Vanity Fair’s Proust Questionnaire as answered by the cast members of the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills

What is your idea of perfect happiness?

Adrienne: Being buried alive and then breaking out of my coffin and scratching my way to the surface of the earth. Like that scene in Kill Bill. Can’t you just feel the splinters in your knuckles, the dirt under your fingernails? God that scene makes me hard.

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pop culture sonnets

1.

Britney, our national nighthawk, dulcet

Songbird of the dark: your melodies pump

On Red Bull wings, video body wet

With oil, while in backs of bars, we dry hump.

 

Sometimes we recall your salad days: your

Pigtails, promise rings, sports bras.  E-mail my

Heart, you warbled in twang on your mall tour,

In fact innocent, not knowing, that by

 

And by, you would dance down roads of madness,

In a diamond jumpsuit, with snakes, slaves, strange

Toxic lovers, your face full of sadness.

You shaved your head, swung umbrellas, deranged.

 

Confess: your loneliness was killing you,

Our little bird with the pink dice tattoo.

 

 

2.

Up goes a collective national sigh:

Oh Kim, must we see your face everywhere?

We wait for sweet release, our last goodbye,

We tire of your drama, your lips, your hair,

 

Your hips, your eyes– they repeat on newsstands

As if reflected in funhouse mirrors.

Your makeup Van Gogh-thick, your wedding band

Ring Pop-big, a Pigpen-swirl of rumors

 

Surrounds you. An American Marie

Antoinette for these recessionary

Times, beware!  Ryan says, Let them watch E!

But a Reign of Terror approaches thee—

 

Off with her head, cable customers vote,

Making guillotines out of their remotes.

 

 

3.

I swoon for Laguna Beach, paradise

Found: Pacific vistas, infinity

Pools, caramelized highlights so precise

Hairstylists must be part divinity.

 

Kristin Cavallari is its Venus,

Her hoarse laugh and monotone inflections

Somehow bewitching to ev’ry penis:

She surfs the sea; they all get erections.

 

High school bitch priestess wielding her power,

Ruling her heaven with a shearling boot,

Her stretch palanquin rented by the hour—

The limo, her throne, her prince, always cute.

 

Then graduating, she moves to L.A.,

Where The Hills will take her power away.

The Last Great American Prejudice

Recently I was watching “Fashion Police” on E! because, well, because it was on.  As you may know, I love fashion, and celebrities, and stupid punny jokes like those often made on Sex and the City (For example: “Lawrence of my labia.” It’s like you want to laugh, and kill yourself, all at once.)  So you would think that I would love Fashion Police, which is a nexus, a sort of Constantinople, if you will, of all these things.  And yet– I hate Fashion Police.  Of course, there’s no accounting for taste when it comes to television.  I judge you if you watch Jersey Shore– yet I have watched Road Rules-Real World Challenges religiously for years.  All the Real Housewives franchises are inane hour-long anti-plastic-surgery PSAs– except for the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, which I adore.  Watching RHOBH is like watching a collagen arms race from behind a two-way mirror.  Dancing with the Stars is criminally boring– but America’s Best Dance Crew is innovative and inspiring.  It is possible I like ABDC mostly because I’ve been a Mario Lopez fan ever since my first Zack and Slater gangbang fantasy occurred back in the 90s.  I mean, who can resist this confection of stonewash and silk:

Nice happy trails, boys. Continue reading

And now for something even more superficial

Here at Turkey Curry Buffet HQ we are instituting some changes.  (TCB HQ is located in the ball pool of my local Chic-Fil-A’s Kidz Fun Zone, in case you were wondering.)  Firstly, I am going to try to publish at least one blog post a week (maybe more!).  A forced uptick in quantity may result in a decrease in quality, because usually I just write a post when graced by the muses with some sort of specific topic idea (my muses are Miss Piggy, Winona Ryder in the shoplifting video, and Cristiano Ronaldo’s nether abdominals (yes, just yes) in case you were wondering) but who are we kidding?  All ye who enter here have obviously abandoned all hope of intellectual or literary “quality” in the first place.  Continue reading

pessimism vs. optimism

Things that make me feel 28 years old:

1. Twitter. #whatthefuck does @ll this shit (RT, FF, DM, bit.ly) mean? And what on earth can you possibly say in less than 140 characters (including spaces)?  Especially when half of them are smiley faces?

