Tag Archives: over 50

Pardon My Meltdown

Okay, so I wrote this Saturday, during the big Blizzard of 2016. Of course, then I went out into the big blizzard and got blind drunk! Oh my. Anyway, while writing, I was also emailing with one of the other employees from the bar in question and he told me not to post anything about it. He thought it would get the staff in trouble and be negative press, both of which would be bad for him. So I didn’t post it. But I’m torn. I have some pretty strong feelings about this. To solve the problem of bad PR I took out all the names. Some people will know who (and where) I’m referring to. But at least it won’t be as obvious. And hopefully no one will get in trouble.

Last night I experienced a serious meltdown.

I sat down for happy hour at XXX, my favorite bar, a bar I’ve been drinking in since 1986. (No, not steadily. SHUTUP!) The friendly barmaid had my Stella in front of me in moments. But when my date arrived he almost died of thirst. Our barmaid was on the  phone with tech support, struggling with the new POS computer. Eventually his thirst was slaked. Crisis averted. But only temporarily.

When the shift changed, instead of welcoming the acerbic XXX, who would spin vinyl and serve attitude, a willowy young woman wearing an off-the-shoulder shirt asked how we were doing. “You’re not XXX,” I stammered. “No, I’m not,” she smiled. Sensing my distress (and probably picking up on my panic, which evidenced itself as a string of expletives) she offered to buy us a round. Ordinarily that might’ve mollified me. But when she was joined by her co-bartender — A co-bartender? But WHY? The bar isn’t so big it requires two! — I blew my remaining gaskets. The man was wearing a belly shirt. And he had a man bun. A MOTHERFUCKING MAN BUN!

Ladies and gentlemen, I cannot express to you the direness of this situation. Yes, I know the East Village has been changing for years. I’ve watched as the drug dealers and junkies were replaced by bankers and “basics.” I’ve witnessed the high-rises go up on the Lower East Side and waved goodbye as my friends were priced out of their rental apartments. And I’ve mourned every closed dive bar as my property value went up. But this? THIS?

I should’ve seen the writing on the wall. When a “cocktail menu” appeared on the bar, touting muddled drinks. When the number of barstools doubled. When the tablet appeared beside the cash register, glowing annoyingly in our faces. But is NOTHING sacred? I mean, a MAN BUN? So here is my Open Letter to XXX.

Dear XXX,
I’ve been enjoying the ambience of XXX for 30 years. Last night I was sad to see that instead of XXX there were two shiny new faces behind the bar. This upgrade was a painful one. I can sympathize that changes need to be made. I understand that rents go up. But you own half the bars in the neighborhood. I was told you want to make XXX “more like XXX.” Why? Why on earth do you need to make bar A more like bar B? Especially when bar B is only blocks away? Couldn’t you leave just one bar the same? You’ve upgraded upstairs. You’ve created XXX out of a basement. Has XXX been losing money? Those hip, young drinkers you’re making these changes for are fickle. I’ve watched as they pause on the sidewalk, decide to come in, order one Appletini and then move along to the next hot spot. Are the few dollars you make on their one, fleeting transaction that much more valuable than the dozens (and dozens) of dollars I’ve been spending at your bar for the last three decades?
Yes, I know. I can take my business elsewhere. Yes, there are still a few other establishments that remain, like flies captured in amber, unchanged. But your bar is my favorite. Perhaps I’m being overly sensitive (or overly nostalgic) but the message I’m receiving is this: “Fuck off, old people. I don’t want you in my bar.” If that isn’t the intention, perhaps you can tell me why, with all the bars you run, it was necessary to “youthify” the only “neighborhood bar” you had left.
Sincerely,
a cranky old broad from the neighborhood <shakes fist>

 

 

Fashion vs. Style: A Rant

[Okay, this post is gonna be a little out of character. A rant, yes, which is in character, but I feel compelled to write about fashion — on non-fashion. Mostly I’m avoiding posting a miserable rant about a bunch of personal shit that I’m processing. So…this. Until…that.]

