Friday, September 29, 2006

The Rise and Fall of Abercrombie & Fitch

Do you remember what old-school Abercrombie & Fitch circa 1995 was like? I certainly do. While I was sporting t-shirts featuring dancing hot dogs, kittens and cheez doodles with matching spandex in every color of the rainbow, my sister Em (with the fashion sense of say... an accountant mixed with a chess player) used to love the Fitch. She basked in the array of oversized striped sweaters in colors ranging from olive to brown. The store was a combo of 'preppy' and 'dumpy', all rolled into one. It reeked of smarty-pants East Coast College kids who actually went to class, nerding it up on the Quad after their 8:30am Biophysics class.

In approximately 2000, A&F went mainstream and began to sell cute graphic tees and comfy sweatpants. They made preppy a little more trendy, not to mention it was WAY fuckin' cooler than Aeropostale.... I still cringe when I walk past one of those. While I was an avid Abercrombie shopper from about 7th grade up until Freshman year of college, I've kind of avoided the whole scene ever since. Mostly because logo shirts make me wanna vom all over the place. Don't even get me started on FCUK or Armani Exchange!

Yesterday I decided to take a stroll along Fifth Ave during my lunch break. I had no particular destination in mind, but for some reason being broke(see "Why I can't move to NYC" for details) makes me feel like being near some intense commerce. I guess it's kind of like watching the Food Network when you're on a diet! Yeah, i'm sure that watching Paula Deen shove 8 sticks of butter into her famous southern pecan pie MIGHT magically satisfy you're cravings. Uhhhhh??

I did a quick in-and-out of Banana and Express and that's when I saw it... a massive Abercrombie & Fitch... with 2 half-naked models standing in the entrance. I was definitely intrigued, and decided to see what kind of merchandise they've been selling these days. Guess what? Logo shirts! Logo hoodies! Logo PANTS! $59.95 hooded sweatshirts behind glass cases!!! Are they serious? I actually need to ask that anorexic 16 year old in the ass-length jean skirt if I can touch that crappy piece of cotton made by a toddler in Taiwan? And holy shit, have you been inside one of these places lately?? It felt like I showed up at a party that I DEFINITELY was not invited to! And what's with the nauseating techno music? I mean, I thought I looked great until I stepped into that store. As the half naked meet-and-greeters silently critiqued my hair, body and fashion sense, I felt like I stuck out like say...SHAMOO at a 'Little People' Convention. Plus, I can't believe they even have that job. I'm guessing A&F is NOT an Equal Opportunity Employer, if ya know what I mean! I imagine their interview process works just like this:
1. Count to 10.
2. Recite the Alphabet.
3. Prove that you're white.
and then they whip out the body fat calibrator... pinch more than an inch and you're outta here!!

never again...

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Commuting for Cocktails

In college I learned that the first thing an entrepreneur needs to look for is an opportunity. However, in the land of public transportation, all of the entrepreneurs are passed the fuck out on their commute... except me! The NJ transit, my fave and yours, gets me from Old Bridge, NJ to Midtown Manhattan in about one hour... NEVER less and usually more. Any hint of inclement weather, perhaps some wind ::GASP:: or a slight drizzle and i'm impatiently sitting in the Lincoln Tunnel for an extra 20 minutes. It's mind boggling, really... and this is why i'm thinking it would be a good idea to move out pre-January. I'm sure those snow storms are a real gem for the bridge & tunnel crowd... gross!
Anyway, commuting basically takes a big, fat 2-3 hour chunk out of my day and forces me to nap, read or listen to some tunes while I try to remain unconscious for as long as possible. Cell phone usage is shunned--believe me, i've been SHHHHHHHH'd at more times then i'd like to admit! Awww... i'm sorry, Did I interrupt your 5:45PM nap? Oh, my bad! What are you, a 5 year old? My bus manners have greatly improved since, but once in a while I still get that urge to be 'really loud obnoxious cell phone girl'!
You know what? The commute really blows. I'm sick of smelly, snoring old men falling on top of me as the driver takes the sharp curve to exit the Turnpike ramp. Also, I can't stand to see people doing work on their laptops on the way home. Dude, didn't you JUST leave work? I don't know about you, but when I leave work at 5pm, my brain rejects any thought of it again until 9am the next day. Hmmm... make that 10am. I need an extra hour for granola bars, coffee and zoning out.
I propose a change! I want to revolutionize the raunchy ass commute and turn it into something to look forward to every day... So here goes!