2. Drugs.  When I was 13 I could name you every kind of drug you could do. This is not because I was one of the cool “bad kids” from an After-School Special, like these two, for example:

but rather because of forced participation in three or four years of D.A.R.E! To Keep Kids Off Drugs classes administered by MacGruff the Crime Dog.  (Who, as an aside, I am pretty sure I considered one of my best friends for a large part of fourth grade.  I have always been REALLY COOL.)  But lately I keep hearing people reference drugs I’ve never heard of.  Molly? Roxy? Dexy? Isn’t this the lineup for Jem and the Holograms?  (P.S.: If the Farrah-Fawcett-haired demigod from the above picture had been tempting high school me (overweight, bushy-browed, corduroy-wearing high school me) with a pinky nail of angel dust, you know my shit would have been sniffing it up like a Sunflowers ad in Seventeen magazine.)  (D.A.R.E.: surprisingly not that effective!)

3. Hemlines.  I mean, I am all about miniskirts, and when I am 45 you will probably still be able to find me in line at Forever 21 (no, this sheer leopard-print top is not for my daughter), but have you SEEN the hemlines of the skirts girls are wearing these days?  Often on my way home from work, usually after midnight, I drive by a strip of college bars.  And each night, as I wait at this or that stoplight, I watch girls blithely crisscrossing the pavement, noses buried in the blue glow of a text, in Clydesdale platforms and skirts so short they’re basically crotchless panties.  (These are the same girls that didn’t understand my Jem and the Holograms Halloween costume last year.)  If you set one pinky-toe down in any part of Saudia Arabia in one of those things you’d be instantly shot and set on fire.  Or in any Catholic school, for that matter.  I mean, call me old-fashioned, but I have thighs that touch together.  Whatever happened to the below-the-fingertips rule of hemlines?  These skirts barely make it past your labia before they give out.

4. Speaking of college kids, the fact that when I I.D. someone at work, they have to be born before this date in 1990.  NINETEEN NINETY, people.  In 1990 I had already outgrown my mom’s shoe size.  I had already had my first crush– on this blonde kid in Miss Sipp’s class who I think got expelled for carrying a bowie knife to school.  (We were already carrying bowie knives to school!) I had already decided that when I grew up I was going to be the blonde girl from Can’t Buy Me Love.  I had already committed my first act of theft (I stole a McDonald’s Happy Meal toy– why I remember this, I don’t know, but it was some kind of car with a Tiny Toons character in it– from Devon Russell’s desk) and consequently had already learned about “guilt” (I stayed up half the night, unable to sleep, and furtively returned it to said desk the next day).  Meanwhile these fucks were still sleeping in hospital bassinets.  So no.  No, you may not have another amaretto sour, Kaitlyn.  And pull down your skirt, for God’s sake.

5. Willow Smith.  But on the other hand, wouldn’t you rather have your childhood of mom setting you and your brother down inside a giant carboard box with two fistfuls of markers when she need a few hours of “quiet time” and getting excited about hand-me-downs from your out-of-state cousins and furtively sneaking in to Boys on the Side at the mall movie theater and eating an entire bag of Warheads while reading Madeline L’Engle books on the secret hill behind your brother’s Little League field than… hers?  Who wants to appear on The Today Show as a 10 year old?  Only assholes, that’s who.  If 10 year old me (shy, clumsy, buck-toothed, giant-footed ten year old me) had been forced to appear on The Today Show, I would’ve gone on stage and immediately urinated myself.

6. Side tattoos.  When I see someone on the beach with a tattoo like this:

I just shake my head and think, Oh, shug. You’re going to be so fat one day.

7. The ever-increasing intensity of my hangovers.  I swear to God, they’re so bad sometimes I hear the noise from Contact inside my head.

Things that make me feel 28 years young (this segment brought to you by Activi-AAA):

1. Live band karaoke.

2. Being able to buy WHATEVER KIND OF CEREAL I WANT at the grocery store.  No, the novelty has still not worn off, mom.

2a. Getting whatever toppings I want on my ridiculously oversized ice cream sundae.

