Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Don't Show-cha Your Chocha!

Once again it's time Don't Show-cha Your Chocha!, the recurring feature in which vigilant Daddy Likey readers submit examples of fashionistas who have taken the short hemlines trend a bit too far (in some cases up past their bellybuttons). Please click here if you want a more detailed explanation, but if you're ready for your daily dose of chocha, read on...

Sophie sent in these two ShopBop offenders under the email subject line, "Major Chocha," which totally made my day:

She says: This is a time when I really, really love the inventor of tights.

And: I feel dirty looking at this. I really do.

Here's one from Claudia:

This is from American Apparel, so it's understandable. But that really doesn't make it any more acceptable.

Swedish reader Anna passed along these pics, as well as the hilarious observation below:
Here's a pic of a Swedish fashion blogger that made me think of your blog and, I think, also reason for a new label: "don't show-cha, nor PLAY WITH, your chocha".

Check out this understandably depressed victim of rapidly rising hemlines:

Says Karina: The look on her face makes me laugh out loud! Poor girl.

Reader Jen actually sent this Urban Outfitters ad to me last winter and I just unearthed it from the vast pile of chocha in my inbox (I love that I write phrases like that!):

Says Jen: They're not even trying to pass these off as dresses and they still want people to wear them with nothing more than transluscent tights. The clenched-together legs, the dead look in the model's face... It's all there, and it's made all the more salient by the pants-wearing model's casual, sprawled-out pose and look of relief.

And again, from good ol' Urban Outfitters:

Says the lovely Gwen: This ad was on the sidebar of the most recent chocha post. Google Ads -- how do they know?!? Also, in Bolivia, where my husband is from, "chocar" is used for running into things or crashes (like a car accident) - which is perhaps precisely what these outfits are going to cause! [Editor's note: That is the best thing I have ever heard.]

And finally, what's that phrase about the chocha being the window to the soul?

Reader Josephine explains: This could not *not* be sent to you, it is a blatant disregard for what clothes are generally designed for: covering one's chocha. This one has a hole designed to see it! I guess the website name - "house of harlot" - should be a give away, but still! Such disrespect for general decency deserves to be scoffed at by the masses ;)

Amen to that.

Found a Don't Show-cha Your Chocha moment? Send it to me! daddylikeyblog@gmail.com

Monday, June 29, 2009

Monday Morning Martin

I normally don't like owls. They ask too many questions and steal all the good snacks. But this owl?

She's alright.


Judith Leiber Owl Crystal-Embellished Clutch, $4050 (total steal!), netaporter.com

p.s. New to Daddy Likey? Wondering why a raccoon is writing about sparkly accessories? Click here.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Dear Daddy Likey: What To Wear When It's Hot

I've received a number of emails in the past couple months from readers wanting some tips on how to dress in hot weather. It's slightly hard for me to relate right now, since Oregon has been having an almost eerily chilly summer, and I've mentioned before that my go-to hot weather outfit is a rumpled tanktop, jean shorts, and a lot of whining.

Even so, for you, dear readers, I'm happy to offer my top 3 tips for looking cool when it's hot (have you ever heard that clever little turn-of-phrase before? In every single fashion magazine's summer issue? Oh. Damn.).

Focus on the Fabric

Probably the easiest thing you can do to stay cool in your clothes is to choose pieces made of breathable, natural fabrics. I know this is much easier said than done (I usually buy things solely because they're pretty, only to get them home and realize they're a poly/steel wool blend), but it makes a world of difference. My friend Rachel has always been really good about choosing comfy, natural fabric clothes, and now she's a successful artist in the superhot city of LA. Coincidence? No way.

Think cotton tees and dresses, and breezy silky skirts:

The Fade Away Tee, Alternative Apparel, $30
(Gap also has a similar style in a bunch of colors for a bit less cheddah)

The Tess Dress, Modcloth, $30

Silk/cotton blend skirt, Forever 21, $17.80

Cut Off Your Pants

I'm so excited that cutoffs are so on trend right now, because if I was going to sing a personalized version of "These Are a Few of My Favorite Things," it would go like this:

Ice cream with sprinkles and Jet Li fight scenes
and constantly cutting up all of my jeans
into cute cutoffs with frayed hanging strings
These are a few of my favorite things!