1. Happy Hour/Meet & Greet:
I see the same faces every single day and I've MAYBE spoken to 2 people. One being this ridiculously gropey/annoying guy I knew from High School who proceeded to ask me for my number (hope he likes Dominos...) The other was a super friendly Indian man who wanted to play 20 questions...which was fine. But, let me ask you this. At what point is it acceptable to stop talking to this stranger and resume reading/napping/zoning? Do i need to ask his name? What is stranger-meeting etiquette if i'm not interested in banging him?? It's always a predicament!
Anyway, I think each bus should be fully equipped with a Stewardess... JUST KIDDING, i mean a bus attendant! With a cute little rolling booze-cart. I would love to sip on a Gin and Tonic first thing after work without having to stay late in the city! NJ transit presents... HAPPY HOUR! A buzzed commute is a happy commute, don't you agree? Fellow commuters can network, make new friends and even some potential hook-ups! Well, I might not want to partake in the hooking up considering the median male age on my bus seems to fall between 42 and 50... hmmm, although maybe I can meet a sugar daddy! Then i won't have to commute at all! "Dinner will be ready at 6:45, honey! I know how you work up a big apetite while you get wasted at Bus Happy Hour!" :)

2. Entertainment:
I'm sick and tired of seeing commuters watching movies on their portable DVD players (jealous!!) or on their tiny fucking iPod screen. (Still jealous!) I propose we get a couple of sweet ass flat screens- one for the front of the bus and one for the middle. Let's bond and watch a movie together! Just think... it'd be cute. We can all gasp simultaneously the moment Keanu and Sandra realize that they just can't slow down the bus!! And we can all giggle when Harold & Kumar can't find the White Castle... maybe we could even pass around a few blunts for that one? Okay... i may be pushing it, but you catch my drift!

3. My last idea is quite possibly the best, although it involves complete renovations and some pretty unappealing spandex-clad bodies. mmmm, love handles. FITNESS CLASS! C'mon... I mean after I get home from work and eat dinner, it's already 7:30 or 8 o' clock. My motivation dwindles and I just wanna get in my jammy jams and watch Wife Swap, Project Runway or whatever other hideous reality show is on! (By the way, did you hear The Bachelor is making a comeback??? so pumped!) SO, if i got to burn some cals on my ride home, I could spend the rest of my evening without feeling like a lazy lard-ass who is only capable of sitting at desks and on buses. Just gotta wipe out all the seats and replace 'em with mats, get a few free weights and hire a yoga instructor! Piece o' cake! Dangerous? Perhaps, but so is being fat and sedentary... so I figure what the hell...Let's give it a try!