3. Getting the for-grown-ups jokes in Pixar movies.

4. Miniskirts! I love them.

5. When someone tells me they’re 23, I always immediately think of how happy I am not to be 23 anymore.

5a. The realization that I am actually kind of excited to turn thirty (we’ll see what I’m saying this time next year, though).

6. The fact that I still secretly fantasize about getting a tattoo.

7. The fact that my dad still swears there is a Santa Claus.

Lies I’ve Told

1. “Oh wow– you got another tattoo.  Yeah, I love it!  It’s so cool.”

2. “Mom, I’m coughing because I just got over a cold.  No, you know I quit smoking months ago.”

3. “I can’t afford it.  I mean, I have a savings account– duh— but obviously I don’t want to dip into that.” (The first sentence is true.)

4. “Yeah, no, for sure, I definitely don’t want to be in a relationship either.  I am just not ready to settle down with, like, you know, just ONE person!  That’s crazy!”  Let me tell you something right now.  I will never, ever say this again.  For the rest of my life.  Or at least not until after my first divorce.  I never thought I’d be one of those women who uses the phrase “I’m too old for this” but GUESS WHAT.  I’M TOO FUCKING OLD FOR THIS SHIT.   And this is coming from someone who is, in fact, somewhat of a commitmentphobe.  I haven’t had a legit boyfriend since college.  (When I tell people this, they look at me like maybe I secretly have AIDS.  Are you looking at your computer monitor as if it secretly has AIDS?  Dick.)  I am terrified of heartbreak.  I leap willfully into the laps of men I know– whether through their reputation or my instinct– will never become my boyfriend because then I know that at least I will never have to go through a breakup with them.  I’d rather mess around with you casually and get hurt in many small ways, than actually be truly intimate with you and run the risk of eventually being hurt in one major way.*  And I am a total cocktease.  I will flirt with you like crazy and then scamper away at the first intimations of penile insertion.  I am scared of letting my sex number get too high.  I am scared of getting pregnant (what this has to do with having a boyfriend is rather vague, as modern technology has made NOT getting pregnant really quite easy, but I thought I’d throw it in for good measure).  I watch all my friends getting engaged and married and buying homes and having babies and making families and I think to myself, Am I crazy?  Well, yes.  Being afraid is a waste of time.  I’m also scared of flying and if I never got on an airplane again, I’d miss out on some of the best parts of life.

But I guess another part of it is that I’m also pretty weird.  I think sometimes I am Camilla, and I just haven’t met my Gonzo yet.  And I think if I did see Gonzo from across a crowded room, and time stopped and “Dance At The Gym” from West Side Story started playing, I would probably say Fuck it and twirl my multilayered mambo skirt right on board the love-plane.  HOWEVER: if, once on board, Gonzo turned to me and said “Camilla, I don’t want to be in a relationship right now” I hope to God that I would, at long last, have the balls to say “Okay. Goodbye.”  First of all, if he doesn’t want to be in a relationship with you, he’s probably not your Gonzo.  I’m all for taking things slow, but please.  We all know when we’re absolutely batshit crazy about someone (and I sometimes think men feel these things even more deeply than women do): you don’t ever want to let them go.  And sometimes you know someone’s not your Gonzo and you just keep fucking around with them anyway.  And sometimes you think someone IS your Gonzo, and they just don’t feel the same way.  I never thought I’d be one of those people who says “That’s just the way life is” but you know what?  That’s just the way life is.  Rejection sucks hard, but continuing to dick around with Gonzo after he’s directly informed you that he’s not “ready” for a relationship, thereby indirectly informing you that he’s not, in fact, batshit crazy about you, is not ever going to make you feel better.  Of course, if I had followed all this advice for the past decade, I would’ve missed out on so much fun.  So, who I am to tell you not to make like Carrie Fisher in When Harry Met Sally?:photo“He just spent $120 dollars on a new nightgown for his wife.  I don’t think he’s ever gonna leave her.”