Yes, cutoffs rank among kung fu movies and colorful frozen treats as my top life obsessions. When it gets warm I end up cutting every single one of my long pants into shorts, which is foolish, but I definitely recommend a less extreme approach to these DIY summer staples.

And please do Do It Yourself--designers are offering frayed cutoffs at all different price points right now, but it's so much better (and cheaper) to grab a pair of old pants or hit the denim racks at Goodwill and then cut them off yourself. This allows you to choose the most flattering length of short for you, from supershort to knee-length, and brag incessantly afterward that you made them.
Lately I've been stealing worn out jeans from my brother and rockin' the baggy man shorts look. It's really comfy and perfect for hot weather.

Simplify (a little)

As much as I love the warm weather look of shorts and a tanktop and a vest and 30 necklaces and a stack of bangles and a thick headband and some slouchy boots, by the time you've finished putting on all those accessories, you might as well have climbed into an oven. On really hot days, go for simple combinations like a jersey dress and braided belt, or a pretty, flowy top and some cutoffs, or a floral skirt and a plain tanktop. This girl's got the idea:

Look how excited she is! Woohoo!
Orlee Knit Dress, $34.50, Delias

And for some great hot weather makeup tips, check out this post from Apocalypstick Now.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Pinkie Mouse

Today I went in for a routine haircut and came out with pink streaks through my bangs. I've never dyed my hair before, but after seeing my stylist's cool magenta highlights, something possessed me to say, "Umm, can I have that too? Like, now?" Lucky for me, she had a spare 15 minutes and some extra color on hand.

I love how it turned out and can't believe I didn't do it sooner. I feel ready to conquer the world, or at the very least start a pop/punk band.

Note to my readers in the Portland area: I highly recommend Carrie Nicholas at Mascola's Salon. She's amazing and her cuts are less than 50 bucks.
Give her a call!

Monday, June 22, 2009

Awesome Affordable Etsy Find of the Week

Audrey Hepburn Earrings, $13.75

I'm not sure if hanging little portraits of one of the most beautiful women in history from your ears is sort of like standing next to your most gorgeous friend all day, but these earrings are so cute, I don't even care if they make me look homely by comparison.

(Check out the rest of the MaruMaru Etsy shop for supercute Marilyn Monroe necklaces and cameo rings!)

An Imagined Conversation Between Myself And This Shopbop Model

Me: Hey! How's it going?

Model: Good, good.

Me: So, quick question.

Model: Yeah?

Me: Say you're wearing that swimsuit--which looks fab, by the way--and you've gotta pee. What do you do? What do you do?

Model: Why did you just say that twice?


Model: And why are you calling me Jack?

Me: Oh, umm, I was kinda riffing on a Speed quote. You know how Dennis Hopper is always giving Keanu Reeves pop quizzes and saying, "What do you do? What do you do?"? Then Keanu tries to be clever and Dennis Hopper is like, "FOCUS, JACK."

Model: I'm really not following.

Me: Nevermind. Back to my point--how the hell do you get that swimsuit off when you have to pee? From what I can tell, it's got all the restroom inconvenience of a traditional one-piece, combined with about a hundred little string ties. That would probably take me an hour to get into and out of, and when it's wet? Fuggetaboutit!

Model: Well, I hadn't really thought about it, I guess. But it couldn't be that hard. Could it?

Me: It surely could! And then you add in those gladiator sandals? Mother of god! Between undoing your 50 shoe straps and wriggling out of your straight jacket swimsuit, this is a seriously stressful outfit.

Model: The shoes do have zippers, you know.

Me: Alright, that helps a little, but really only a little. I'm honestly worried about your bladder.