I love thrift shops: Buffalo Exchange, Beacon’s Closet, or any of the fun stores on Haight Street in San Francisco. The fact that there aren’t two of the same things is one reason. Price, obviously, is another. But the idea that I’m not being subjected to the whims of an industry that only exists to keep us madly, mindlessly buying new shit is the main reason. However, even though there isn’t someone dictating what will and won’t be available — the “buyer” for department stores and the like — doesn’t mean that decisions aren’t being made. And that makes me mad. Because along with purchasing in these places, there’s selling. And I’d like to sell. But every time I take clothing in, I get turned away. “This isn’t in style,” the snotty 20-something says to me. “No one’s wearing these anymore,” the gay FIT student sniffs. Well isn’t that the point?

I’m sure what they’re thinking is, “This old broad couldn’t possibly own anything fashionable.” Which is, in fact, true. Because I don’t believe in fashion. I hate it. I refuse to even open a fashion magazine because they’re designed to make you feel like you’re not enough: not rich enough, young enough, thin enough, FASHIONABLE enough. They depress the hell out of me. It’s all such a scam. The fashion industry wants you to BUY BUY BUY! THIS season’s colors! THIS season’s handbags! THIS season’s skirt length or sleeve poof or fucking eyeshadow shade. It’s arbitrary, dreamt up CRAP!

The whole purpose of shopping at a thrift store — or second-hand store, or consignment store or any OTHER store that isn’t selling you brand new clothing Fashion Avenue is trying to sell you — is that you aren’t buying fashion. You’re buying style. A store opened up downstairs from me. They have a huge poster in their window: “Fashion is forever.” No, fashion is fleeting. STYLE is forever. What was in fashion last year is now, well, last year. You’re supposed to feel out of fashion, toss that shit in the trash and buy this year’s whateverthefuck. Or give it away. So that it winds up at Goodwill, where “vintage” clothing store people shop, buy and resell to you at a marked up price! 

So back to these damn re-sale shops. Since I don’t have a lot of money, they are my main resource for “new” clothes. Though even if I won the lottery, I’d still shop in them because I enjoy the hunt. I love finding some random, incredible piece. I’m not looking for a skirt length or “line” (read: shape) because I’m not even aware of what line I should be looking for. I’m just browsing for something that strikes my fancy. Something unusual. Something ME!

Once upon a time when you went shopping all you could BUY was what was in fashion. If the line didn’t look good on you, too bad. You were stuck with skinny jeans or pencil skirts. And don’t even get me started on sizes. If you weren’t a size 12 you were stuck in the mumu department. When thrift stores became “fashionable” that changed the whole dynamic. Everything was in fashion. Anything was cool to wear. Peasant skirts your thing? Groovy! Here’s a dozen! Striving to look like a 50’s housewife? Not just poofy dresses with crinolines to wear underneath but aprons! Who even wears aprons anymore? Beaded cardigans? Here ya go. Of course, now you can buy brand new beaded cardigans but in 1979, the only ones available were from the 50s. In thrift stores.

Women too young to remember the days before don’t know how lucky they are to shop for shoes and have, literally, hundreds of choices. Flats, wedges, platforms, point toes, Mary Janes, all of it. Pants come with and without pleats, boyfriend cut and boot cut and skinny tight. Hip-hugger or high-waisted. Stretchy and spandex and magical fabrics that weren’t even around in the 70s. There are so many choices that you can actually have a style all your very own.