5. “Can I have five packets of honey mustard?  I promise, they’re not all for me.” Said with a knowing smile and a “my friends– who sent me on this run to Bojangles; I would never come here just for me— sure are crazy” shake of the head.  I never lie to the kid in the Chic-fil-A drive-through, though.  There’s just something so fresh-scrubbed and gee-darn about the high schoolers that work at Chic-fil-A that I can’t even bullshit them.   I just look little Beaver Cleaver straight in the eye and say “Six packets of Chic-fil-A Sauce please.”**  Even though I know after he hands them to me he’s really thinking “My pleasure… fatty.”  I believe that S. Truett Cathy puts just the tiniest pinch of heroin in every packet of Chic-fil-A Sauce to keep the DeKalb County housewives nice and docile.  And coming back for more.  Can’t you just picture the little children strapped in the backseats of Land Rovers, lustily protesting, “But Moo–ooo–oom, I wanna eat at the Whole Foods salad bar!  Awww, no!  Not Chic-fil-A again!” while Mom silently pilots the SUV past the waving cow into the parking lot, wearing a look of grim lockjawed determination normally seen only on the faces of meth addicts navigating the streets of Detroit in winter in search of a fix and a VCR to dismantle, one bead of sweat trickling down from beneath the shimmering blonde lowlights at her temple.  Chic-fil-A Sauce is more addictive than cigarettes that give you an orgasm.  And thank God no one’s invented those yet.

*I apologize for my use of the word “intimate.” Usage of sex words that end in “y”– intimacy, panty, titty– should be avoided at all costs.

**I still can’t get over the name “Beaver Cleaver”.  Surely the creators of Leave It To Beaver knew what they were setting up when they chose their protagonist’s name, much in the same way that Disney animators knew what they were setting up when they drew King Triton’s castle?

I’m Obsessed With You: Royal Wedding Edition

Was anyone else surprised to find themselves totally obsessed with the royal wedding?  I mean, I know there’s a lot of people out there who were fully prepared to be obsessed with the royal wedding, and have the memorial china set, tea towels, and bedsheets to prove it.  But as it approached, I assumed, with a sort of lukewarm enthusiasm, it would be for me a kind of British royals’ Oscars.  I thought I would watch the proceedings for twenty minutes or so, and then wait for my extra-thick US Weekly to come in the mail a few days later.

(4 all my haterz who think that there is no possible way someone who had to give up celebrity gossip for Lent was not jumping up and down in impatient hysterics like a candy-and-Adderall-engorged Veruca Salt at 5 a.m. the day of the nuptials: to my surprise, my Lenten abstention has made celebrity gossip kind of…. boring.  When you don’t read US Weekly for six weeks and then you read six weeks’ worth all at once, you realize celeb rags are the magazine equivalent of soap operas.  You could give up these magazines for a year and then pick up right back where you started.  Nothing really changes from issue to issue.  A few novice reality stars– the Single-A-ball-players of Hollywood– crop up here and there.  A new mom sells pictures of her wrinkly cashmere-swaddled baby, which, when you think about it, is really kind of horrifically evil.  And once in a while something “huge” happens– Britney shaves her head! Tiger bangs hookers!– none of which is ever all that surprising when you take one second to consider the severe psychological erosion the pressure of fame must cause– being surprised by celebrity gossip is like visiting an insane asylum and being surprised that there’s poo on the walls– and then you read iterations of the same news for the next six months.  This all should’ve been patently obvious to someone who has been devotedly consuming articles on the Jennifer-Angelina-Brad-long-since-imaginary love triangle for SIX YEARS.)

Not that I’ve been completely cured.  I ended up catching the wedding on my parents’ DVR; after family dinner my pops and I sat down to fast-forward through highlights of the proceedings.  Reader, we ended up watching the entire thing.  (Not including the nightly ten minute nap my dad takes immediately upon finishing his after-dinner nip of Cutty Sark.)  I was enthralled to the point of mouth-breathing.  I do go to an Episcopal church and I do like formal church services and old-fashioned hymns so I guess that’s part of why I enjoyed watching, and I know that not everyone finds all those things as appealing as I do.  (By “I” I mean my secret alter-ego Grandma Liz, who also likes foot rubs and and riesling and going to bed at 9 p.m. and wearing scarves because she is “always cold”.)  But on the other hand– who doesn’t like old-fashioned hymns, when they’re sung by a boys’ choir?  I mean, is your heart made of stone?  I would listen to Milli Vanilli’s entire debut album on repeat if it was being sung by a British boys’ choir.  And who doesn’t love a cathedral!  Maybe not everyone took an entire class on Gothic Cathedrals like ole’ Grandma Liz way back when she was in college (by “college” I mean finishing school in Kentucky), but really now– IS your heart made of stone?  I defy any human to walk into Westminster Abbey and not be a least a little bit awestruck.  It’s against the laws of physics.  Obviously the height and the quietude and the soaring-ness of a cathedral doesn’t really come across on television, but there were full-grown trees decorating the aisle.  Full-grown trees!  Recall the last wedding in a church you attended.  Now imagine if the aisle of that church had been decorated with ten twenty-foot-tall maple trees.  You would be all like, I can’t fucking see anything.  In the immortal words of Randy Jackson: Cathedrals are huge, dog.