Model: I'm honestly worried that this is the second time this month that you've mentioned Dennis Hopper on your blog.

Me: Touché

Thursday, June 18, 2009

This 250 Square Foot Mini-Kaftan? I Made It Myself, Thank You.

I mentioned in the last installment of Blogback Mountain (see two posts down) that I've been taking sewing lessons with my great aunt. Our projects so far have included turning a pair of baggy old man pants into baggy old man shorts (a summer staple for me), embroidering a chili pepper decal from the 80s onto a dish rag from the 50s, and me getting her sewing machine thread so tangled that she said I was the worst student she'd ever had and told me to leave. We have fun.

So, about a month ago I came across a Moroccan kaftan at Goodwill. It was floor-length, and huge--approximately 500 square feet of fabric--but I absolutely loved the color and the embroidery around the neckline and sleeves, plus it was $5, so I decided to buy it and attempt, with the help of my moody yet talented teacher, to turn it into a summer dress.

A few torn hems, a broken sewing machine, and some possibly purposeful pin-pricks to my legs later, I had a new, 250 square foot summer dress:

I'm obviously not advanced enough to take it in or create darts, so we pretty much just hacked off a few feet of fabric, hemmed it, and added the white ribbon along the bottom.

Here I demonstrate how my new dress can make me look like a rhombus, which is kind of upsetting.

But on the bright side, it's comfy, breezy, and perfect for bike rides around town or to throw on over my swimsuit. Perhaps most importantly, whenever I wear it I get to brag that I made it myself, thank you, and that makes me the happiest rhombus in town.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Advanced Fashion Quiz

One of the items pictures below is a Jean-Michel Cazabat sandal, priced $545. The other is a stuffed rattlesnake.

Can you tell which is which?

p.s. Speaking of snakes, be sure to check out my '08 Father's Day Gift Guide! Just as irrelevant now as it was a year ago!

Monday, June 15, 2009

Blogback Mountain

My friend Catherine has been posting some phenomenal tribute posts to her dad on her fabulous foodie blog, Dear Dave Lieberman.

Academic Chic wins me over (yet again) for using the phrase, "Nerp doesn’t believe in gender-normative appearances." Amazing.

I just started taking sewing lessons with my Great Aunt, which usually devolve into me breaking her sewing machine and her calling me the worst student she's ever had, but someday, mark my words, I'm gonna make myself a fabulous jacket from a Built By Wendy pattern.

The prettiest lil' blog post in all the land!

Are you guys reading WendyB's new blog for designer Christian Francis Roth? You totally should, because it's awesome. Also, if you don't read it she might kick your ass.

"There are a few things in life I fundamentally believe in. One of those things is the fact that there is never an inappropriate time to bake a cake." And an epic rainbow cake, specifically!

Oh Rhiannon, you're so pretty and stylish and clever! Can we be BFF? Do I sound desperate? Damn.

A Cup of Jo covers The Uniform Project, one woman's quest to wear the same dress for a year, changing it up with different stylings and accessories. Sometimes I wear the same jeans for a week, but my motivation is usually laundry-related.

Jennine + We Love Colors = Mad Style

Who would play you in the movie of your life? A lot of readers have told me I sorta look like Billie Piper, but in New Orleans my brothers kept calling me Owen Wilson, so whatev.

And finally, fellow Word Freaks definitely need to check out the new(ish) blog Words Between the Spaces, which is written by my most favorite copy editor and includes lots of wordy and grammar-y goodies!

The Great Topsy Tail Debate of 2009

You guys remember the Topsy Tail, right?

This magnificent inside-out ponytail was THE hairstyle of the early 90's, and sweet mother of god, did I yearn for one. It is possible that I yearned for a Topsy Tail even more intensely than I yearned for AJ McLean of the Backstreet Boys, and I once wrote him a letter in which I described my fantasy of moving to a deserted island with him and happening upon a shipwrecked barge full of asiago bagels, so yeah, you do the math.

