what all of us ‘downward course’ tenders have gathered in our whiskey soaked stations serving the world drugs.

            There is a huge difference.
            A monkey can be trained to use a church key and crack open bottles of beer for everyone. I was just at a bar off Grand Street last night (I’m not going to start throwing stones just yet) and this young lady was working. Right when we walk in, she’s sitting on the bar on one side and two lowly looking fellahs are sitting on the other side. There was no conversation or engagement. She looks bored as she slips off the bar, huffing as she approaches us. With no emotion, she asks:
            “What’s up?”
            My jovial friends and I look at each other and make our order. She nods, brings the order, charges us, and goes back to the other side of the bar, jumping back up on the bar. My friends don’t care, they got their drinks, but I was pissed. This is the difference between a person who just goes through the motions and serves you drinks and a real bartender.
            Sure, a bartender is supposed to know some drinks, but on top of that, you’re happy to see them. They just make your day. They know what you like. They get it. You need to catch a buzz and we’re happy to get your there.
            You wanna talk? So be it. What topic? Politics? Sports? Human mysteries? We got that. Wanna bitch? We’ll listen. The real bartenders of the world actually give a shit about people.
            I’ve actually heard bartenders talk about how much they hate people.
            I suggest they find a different profession.            
            CHANGE ON THE BAR, and other BAR VOODOO
            Don’t do it. Like the ‘hat on the bed’ curse from Drugstore Cowboy, change on the bar calls upon a demonic curse on the business day. I can spot change on the bar from 12 feet away.      
            Don’t do it.
            Don’t buy anything with it.
            Don’t put it down on the surface.
            Don't drink at bars that price their beer at $4.25. That makes change potentially to fall on the bar.
            Do not tip with change, ever. This tells the bartender he works for change and is otherwise a jangling fuck you to the barkeep.
            If you are cursed with no business, the remedy for any bar and restaurant, as told to me by a Haitian bartender in New Orleans, is to sprinkle salt and sugar outside the front door, right in the center, blow a little of that ‘gris-gris’ on the pile, cover with two actually wooden stirrers in an X shape on top, and give it fifteen minutes. Customers will be rolling through the door in no time.
            And if your customer has the hiccups, old man Theodore (the bartender who taught me the ways and means behind the bar) espouses the three ingredient cure: take a lemon, pour white sugar on it, then douse it with Bitters. Have the ‘patient’ suck the lemon dry and, seconds later:   
            Hiccup free world.
            Stay tuned for more Bartender Secrets.
            Until our next drug deal….       

            To see what the bartender really knows: Send your weekly questions to 





Saturday, November 5, 2011

The Foot In Mouth Problem

            My buddy Wyatt is a funny man.
            He walks into my bar the other day, already drunk as a skunk.
            “Hey brother! Why don’t you set a young man up with a shot and a beer?” He yells out in his deepest Hick voice.
            I finish washing the last of the dishes and dry my hands with a clean dry bar rag.
            “Coming right up,” I tell him.
            It’s about 3 pm and Wyatt, bearded, standing there in his working man’s beige-green jacket looking like the illegitimate son of Jesus and Jack Kerouac with eyes gleaming a narcotic haze, leans forward, as if the bar itself is the only thing holding him up.
            It probably is.  
            “You doing all right, buddy?” I ask him.
            He doesn’t look up. He takes the shot glass between his trembling fingers and puts it back down. And, still without looking up, takes the can of beer and chugs that back. He places the two now empty objects down on the bar and belches loudly. Some calm folks nursing some whiskey gingers look over. He turns to them:
            “Howdy! Many apologies.”
            I lean close.
            “Hey, Wyatt? You don’t look so good. Sit down.”
            Wyatt looks right at me. “I’m not right.”
            “I can see that. Well, what happened?”
            “A date,” he says, head down to the ground.
            I shook my head. “I told you those things were terrible. What happened?”
            “I was too honest.”
            “Ahh, see, never do that.”
            “She said she lived in Bushwick and all I asked was if she had HPV. It was a goddamn joke.”
            “She didn’t find it funny?”
            “Not really. Then we drank more and I told her about my ex, the bitch.”
            “That’s another thing,” I say, frowning.
            “I just want to be straight with someone in this goddamn town. It’s gettin’ to be winter soon. I need me a curlin’-up-with woman.”
            “Maybe you should stop drinking?”
            He looks me dead in the eye.
            “What—are you crazy? And face this town sober? Who the hell can do that?”
            Poor Wyatt.
            He’s just feeling what a lot of people are feeling as they put on their winter jackets, feeling the cold chill up their spine.
            Wyatt’s just tired of the games people play.
            You just can’t say everything that’s on your mind.
            Perhaps it’s because I’m paid to talk I say whatever I want.
            I’ve actually been told on more than one occasion that I’d be a lot more attractive if I kept my mouth shut. Now whether they’re looking at me like a dutiful house frau who should get back to washing dishes or I’m actually not interesting at all and should go sit pretty in a corner.  
            It’s always better to let someone else say the stupid thing first.
            Don’t be the one with the foot in the mouth.
            Here’s a short list of topics better left unbreached on any kind of date:

            THE EX
            Don’t do it. Please. Whatever you do, it does not matter if the topic of conversation points in all directions to talking about what an believable bastard he was or how the last girl you loved cheated on you with another bartender, the moment you bring up the last person you had sex with to a new person is a date-killer.
            Nothing makes a person’s nose wrinkle in disgust than hearing how this other person fucked up. And, knowing that maybe one day they’ll be sitting with the one after you telling that new person all of your flaws on the first date.
            And certainly don’t speak well of any of the past lovers. You say one thing about how Frank was a great lover, that name will burn into the mind of your new beau for eternity as someone he has to compete with. If he says his mother loved Mary and you see that fondness in his eyes, you will construct this perfect Mary in your mind, a ghost you must fight forever.
            The past is dead. Leave it the dirt.

            I’m going to tell you a secret.
            Everybody has a fucked up childhood.
            It’s true.
            This is something that took me a long time to figure out. Because essentially people are flawed, then no matter what, your parents fucked up. That’s right. And that’s only because their parents fucked up. And their parents fucked up before that (who can blame them, it was the Depression after all). Nobody’s perfect in this game of life, and chances are, as the recipient of being the kid, you’ve inherited some issues, past down from long ago. It’s like an echo of problems bouncing from generation to generation. The thing is that no one really cares about how you grew up, and when you talk about it you just come off like someone in need of therapy, and that’s the wrong kind of head work.
            Don’t talk about it. Everybody had it bad in some way or another.   
            Say nothing about your parents, your youth, or the creepy people at the YMCA summer camp.


            Especially at the beginning. Don’t make any sexual references. To anything. This goes out to the guys out there. Just pretend you’re a Castrati and you’re only interests are independent films, the de Kooning exhibit at the MOMA, and the fabulous French dishes over at Flea Market on Avenue A. Even the slight mention of sexuality will put the lady off. She already knows what you’re about, especially if she’s ever hung out with a man before. They know the score. They want to know more about who the fuck you are and what you do, as opposed to your slight BDSM leanings and penchant for pornography.
            And this can be bad for women as well. I’ve actually been on dates where a woman has said things like: “Well, normally I don’t wait too long to fuck someone, it really depends.” Right away, I was put off. Stay away from key words like fuck, bang, or smash. These put off a fellah a bit, and sort of ring a little too close to that whore variant, which is great in theory, but gets a little disgusting when you learn just why she's great in bed. Practice makes perfect. Ha. Ha.  

            We all want to believe that the person we’re digging at the moment doesn’t have a past, hasn’t slept with an ‘estimated’ 80 lovers, comes from a shitty childhood, or has issues that will eventually be turned back on us.
            Of course, this is all a myth, everybody has a past, and a sordid one at that. But for some reason we really want them to be a purer person than they are. That’s why there’s relationships, so we can slowly take in the poison of the truth and build a tolerance to some of those less than romantic facts about the other person. Think about long-time married people and all of the horrid things they have learned about each other over the years.  
            But in dating, it’s about the beautiful lie. So instead of having to eat a crow each time, keep your mouth shut and smile.
            And could someone call a 12 step program for my buddy Wyatt, please?

            Till next time.