Image Image

Which leads me back to, how can anyone in these stores say, “We aren’t buying that. It’s not in fashion.”? I was sent away with a pair of sequined “hostess” pants. It was around Thanksgiving. Hostess pants are flowy pants that women once wore to “hostess” in. They’re sold every holiday season to, yes, hostess in! They aren’t ever out of fashion because they’re perpetually in fashion. The fact that they were sequined makes them even more desirable. And that they’re long on me — probably about a 36″ inseam — would make them exponentially more desirable in fucking CHELSEA where drag queens might be more inclined to shop. Which was where I was turned away. Sheesh! I almost guffawed in the idiot’s face. But there’s no arguing with someone who’s no doubt sketching the next decade’s “fashion” in his Design Illustration class at FIT. Which will only be a recycling of shit I’ve already worn anyway. (See current styles. WHO would’ve imagined we’d be wearing shoulder pads again? Hammer pants? Holy shit! What next? Hostess pants?!)

A strict eye on what’s au courant makes more sense in the structured consignment shops like Knimble or the off-shoots of Goodwill like Georgi & Willow or GW, both higher end, more curated “boutiques,” where part of what they’re selling is the fashionable shopping experience. But in a place that prides itself on “different” why would they want their stock to be so “same?” An establishment touting itself as selling “vintage” shouldn’t be concerned about what’s in — or out — of fashion. If I want what’s current I can shop at Old Navy. And buy a new t-shirt for less than the pit-stained one in the thrift shop! 

The children who are working in these stores love to dismiss things they deem as “not in fashion.” I’ve had them say the most condescending things to me. So I decided to get specific. I recently asked a guy, “Why aren’t you interested in this [skirt]? Everyone loves this label.” (A label, by the way, that I’d bought in a tiny Brooklyn market stall long before the label became a crazy national brand.} “They do,” he replied, “but this line isn’t in style,” ARGH! EXACTLY! If it WERE you could go into any fucking store and buy it! THIS skirt is for people who don’t like — or look good in — what’s currently “fashionable!” Oy. I guess I’m destined to only buy at these stores and not sell. Email me if you’d like an awesome pair of sequined hostess pants…