As this tragic story goes, though, I never got a Topsy Tail or AJ McLean. I missed out on my Backstreet Boy because I was an awkward 13-year-old and he was a rich pop star with meticulously groomed facial hair. And I missed out on my Topsy Tail because my mom sucked at doing hair and refused to buy me the damn Topsy Tail tool.

So you can imagine my delight when I was sitting by my friend Meg at her birthday party this weekend, and her friend Martha sidled up behind us and asked, out of nowhere, if we would like a Topsy Tail. Meg said, "Of course!" while I believe my answer was, "Ghheeeeeee!"

Martha is so immensely talented that she created these Topsy Tails without even using the official Topsy Tail tool.

This is Meg's perfect, luminous Topsy Tail:

And mine, which is a bit messier since my hair is shorter and I was so excited I couldn't sit still:

As I sat there dreamily feeling the texture of my new 'do, Meg began--for lack of a better phrase--talking shit about the Topsy Tail, saying it was itchy and unflattering and blah blah blah. I was appalled, but since it was her birthday I refrained from slapping her and instead challenged her to a civilized Topsy Tail debate, which unfolded as follows:

Point: Topsy Tails represent the height of creative hair fashions.

Counterpoint: That is the problem. Nobody wants the HEIGHT at the NAPE of their neck.

Point: I do!

Counterpoint: So does your great aunt.

Point: Topsy Tails will score you a hott man.

Counterpoint: George Washington had a Topsy Tail and all he got was the first Presidency.

Point: Topsy Tails are tres chic!

Counterpoint: Sarkozy's wife begs to differ.


Counterpoint: You don't even know politicians.

Point: A Topsy Tail will further your career, probably.

Counterpoint: There's a good chance that you will be mistaken for George Washington.

Point: This Topsy Tail is actually kind of itchy.

Counterpoint: My chest hurts.

Other partygoers' opinions were split, so we'd like to turn the debate judging over to Daddy Likey readers. Please take a second to vote, and may your tails always be topsied!

Which side of the inside-out ponytail are you on?
Point--Topsy Tails rule!
Counterpoint--Topsy Tails are itchy and ugly.
I've never cared about anything less.
pollcode.com free polls

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Awesome Affordable Etsy Find of the Week

Awww this sweet little print reminds me of my childhood! Just replace the pink teddy bear with our pet tarantula, Frank; the cute outfit with some neon leggings and a baggy t-shirt; the coy pose with a wind-up to throw rotten eggs at my brother; and the sun with a dark Oregon raincloud. OK, nevermind. We did have a clothesline though.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Martin does Haiku!

Hey Lovelies! My deepest apologies for my absence the past couple days. I took a trip up to Seattle and didn't have time to even look at my laptop. But to make it up to you, I asked regular contributor/raccoon Martin to write a haiku about this Wendy Brandes squirrel necklace:

Here's what he said:

I'd like it better
if it were a raccoon with
a ham sandwich. Hmph.


Squirrel necklace, $125, wendybrandes.com

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Five Men's Fashion First Impressions: Ripping Apart The Holy Shirt

Because apparently the theme this week is having the funny guys in my life do my blogging work for me, behold, a holy shirt:

Shirt, $39.99 (originally $60), Urban Outfitters

Thomas featured this on The Sunday Best a couple weeks ago, and after reading his kinda sorta open-minded post, I couldn't resist asking the Five Men* for their two cents (ten cents total?).

So yeah, here we go:

Father: Even thin people shouldn't wear horizontal stripes. Do more holes cost more?

Brother, age 19: After escaping Chateau d'if, Edmond Dantès abandoned his vendetta in order to sit at Starbucks in his skinny jeans explaining that he is a transgressional fiction novelist pursuing urban photography.

Brother, age 14: Looks like pre-made zombie invasion wear. Looks like a veteran of the war, the zombie war of course.

Boyfriend: I wish I would have known that I could sell an old shirt with holes in it for $60. I could have made $60.

Brother, age 22: The Russian kid from my third grade class who got sucked into a grain thresher wore this exact shirt. Its cool, he's alive.