Plus!  The hats!  What is it about hats that make everything MORE FUN!  My aunt and uncle have a weird hat collection and whenever we take family pictures at their house, we all have to wear one.  I have shown friends some of these be-hatted group shots and the universal reaction is: I didn’t know you were raised by circus sideshow performers!  I think I’m going to wear hats to all the weddings I have to go to this summer.  This is fancy enough for black tie, right:

I realize I may be making some of you break out in hives with all this talk of hymns and church and hats and yes, it’s like a big tornado made of Jesus and estrogen in here.  I get it, I do.  There’s an enormous matrimonial military-industrial complex that absolutely gives me the heebie-jeebies.  For example, I’m all for kissing the bride and balcony pecks (especially when accompanied by WWII-era airplane flyovers) but you know what I can’t deal with?  Engagement pictures.  I just can’t.  Maybe Grandma Liz is simply more private that the average person, but that can’t be– I mean, I have a blog.  I love Facebook.  I’ve had sex in a public park.  Or maybe Grandma Liz is bitter and cynical and doesn’t believe that anyone could find someone who loves you so much that he is willing to endure taking posed make-out photos with you– and friend, I am so happy that you evidently have– but how can you get all in flagrante delicto with your PDA in front of a photographer’s Vaseline-fogged Nikkon and then send said shots on bordered cardstock to your second cousin Janeane in Indianapolis who, under normal circumstances, would politely and slightly nauseously turn away if you began nuzzling your lover’s neck in front of her?  I CAN FEEL THE CHUNKS RISING IN MY THROAT.

And if I have to wait on one more inane bachelorette party or bridal luncheon, I might just throw in the towel and go Chaz Bono.  If these are my fellow women, I don’t want to be a girl.  Feather boas?  Tiaras?  Giant blinking pins?  Beer koozies monogrammed with your new initials?  Oh yes!  I’d love to be reminded of your matrimonial happiness while I’m DRINKING BEER ALONE.  Beauty pageant sashes announcing the new missus?  Don’t pretend like this is your typical big night out with the girls and you have to get one last crazy weekend in before you settle down with the hubs.  Please bitch!  You know all you did before you got engaged was sit around in your sweatpants with your friends drinking Mich Ultra and white zin while watching Kate Hudson rom-coms and analyzing when and if and why or why not he was going to propose.

And all the pink penis stuff– straws, pens, noisemakers!  Penises are supposed to be pink, but not HOT pink!  I mean come on!  Have some respect for the male organ!  Can you imagine if men walked around their bachelor parties wearing pink vagina hats and eating steaks with pink vagina-shaped knives?  First of all, I’m not even sure how a pink vagina-shaped knife would work, and second of all, NO.  Men go to strip clubs and actually look at REAL VAGINAS.  Which I still think is gross, but at least it’s not FUCKING STUPID.  Why not go to a Chippendales and look at some real dick, instead of painting it hot pink and turning it into a straw and pretending you know what you’re doing with it.  (Full disclosure: I love drawing dicks.  The entire upholstered roof of the station wagon I drove in high school was covered in dicks drawn by my friends.  But they were not hot pink.  They were big, veiny, triumphant bastards.)