Scary Senior Moment

Yesterday was a total wash. And it ended with the scariest “senior moment” I’ve ever experienced. It would be funny if it weren’t so…frightening.
After a relatively unproductive day, I took the subway to Chelsea to meet a friend for a movie, a free movie, since she has weekly free passes. It was sold out. No big deal. I’d wanted to hit the Figment Meet & Greet after the movie; I’d just show up earlier. “Let’s walk downtown,” I said. “It’s nice out.” We strolled the damp streets from Chelsea to Central Bar, where a piece of paper taped to the door read “Figment Meet & Greet Upstairs.” No one was upstairs. And no one ever showed. Because the Meet & Greet is on the 31st.  At least I saw one guy in the bar mirror’s reflection who’d made the same mistake. I didn’t get a chance to say hello, since he disappeared. No movie. No Meet & Greet. My friend and I had a couple of beers and chased them with roast beef from This Little Piggy. What a waste of a cute outfit.
My ridiculous day ended as I stood in the bathroom to take out my contacts. I blinked and blinked to get my left contact out and, damn it, it wasn’t working! Fine, I thought, I’ll take out the other one. I opened the case and there was already a contact sitting in there. I opened the other half and there it was, the contact I’d been unsuccessfully trying to blink out of my left eye. How had I managed to not know I’d already removed both of my contacts? Is my short-term memory already failing? I’ve often joked about having so much on my mind that I need to look in the toilet to see if I’ve peed. But is that really it? Do I have a lot on my mind? Or am I losing it?
I just spent the holidays with my dad, whose short-term memory is so shot that dinner out goes like this:
“What are we doing here?”
“We’re having dinner, dad.”
“Have we ordered?”
“Yes, we’ve already eaten.”
“Oh. What did I have?”
“You had the chicken, dad.”
“Yeah? Did I like it?”
“Yes, dad, you enjoyed the chicken.”
“Are we having dessert?”
“Yeah, dad, we’ve ordered dessert. It’s coming.”
“Oh good!”
So you can understand my concern.
I woke up this morning and got ready to bombard everyone I know with a plea to come visit me at Double Down, where I’d be bartending. When I texted the manager to see what time he wanted me to show up, he informed me that my shift is NEXT Wednesday, not today. Sigh. I madly scrambled to let the people I’d already begged to join me know that tonight wasn’t the night. Hmm, how to un-invite the thousands of NYC burning peeps who’ve been notified via the two emailing lists? And how did I not notice the fucking DATE on the text the guy had sent me asking me work Wednesday, January 25th?
There’s an event I want to attend with a few friends. I thought it was tomorrow night. Someone just pointed out that it’s next week. Am I living in the future? Why do I have all my dates so scrambled? I’m trying not to lose my shit, along with my mind. I should take consolation in the fact that at least one other person, if not two (since another friend I’d texted to see if he was going said no, also believing it was last night) as well as the bar, thought the damn Meet & Greet was last night. And of the friends I’d emailed about the (next) Thursday event, a few others also thought it was tomorrow. Can I blame social media? Is this all Facebook’s fault? Because believe me, there’s nothing I’d like better than passing this particular buck.
Are we so bombarded with information that it’s difficult to process it all? Somehow all events get compressed into almost immediately. I feel like, Don’t notify me about something that’s too far into the future because I’ll never remember. I can only process what’s going on in the next 48 hours.
To take it a step further, who remembers birthdays unless Facebook notifies them? Does anyone actually snail mail birthday cards anymore? Or at least cards that aren’t “belated?” Who else doesn’t rely on Gmail to fill in their friends’ addresses? And do we have anyone’s phone numbers memorized? What are the brain cells we once used for these tasks doing now? Besides fucking FORGETTING things?
Anyway… On a related note, I recently learned that forgetting what you went from one room to another for is a common problem and not related to old age or dementia. (Thank GAWD!) Apparently passing through a doorway signals your brain that it’s experiencing a new “episode.”
“The researchers say that when you pass through a doorway, your mind compartmentalizes your actions into separate episodes. Having moved into a new episode, the brain archives the previous one, making it less available for access. It’s as if you slam a mental door between what you knew and…what was I saying?”
I’ve gotta go get me some ginko biloba… Seriously.
Day 7, January 17
1. 20 minutes of meditating. Though it was kinda cheating, since I did it in bed even before I got up. At least I didn’t fall back asleep…
2. 30 minutes of working out.
3. Blogging/writing. Completed last night’s “Not-So-Old Men” post…
4. I can’t remember what I watched on TV… See above.
5. Still picking up after the last few boxes I brought up. Again. Again? Okay, that’s a bit of a stretch. I managed to mail off two very small items to get them out of my way. I chucked one shattered head vase in the trash instead of desperately gluing it back together. “$40 Reno” said the slip of paper inside. Goodbye, $40! Sigh.
6. Socializing: 4 hours of not seeing a movie, not being at the Figment Meet & Greet and eating roast beef. Hah!

What I Want

Well, with all the talk lately of bailing on OkCupid and Ashley Madison, of wailing over the “morally bankrupt” ex’s heinous antics and generally “going negative,” I thought perhaps the prayers and appeals to the universe might work a bit better if I actually delineated what it is I want. I’ll start with the lists I made out in the desert last year and perhaps add a few details.

RELATIONSHIP
I want to be loved.
I want to love someone.
I want a thoughtful man.
I want a man with a great job and enough money to keep us both comfortable.
I want a man who can communicate.
I want a man who gives good massages.
I want a man who is tall — 6’3″ or taller!
I want a man who loves my friends and my family.
I want a man with great teeth and great hair.
I want a man who enjoys puzzles and games.
I want a man who will cherish me.
I want a man who will make me laugh.
I want a man to grow old with.
I want a man who I have great sex with and great sexual chemistry with.
I want a man who loves his work.
I want a man who is a great kisser.
I want a man who is generous.
I want a man with nice skin.
I want a faithful man.
I want a man who is physically and emotionally healthy and strong.