*If this is your first experience with the Five Men's Fashion First Impressions feature, you may want to read the introduction here. And you could also read this post about my dad's dream Father's Day gifts if you want. You know, just to get a feel for the fam.

Monday, June 08, 2009

The Trouble With TOMS, Part II

A couple months ago, a rep from TOMS shoes contacted me and generously offered to send me a free pair. Now, as you know if you've been reading this blog since April 25th, 2008, my hippie boyfriend has been wanting a pair of TOMS since, well, sometime before April 25th, 2008, so I thought this was the perfect opportunity to be a loving, selfless girlfriend, and also bribe my boyfriend to write a review for my blog.

I lovingly and selflessly passed the free TOMS voucher to him, and he of course ordered a pair that screamed, "I live in a self-made mud hut at a community garden and spend my days teaching schoolchildren to play the bongos." Which is fine, I guess:

After wearing them around town for a few weeks, here's the review he submitted:

My first time wearing my TOMS I kind of felt like I was wearing a pair of Winona's J. Crew flats. They were nothing at all like what I was used to wearing. Namely, they were very flat. But soon, I started to enjoy wearing them. I hate putting on socks, and my TOMS relieved me of that burden. They're not supportive, but comfy, and I've grown to love the way they look. Plus, mine are vegan and when you buy a pair they give a pair to a kid in need, which is awesome.

But they do have negatives: My first complaint is that they are made in China. I know that very few shoes are made outside of China these days, but to me, TOMS should have tried harder. Secondly, there is no ventilation, so when it's hot out, your feet begin to sweat. This is normal. Perhaps what is not normal is the smell that results.

Recently in a class I was taking I felt the urge to take off my shoes, so I went for it, and at first I said to myself "this isn't so bad." Then all of a sudden the smell hit me like a dust storm. I quickly put my shoes back on in shame. I tried to add socks to my TOMS equation to remedy the situation, but they kind of stretched out the shoes and just looked weird. None of Winona's flats--which she wears without socks--smell this bad, so I've gotta blame it on TOM.

Here are my ratings:

Looks: 8
Comfort: 9
Support: 3
Smell: 1

Friday, June 05, 2009

Awesome Affordable Etsy Find of the Week

Eco-Friendly Doily Purse/Sunglasses Case, $11, here

I've discussed the disposers vs. investors sunglasses debate here before, but I think that even the most callous disposers could get into the idea of a cute, light little case to protect their Dollar Store eyewear. You could also use it to store gold coins, tampons, and pepper spray; or hide the maps to dry land from Dennis Hopper. You know, whatev.

Thursday, June 04, 2009

Don't Show-cha Your Chocha!

Yep, it's finally time for a long-promised installment of Don't Show-cha Your Chocha! If you're just joining us at Daddy Likey, check out the DSYC intro post for an explanation of the no-pants madness, and if you're an old pro or have superior powers of deduction, just read on...

Here we have an excellent example of two classic DSYC strategies:

Maya explains: Admittedly the wind machine doesn't help with the lack of inches on the hem, but at least in the picture on the left she isn't crossing her legs or bending forwards, she's just going for the 'I can show my chocha and own it' look. It's a bit like adult peekaboo.

Ol' standby American Apparel always brings the chocha:

Brande says: Ummm... did the stylist walk out on this girl? Because she is quite obviously missing pants. [Editor's Note--Is it just me who doesn't really want to know what is shown in that zoom-in box?]

Niamh found this near-chocha viewing on Facehunter:

Anyone who matches her blush to her haircolor is a total badass in my book. But yeah, even badasses should try not to show their asses.

A couple lovely readers sent in this runway chocha:

Says Lexi: I am not sure how this model is managing to look unconcerned and chic but somehow she is.. I wish I could look that cool when I was in danger of showing the world my cha cha!

Cal adds:
I think it might almost be too late to deliver the warning of "don't showcha your choocha" to this one. She is past the point of no return.