It makes me want to play a new game my best friend Laura invented called: What Would Kate Middleton Do?  Do you think Kate had a hen party and waddled around Picadilly Circus in a white bandage dress from Bebe going “Wooooooo! WOoOOooOOOO!” at every snaggle-toothed group of men that passed?  Kate Middleton probably did not draw dicks all over the roof of her car, either, and yet– I feel she would find my ’94 Volvo station wagon rather sporting.  Anyway, it’s a great life litmus test.  Are you lazing in bed trying to motivate yourself to get up and go to the gym?  Well: WWKMD?  Are you about to dump that pile of freshly laundered clothes on the armchair in your room without folding them; you’ll deal with them later.  But– WWKMD?  Is 2:30 a.m. and are you drunkenly holding your phone an inch from your face whilst furiously typing a text to that guy you swore you were like, totally done with?  Well, Audrina Partridge: WWKMD!  Kate Middleton definitely did not bag His Royal Smokeshow Prince William by acting out the lyrics to that Lady Antebellum song.

Although they did date for what, ten years?  There’s no way she didn’t send one drunk angry text in ten years.  Unless her heart is made of stone or something.

Of course, it’s mostly as a waitress that such wedding accoutrements get under my skin.  If any of my friends wanted me to suck down a pina colada with a pink dick straw, I’d be happy to do so.  Most of my friends don’t strike me as the pink dick straw type, though.  My dear friend Brette, for example.  Recently she announced that she wanted to be proposed to not with an engagement ring but “with a three-legged dog.” She thinks, she said, “that would show real commitment.”  Or my friend Katie, for example.  She once proclaimed that “a diamond solitaire and a proposal in a restaurant” are her, and I quote, “worst nightmare”.  Or my darling friend Caro, who is getting married in less than a month and who, over the phone the other night, begged to know, “Why can’t I just wear black?  I just want to wear a black dress.  Is that so wrong?”

Yes.  Yes, every girl in the world has some expectations, some fantasy (whether it be a three-legged dog or a black dress or Prince William himself), of how they are going to get engaged or be married.  You don’t watch Snow White over and over on VHS and know all the words to “My Prince Will Come” as a five-year-old for nothing.  The only thing I’ve ever really imagined about getting married is doing so in a very particular dress that I once saw in an old Life magazine.  I have a picture of it saved on my computer.  No, I will not share it with you because THEN YOU WILL STEAL IT FROM ME AND I WILL CUT YOU.  It has a hood!  A wedding dress that’s also a hoodie!  Perfection!

But, all that aside, who doesn’t love a wedding?  Even if you’re sitting there thinking you’re not really sure it’s gonna work out in the long run and maybe they might already be out of love and they were just too afraid or lazy to go through the pain and hassle of breaking up so they got married instead and Jesus, that’s a lot of flowers, why spend all that money on something that’s going to be dead in three days?  Why not just buy some Wal-Mart roses and then spend the difference on a little Mexican vacance for some of your more select guests, aka moi?– it’s still kind of lovely to see all your old friends, or watch a father waltz clumsily with his daughter, or get sweaty dancing in a nice dress to a rocking soul band, or look upon two people who you, ideally, love, and watch them hold hands and be able to admit to the world that they are in love with each other, for at least a time.

And hey– open bar!  If your heart’s still made of stone.

I’m Obsessed With You: A Series

In the spirit of my various Lenten resolutions, I have decided to embark a miniseries of blog posts on the things I love.  For the next few weeks everything will be coming up roses and diamonds and magical rainbows here on Turkey Curry Buffet.  I have even installed a new header in commemoration– because you know what they say!  A Lisa Frank binder is worth a thousand words.

Full disclosure: the last two nights at work I completely failed at not complaining.  I made fun of strangers, I muttered about a bad tips under my breath, I growled and cursed.  One of my co-workers asked another, “Anyone know why Liz is in an extra-bitchy mood today?”  Well, am I allowed to blame all this negativity on PMS?  Listen, I know that no one wants to hear about PMS on a blog that, were it to transmogrify into a human being, would probably drink Skinny Girl margaritas, order grilled chicken on her salad (dressing on the side, natch), and consume both while reading The Rules and hanging her purse off the side of the table on one of those little bedazzled purse hooks BUT GOOD LORD IS IT HARD TO BE GOOD AND KIND TO OTHERS ON A FEW CERTAIN DAYS EACH MONTH.  Like if this were the 1600s I would totally need an exorcism right now.

