Saturday, February 10, 2007

Grace 9 years ago

I was trying to think of something to write, but nothing was coming to me. So I was looking through old writings, and I found one from 1997, when I was living in Los Angeles. I had written it because someone was writing a book of excerpts from the lives of waiters and waitresses experiences and asked me to write something for her. Here goes:

Fuck. I have no fucking career. I have a degree and like so many others of my generation it’s most productive use so far is to keep my soda from staining the coffee table. Instead, I work in a bar. No ordinary bar, mind you. It happens to be one of those snappy L.A. bars. That you have to be on the list to get into. Then, if the snotty doorman (who can tell a Vercase scarf from a Melrose ripoff at 50 feet) deems you worthy to enter our establishment, you are then allowed to pay an astronomical sum for a cover charge, and then in order to actually purchase a cocktail you have to put a second mortgage on your home or at least give a c-list celebrity a hand job in the alley.

I don’t have a problem with that. Hell, if you can afford it, or stomach it, more power to you. I say, and like so many fellow mid western, slightly modest girls, I don’t even have a problem with the liposucked, breast augmented chicks who swarm these sort of bars in search of their Armani encased soulmate.

My problem is deeper and brings out an ugly, angry side of me that only the few nearest and dearest to my heart ever get to see. I call it the Gloria Gaynor syndrome. It makes me want to chew off my thumbs. I’m only a wee 24 years old, and am completely aware that I was just a baby when the song “I will survive” came out. Back when feminism was something real. Back when I will survive was meant and sung with spirit and independence and a true sense of freedom from men. We didn’t hate men, we could even love, respect and honor them. But we sure as hell didn’t have to have them. That’s my 24 year old take on it anyway.

Here we are in 1997 and as we all know everything from bell bottoms to brady bunch movies are back in style. That also means that in the course of an evening at my bar, I am forced to hear “I Will Survive” approximately 5,683 times. But instead of jauntily snapping my fingers to this empowering tune, I drop my tray of cosmopolitans, camparis and microbrews, let them crash to the ground and run for cover. I’m not crazy. I have to do this, because if I don’t I will be trampled and possibly killed by the mad dash of dumbass women euphorically racing to the dance floor.

Previously these women were the same tame bunch who snottily commented on our un chic wine selection, while protectively holding their boyfriends/husbands/sugar daddy’s hand. They sit in their thousand dollar outfits, in the VIP section tapping their perfectly manicured hands , and hoping the that the air conditioning units don’t ruin their $300 coifs, all the while watching like lionesses over their men for fear of them finding a younger, prettier, and more physically endowed model, because if that happens she’ll have to shop at Dress Barn and have her roots touched up at Supercuts. That is, until she finds a new man.

But then my nemesis, the DJ decides to go for my feminist jugular, and spins he Gloria. All hell breaks loose. Before the first 4 bars of this song are over the very same women who stared with daggers at the young chippy in the fetching tap pants and four inch platforms is now clutching her hand in sisterly bliss as they both sing along with Ms. Gaynor. The dance floor is riddled with more of the same exuberant feminist camaraderie. Women are even lip syncing the words to their men as they watch.

I cannot be sure, but my guess is that this song and many like it had a much stronger effect on men and their view of where they stood in our lives, back when it first came out. Back then, the men might have pondered “what ever can this mean? Will she still cook for me, and clean for me? If this empowerment thing continues, who will hand wash my speedo. Who will feel obligated to suck my dick NOW?”

Now in Beverly Hills, in 1997, the response is somewhat different. When “I will Survive” is spinning, the women dance their tai bo’d asses off, and the men congregate at the bar to enjoy that one last scotch on the rocks in relative bliss, and as they sip away I guarantee you that their modern inner monologue is quite different. As they stare at their girlfriend, or more often than not, someone else’s, they quietly pat themselves on the back for the fine set of breasts that was lovingly paid for with his Visa Corporate card, and contemplate how to make her most recent nose job a tax deduction.

As far as fear goes, it’s not even a second thought to these men. As the music ends, so does the sisterhood. The women leave the dance floor, and without a second thought to their new found girlfriends, they slink back to their man. After all, that’s where the Cristal is. And don’t they fucking know it.

1 comment:

allbilly said...

bravo...excellent...i really enjoyed it.