Peajai turned in Vivica A. Fox for public display of a hell of a lot of upper thigh:

Wow. I don't know what to say about this. Was she trying to be modest by wearing stockings, or was she just afraid the chocha may catch cold?

Next three examples plus commentary are from the fabulous Katie:

Now, I understand this is supposed to be a bathing suit coverup, but what exactly is it covering?

Thiiiiiiiiiiiiis close to a peep show!

Shirt? Check. Boots? Check. Pants? Oooops!

Reader Tibbar sent in this photo, which may soon become a classic:

The fact that she's literally holding her dress down by pressing firmly on her crotch? Priceless.

This one's also from Tibbar:

She says: Some clothes should not be sat down in. Yes, I would agree that this is purely a "standin' dress."

We'll finish up this post with a few more celebrity chocha sightings (well, not actual sightings, but near sightings--go read Perez Hilton if you want real sightings):

Reader Katy and her adorable sister sent me this photo with the subject line: "Britney does the cha-cha!"

Yep, that's about right.

Lee sent in a photo of Selma Blair on the set of her tv show:

I know she's supposed to be dressed extravagantly for her role, but it still seemed like something you'd find funny (since when did she go from serious actress to... this?). Not only is her chocha close to saying hola, but she's wearing that hideous top underneath the so-called "dress."

And finally, Gisele:

Says Breezy: Let me tell you, there is some major chocha lurking beneath those ill-positioned polaroids.

[Editor's note: I just named these picture files "Gisele chocha," "Britney chocha," and "Selma Blair chocha," which should lead a really great, wholesome group of google searchers to my blog. Can't wait!]

Got a chocha sighting? Send 'em in! daddylikeyblog@gmail.com

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Woodrow Gets Stapled

Today's post comes courtesy of our resident beaver/fashion blogger, Woodrow Wilson:

Hey everyone, Woodrow here.

So here's a tragic story for you: I started chewing on this extra delicious looking piece of wood, and instead of a gooey tootsie pop-style center, it was filled with SHARP PIECES OF METAL.

This "Urban Outfitters" is apparently a group of sadists.


Solid Wood Stapler, $28, here.

Monday, June 01, 2009

The Time My Brother Ate a Bird-Rabbit, and Other Vignettes from New Orleans

I finally managed to get a few thoughts and stories organized from my New Orleans trip, which is quite impressive considering I took so many anti-anxiety drugs on the bumpy plane ride home that I tried to start a clown college ("The best clown college in the US! On this plane!" was what it said on the note I apparently passed around the aircraft).

This post is made up of little anecdotes, some photos, and one long story at the end, so if that sounds boring, definitely come back asap for more regularly scheduled fashion blogging, but if you'd like to waste a little of your Monday workday, then you've come to the right place! And just so you're not confused right off the bat: This was a random 3-day trip to New Orleans with my two brothers, Tona and Devin. The mission was mostly to eat po' boys. Mission accomplished.

Day One: The Peep Show Po' Boy

Deliriously hungry after our day of traveling, we wandered around the French Quarter for a couple hours before stumbling into a random restaurant that had "PO BOYS!" written in the window. (Note: wandering into random restaurants while deliriously hungry will become a bad decision theme of this trip.) We took a seat in the empty dining area and didn't even look at the menu before instructing the waiter to bring us three po' boys--one with crawfish, one with shrimp, one with oysters--oh yes, this was the stuff that dreams are made of.

As we excitedly waited for our first taste of New Orleans to arrive, I noticed that Tona was looking sort of uncomfortable, but assumed it was the heat, fatigue and maybe a little culture shock. The food came and it was super good, but Tona was looking more and more upset as he ate. "Bad oysters?" I asked. "Well, yeah," he said, "they don't taste quite right. But also there are lesbians having sex over there." Devin and I craned our necks to check out Tona's view, and sure enough, his chair was directly facing a big screen across the street playing hardcore girl-on-girl porn. Welcome to New Orleans!