It also turns out that when I said to myself, Liz, what do you love?, the first ten things I thought of either 1) had to do with food or 2) had to do with pop culture.  Since I am not sure I am ready to share my true feelings for chain restaurants, or bacon, with the world, I am going to discuss some of my pop culture obsessions, even though I recognize this comes dangerously close to violating the No Celebrity Gossip Clause of the Lenten Treaty of 2011.  To that I say: whatevs!

So Laura and I were also recently discussing what genre of music we would choose to listen to for the rest of our lives, if we had to choose just one.  We both fairly immediately decided on pure unadulterated Top Forty pop music, but upon further consideration I realized that my true musical love– my in-the-car-alone, windows-down, hollering-at-the-top-of-my-lungs guilty pleasure– is….

Debut Singles of People Who Did Not Win American Idol.  They’re pretty much all up-tempo power ballads about longing for love.  They’re like the Shakespearean comedies of contemporary pop music.  I’m obsessed.  Let me give you some examples:

“Invisible” by Clay Aiken (I so love that this YouTube video has been uploaded by a user named “twighlightholic32494”), which is actually a fairly creepy stalker anthem– no Clay, you may not be a fly on my wall and “just watch me in my room” (yes, those are the actual lyrics).  This is so totally what Caliban would have sung to Miranda if The Tempest had been a musical… written by hack songwriters living in Glendale.  Which would be amazing.

-“Over It” by Katharine McPhee, which is one of those songs designed for the freshly rejected to belt out so that we can pretend we are gonna put on our stompin’ boots, key up your car, and put all your things in a box to the left.  I mean who needs him, right?  Right?  No, I’m not crying.  I’m just… allergic to your cat.  What?  Well, yeah, duh, I have a cat.  I’m not allergic to my own cat.  Just other cats.  It’s weird.  You wouldn’t get it.  What?  No, I’m not drinking gin.  It’s nine in the morning.  DON’T BE CRAZY.  HA HA.  YOU’RE CRAZY!  Basically it’s the musical opposite of Adele’s “Someone Like You” which I also love, love, love because she’s actually tackling the “crying so hard you’re snotting all over yourself and have no dignity left” category of heartbreak to music and, somehow, making it beautiful.  (Seriously, click on that link right now.  The live performance will give you chills.)

-“Whataya Want From Me” by Adam Lambert.  Admittedly I’m still not sure what this song is about.  In most of the verses Adam seems to be thanking his lover for being sweet and patient with his emotional neuroses, but then the chorus is, obviously, “Whaddya want from me?” which is something Al Bundy would say to Peg while sitting in his recliner with his hand in his waistband right before demanding another beer.  It’s kind of like the All’s Well That Ends Well of American Idol runner-up singles.  Also, I thought Adam Lambert wanted to be like Freddie Mercury?  Expecting someone to sound like Queen and then getting this super-slick pop-rock emotion-fluff instead reminds me of the time I was 14 and rented Clueless from Blockbuster with my best friend but when we got home we found Clerks instead inside the VHS case.  Which we then watched.  THAT was an education.

-And last but not least: “Crush” by David Archuleta, which is one of my all-time favorite pop songs.  This is deeply embarassing.  He’s basically the Latino Justin Beiber.  If this song came on my iPod at a party, I would dart across the room to skip it even if I were playing Seven Minutes In Heaven with Jason Segel (who, by the way, is making the new Muppet movie, which in turn makes him even more of a panty-dropper).  It’s kind of fun to reimagine the lyrics to this song as David’s ode to a phone sex operator with whom he has fallen deeply and irrevocably in love.  To wit: “I hung up the phone tonight/ Something happened for the first time/ Deep inside it was a rush/ What a rush”.  Listen, Holden Caulfield.  She doesn’t actually like you.  You’re paying her to like you.  But really I love this song because it so perfectly encapsulates that moment– those one or two slow, almost meditative minutes– when you realize, for the first time, that you like, or love, someone, the kind of moment that seems to happen all the time in Shakespeare and doesn’t really seem realistic– like really Claudio, you just instantly fell in love with Hero when she was crossing stage left, just by looking at her?  Yeah, sure, buddy– until it happens, in one way or another, to you.  You know, like the in the fountain scene in Clueless:

I’m majorly, totally, butt-crazy in love with Josh!

But you know what they say– if music be the food of love, play on.