Friday, September 22, 2006

Why I'm not ready to move to NYC... $11 salads

When I first accepted my job last month, I immediately started my hunt for an affordable (or at least somewhat affordable) apartment in the NYC area. I imagined myself jogging through Central Park, meeting friends out for sushi on the Upper East Side and of course, getting wasted in the Village without worrying when the last bus leaves from Port Authority... or at least having to find a cute, single guy to let me share his bed for a few hours! I call this the 'Jewish American Dream', because it's all fucking impossible...if you make 28 grand a year and DAD-AY (daddy, for all you non-jews) isn't about to shell out $1,000+ bucks per month.
I scanned Craig's List apartment listings like it was my job...well, actually, I was doing this WHILE i was supposed to be doing my actual job. Oh, c'mon... you do it too! I mean, yeah... I do my work, but if i'm gonna stare at a computer for 7 hours a day you can bet your ass i'm gonna spend some sweet ol' quality time with my Internet Explorer. Besides, celeb gossip is always a hot lunch topic & i've got to be prepared. "Damnnn, did you see Lindsay Lohan's vag?? fuckin raunch, dude"
My only complaint is that I can't sign into MySpace, Facebook or Instant Messenger. When I open up my Gmail at work to find I have new MySpace messages, it drives me absolutely nuts! I want to check it so bad... but impossible!! I sunk to a new low last week when I received a message from a guy I had hooked up with the previous weekend. I swear... not being able to check that message was mental torture. It was just sitting there...waiting to be read. It was only 10am and since I don't get home until 6:30, I was desperate. Thank god for friends with unlimited internet access ...specifically friends that understand the need to Internet-stalk!! Within minutes, Krystal e-mailed me my message... and as unthrilling as the content of it was... i felt like a bad ass. i beat the system!!... OH, and i'm pathetic :)
Back to my apartment search. I knew I didn't want to spend more than $800/month on rent. OH BOY! Guess where I can live?! Let's see... there's Harlem, specifically of the Spanish variety. I can also live in various parts of Brooklyn, i.e. with the H&H in Williamsburg (not the bagels, i'm talkin' bout Haseids & Hipsters). Oh, and don't forget about good ol' NEW JERSEY! Which honestly, i wouldn't mind at all if that included Hoboken. However, I was laughed at by several brokers upon telling them my budget... so there goes that one. I actually saw a beautiful apartment in Union City, NJ. Ever been to Union City??? No? Please don't start now!! The area is abot 90% Hispanic and somewhat frightening for a young, white girl from the 'burbs. The only advantages I saw included cheap spanish food and the chance of shocking my parents with my very first inter-racial relationship!! Hmmm... I bet that would freak them into paying my rent in Manhattan... i'm gonna remember this one!
So, I decided to call it quits after seeing one too many dissapointing apartments... crusty-ass, old, dishwasherless living quarters with one bathroom for four people! I mean, if i'm gonna spend half of my salary to move out, it AIN'T gonn be to one of those dumps.
I've come up with a new plan! I'm gonna suck it up and live home for a while. It's what everyone has been telling me to do, but i've had serious blinders on. What's not to love about Old Bridge, anyway? We've got every fast food joint imaginable, not to mention like 6 nudie bars! Helppppppp....!
Anyway, i'm gonna save money, right?? That's what I thought. When my first paycheck arrived, I was thrilled! Sugar plum fairies holding up large dollar signs danced in my head. With no rent, utilities or grocery expenses...damn, i'm gonna be well dressed!! For the next week, Craig's List was replaced by Anthropologie, Urban Outfitters and Bloomies. I shopped during my lunch break--not to mention Pumpkin Spice Lattes galore and those fabulous little chopped salads that have like an 80% markup. The other day I spent $11... on a salad. Fuckin' whores... But, who cares?! I'm a baller now... All of a sudden I LOVE living home! Pass the potatoes mommy, it's gonna be a long ride!! Oh, you like my cardigan?? Thanks... it was only $120! Let's go out for spicy tuna rolls... my treat!! This manic behavior went on for approximately 2 weeks... until last night.
I have a sad, sad confession to make. Last night was the first time I've ever seen my credit card statement. It's true... I think I had a Visa before I even had my period. Pardon my gross visual! My jaw dropped as I logged into my account... i've already spent $1,000!?? But! But! I only bought a few measly sweaters and some food! I haven't even started on pants or jewelry yet!! Not to mention a new winter coat... UH-OH...
I suddenly felt deflated. Deflated and poor. I've already started to spend my next paycheck... ouch! I stared blankly at my and trying to figure out when it all went wrong. When did i become such a big fucking jap?

So now I have to live home AND budget my money? I miss my care-free college days.... Grad school, anyone?!