This is Tona giving a dramatic thumbs-down to something else, but we can pretend he was taking a stand against lesbian porn during dinner.

Day Two: Scenes from Anaconda

On our second day there we went to the Aquarium, which turned into mostly acting out scenes from the movie Anaconda in front of the anaconda tank.

Devin won the role of Jon Voight for his perfect take on the line, "It wraps its coils around you tighter than any lover."

Then Tona filmed Devin reciting his lines while a group of Russian tourists watched, deeply confused.

Here's me pointing at a white alligator saying, "That looks fake!" Directly afterward the alligator pointed at my hair and said, "That looks frizzy!"

The Gulf of Mexico exhibit was sponsored by the finest stewards of the environment.

Later that day we went to a coffeeshop and spent an hour organizing and photographing a banana funeral:

Here I was playing the very upset Mrs. Banana.

Then we were like, "Oh yeah, we're in New Orleans, we should do things other than sit in coffeeshops pretending to have funerals for a banana," so we went and ate more delicious food, including...

Po' boys without a side of porn:

Muffuletta by the Mississippi:

(Apparently with a side of porn)

And of course:

Plus coffeeshop breaks everyday, cuz we're from Oregon, duh:

Again with the bad hair.

And much, much more--so much amazing food!

Day Three: The Lost Zoo Trip

We rode the streetcar to the zoo and hid under a tree during a huge downpour, which was really fun, but the camera ran out of batteries so this day is stored solely in our memories. Also, I ordered a bourbon to try to be cool and the bartender felt so bad for me that he kept beckoning me back to the bar to add more coke and cherry flavor to help me choke it down. "Bourbon's not for everyone," he said, and I said, "Let me pretend it is, damnit!"

And Finally: The Restaurant

On our last night in New Orleans, we'd been wandering around for a couple hours trying to decide where to have dinner. Every restaurant so far had been eliminated for reasons ranging from too touristy to too expensive to being owned by Carlos Mencia, and our building hunger was making us even more choosy and indecisive. Rounding a corner we saw a sign for a fancy-looking restaurant with a French name, and pressed our sweaty, tired faces against the window. The place looked really elegant--candles, white tablecloths, high-end art--and completely empty.

"It looks expensive," Devin said, and he was right--the Cajun entrees were priced about $15 more than we were wanting to pay.

"It looks fancy," said Tona, frowning at our dirty cutoffs, t-shirts, and sneakers. "I don't think this is our kind of place."

My mind clouded by hypoglycemia, I put my hands on my hips and said, "Let's do it, guys! Our last meal here should be a really nice one, and in this economy, fancy restaurants don't care about what you wear!" I pushed open the door and my brothers followed me in.

Our entrance was met with dead silence, and then a clear "Harumph!" rang out from somewhere toward the back. I squinted to see a group of 5 or 6 nicely dressed servers standing in a circle at the bar. Each of them seemed to be striking an exaggerated pose to indicate their intense judgment and disapproval. The man on the right was literally looking down his nose at us. The guy next to him had crossed his arms and curled his lip. Another one put his hands on his hips and scowled. Another raised one eyebrow. One of them whispered something and they all laughed.

I gulped and said, "Table for three."

Now, before I go on I must tell you that in my family runs a strong streak of contrariness. It may have started with my grandfather, who became the first and only atheist in a long line of Mennonites, then passed along to my father, who once smashed his prized clay sculpture after an art teacher said that she liked it, and then to my three brothers and me. This, along with the fact that I do dumb things when I get hungry, can help explain why these asshole waiters sending us such strong signals to leave, leave, leave made me want to stay, stay, stay.

The group collectively rolled their eyes and then one of them gestured to a rosy pink booth in the center of the room. "Thank you," I said, and we walked over and sat down. One of the waiters, a portly fellow with an aristocratic nose perfectly angled for inflicting harsh judgment, came over and handed us menus. The group standing at the bar was still staring, pausing only to whisper and guffaw.