CAREER
I want a job I enjoy.
I want to experience mastery — or at least appreciation and fulfillment.
I want to make a great living — $80,000 a year!
I want my job to be creative and challenging.
I want to work with fun and interesting people.
I want to be in a position with responsibilities.
I want a cool boss — or to be my own boss!
I want a job with flexible hours.
I want a job with great health benefits.
I want a job.

HOME
I want a home.
I want a home I can afford.
I want a little Poodle and wifi and my head vases on a little shelf all around the ceilings.
I want clean floors and a coffee maker.
I want a comfortable bed with a fluffy quilt and matching pillows.
I want colorful walls and stained glass.

As you can see, I have a lot of wants! Seriously, it’s been a long year of trying to figure out exactly what it is I do want. I wrote these lists last September, while holed up in my glamorous Burning Man trailer, a glorified box on wheels. It’s home three months a year, with a reasonably comfortable bed (no fluffy quilt or matching pillows, though!), electricity and a dorm fridge. A veritable palace!

Over the past six or seven months I haven’t gotten a whole lot clearer on what I want and it’s pretty tough to visualize your desires when they aren’t fixed in your mind. So I’ve been trying. I now have a home. The floors are clean, if littered with foster dog hair. I’m enjoying the white walls at the moment so I think I’ll keep ’em. I already had some stained glass and my bed is not only comfortable, it has a fluffy quilt with matching pillows! Of course, I’ve had the quilt and pillows for well over a decade, so they could use some updating.

As for being able to afford the place, well, that’s where the “career” comes in. Or the lack of it. For now I am committed to head out into the desert again and work for The Man. But when I get back it’s gonna be time for some serious soul-searching. I can’t afford to be choosey anymore. If I have to clerk at KMart, I will. Whatever happens, I’ll figure it out. And I’ll be writing this blog, along with a book or two, even if I have to self-publish. It’s been long enough.

Which brings us to relationships. If you’ve been reading — and I know you have been! — you know where things stand. I have to wonder how I’m going to meet this mythical man. I’ve more or less given up on the online dating. The parties I go to are attended, primarily, by people half my age. Any men I meet who are over 45 and not using a fucking walker are so impressed with themselves — “Look at me! I have HAIR!” — and I suppose I can’t fault them; I’m pretty impressed with myself, too! But their confidence means they think they qualify for someone hot and young, not a 50-something broad with a blogging problem.

But I’m doing my best to be positive here, right? I’m trusting the universe to provide me, eventually, with the man who will be by my side when I take my last breath. I’m not in too big a hurry. Well, okay, maybe I am. But realistically, perhaps I’ll find someone when I’m older. Or even older than older. When I won’t turn my nose up at a man who looks like Santa or a guy without any hair. But at least I’m putting my shopping list out there.

I could get really particular and say I want someone who can spell and punctuate, someone with blue or green eyes and a foreign accent. I don’t want to narrow my search down to an impossibility but I also don’t want to settle. If you want the elevator pitch, I want someone who will love my like Eric did, kiss me like Johnny did and fuck me like James did.

There was one more list I made. It’s a list of my attributes. What I believe I have to offer a man.

ABBY-TRIBUTES
I am attractive.
I am talented.
I am in great shape.
I am healthy.
I have a great body.
I have nice hair.
I have good skin.
I have nice teeth.
I have a great sense of humor.
I am witty.
I am smart.
I am clever.
I am funny.
I am experienced.
I am interesting.
I am a good listener.
I am a great story teller.
I am a great conversationalist.
I am sexy.
I am strong.
I am compassionate.
I am understanding.
I am NOT broken.
I am eager to please.
I am passionate.
I am a considerate lover.
I am a great kisser.
I am fun in bed.
I give great head!
I give great massages.
I am great company.
I am vibrant.
I am powerful.
I am gregarious.
I am exuberant.
I am hopeful.

I know you’re out there! Here I am!