"Our special tonight is--"

"We'll start with the stuffed mushrooms, please," I said, having glanced at the menu for a millisecond and shut it. I ordered the first thing I saw, wanting to show him that we were classy and legit, even though Tona was wearing a high school wrestling team t-shirt he'd found at the Goodwill.

"Um, OK," our waiter stammered, "that order only comes with three very small mushrooms. Perhaps you'd like to add some oysters?"

"Nope," I said. "Just the three very small mushrooms."

He shook his head dramatically and walked back to join the judgers.

My brothers and I leaned into a huddle. "What the hell is these guys' problem?" whispered Devin.

"It's probably my shirt," said Tona.

"Why are they standing in a clique like bitchy pre-teens?" I asked.

We looked up, and the judgers were still sneering at us. It was a strange feeling to be alone in a restaurant with these newfound arch nemeses, staring them down and talking bad about them as they did the exact same thing to us.

"I have to go the bathroom," Tona said. "Where is it?"

"Shit," said Devin, "you're gonna have to walk right past them!"

Bravely Tona got up and strode past the clique. Their eyes followed him down the hallway like a school of snobby fish.

"I'm going next," Devin told me.

"You know what I'm doing?" I said, "I'm gonna sit right here and wash my hands with a Walgreens wipey--no shame!" I started digging in my purse for the individually wrapped hand wipes I'd bought earlier on Canal Street. In my haste to find them, I started piling old receipts and other purse debris on the pristine white table. Finally I located my handwipes, and as Tona returned and Devin left for the bathroom, I tore open the package and washed up.

The waiter came out of the kitchen after I had created a small landfill at my table setting. As a quick fix and minor act of vengeance, I picked up the silver candle centerpiece and crammed the garbage underneath.

He arrived at our table and handed out small appetizer plates. To make room for our puny order of mushrooms, he picked up the centerpiece, revealing my Walgreens wipey pile, and I began to laugh hysterically. Seriously, I couldn't stop giggling. The juxtaposition of my trash pile and the snobby waiter and the $20 order of 3 mushrooms and the general stress had driven me to madness. I gasped, "I got the giggles!" and the waiter walked away.

The mushrooms were delicious, and soon our poor waiter was back to take our orders. Tona and I chose some basic seafood dishes, while Devin proudly and inexplicably proclaimed, "I'll have the cajun rabbit!"

As Tona grilled Devin about his rabbit cravings, I blurted out to the waiter, "I wasn't laughing at you before. I was laughing at my wipey."

The statement made little sense, but it seemed to genuinely charm the man, and soon we were chit-chatting as if we were longtime friends. Then, of course, I ruined everything. The menu had mentioned the long family history of this place, so I asked him if he was part of the founding family.

"No, I'm not," he smiled.

"So you're pretty much a poser, then?"

Suddenly his eyes narrowed and turned cold and dark. He snorted two breaths out of his nose and then looked me square in the face. "I...am not...a poser," he hissed, turning swiftly back toward his posse.

I was stunned. Did poser have a different meaning in the South? Perhaps "Poser" was the name of the man who killed his father?

"Good job, Nona," said Devin, "Now they're gonna pee in my rabbit."

After an excruciating twenty minutes, the food came out. We ate mostly in silence, trying to down our shockingly expensive entrees as quickly as possible. Tona thought his was rotten. Mine was pretty good. I looked over at Devin a couple minutes into the meal, and his heaping pile of bunny was already half gone. "This is disgusting," he hissed as a slurped down Cajun rabbit cartilage, "but we've gotta get out of here."

I would guess the entire eating process took ten minutes, and that's including the time we spent debating the moral implications of eating a bird-rabbit hybrid after Devin swore he found a full wing in his food. He scraped his plate clean anyway.

We enthusiastically declined dessert, threw down a credit card to pay, and then literally ran from the restaurant. There was a cop standing across the street as we busted out the front door, and although I knew it probably didn't look good for a group of poorly dressed young people to be sprinting out of a fancy restaurant, I didn't care. We flew down the street like bird-rabbits. We never looked back.
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