The Bridal Bizarre

31 01 2013

 

Leave it to a writer to create one the largest romantic scams of the 20th century. In 1947, a young copywriter employed by N.W. Ayer & Son—a prominent U.S. advertising agency—worked late into the night meticulously searching for just the right words to evoke romance, desire, and eternal love. This project, commissioned by one of the largest monopolies the world has ever known, continues to thrive yet struggles to shake the blood stains and controversial legitimacy in our post modern family society.

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I’m sitting in a room of women at my best friend’s bridal shower. Navy blue, white and gold decorate the tables, napkins, flower arrangements, candle holders, decorated cookies; suspend from the ceiling in delicate tissue paper balls. Everything is beautiful and I am jealous of my friend who is about to get married.

But instead of tears of happiness, I experience waves of depression as I learn—for the very first time—about the progression of bridal ceremonies that mean more to the average American woman, than any other single experience she will savor.

From outside the glass house of her engagement, I am holding stones feeling overwhelmed by so many contradictory feelings that I pretend to wonder if Mary of Burgundy, the first recorded female to ever receive an engagement ring, was surprised when the Archduke Maximilian asked for her hand—probably not. Centuries ago, marriage was a way to unite kingdoms, gain property or sustain noble bloodlines. It was all business—romantic love and bachelorette parties had no place in the process. Today, we are no longer  in the business of uniting kingdoms so much as we are watching them rip a part. My kingdom, for example, was split into two nations when I was fourteen.

I listen to three generations of women talk about boyfriends, husbands, sex and children and I’m looking for a reason to get up and clean something. Now I’m jealous and about to be sick.

The grass looks much greener from where my best friend is standing. It makes me happy to see her so happy, but as I search for the same kind of fulfillment I am increasingly more depressed by the realization that Walt Disney fucking lied to me as a girl. In colonial America, women wore thimbles as a symbol of betrothal. I find this almost as amusing as watching one blindfolded grandmother hold a broom between her legs while another granny directs her to insert it into a cardboard toilet tube held by her crotch.

Maybe I wouldn’t feel so perplexed by these wedding traditions if I myself were in love—whatever the hell that means—or maybe if I felt like there was any credibility left to the ceremony itself. But instead I’m totally hallowed, searching for something meaningfully romantic to fill myself up with. I look to books, great movies, art and music to ease my confusion—but even these can’t be trusted.

In the 1930’s diamond sales were down. In the original 1949 Broadway production of “Gentleman Prefer Blonds,” Tony award-winning, Carol Channing, introduced women to the idea that “diamonds are a girl’s best friend.” A few years later, the quintessential blond of the 1950’s—Marilyn Monroe—took the song and its proverbial meaning to the masses.

The night before my friend’s bridal shower, I attended a wedding—it was a very bridal weekend. I listened closely to the couple’s vows from inside the museum where they stood under a flowered arc. I really wanted to believe. I wanted to know that what the bride and groom were saying meant something real, and I wanted to believe that love is as easy as The Little Mermaid, Sleeping Beauty and Snow White. Maybe I had just missed the words that were supposed to mean forever? So, I listened closer. I tried to be optimistic, but that became more difficult a long time ago: when I leaned that Santa Clause, the Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy and Full House were all just make-believe.

And than I thought about that damn writer, a young girl named Frances Gerety, who wrote the words that would have an impact on women of future generations the world over. Circa 2000, Advertising Age magazine named De Beers’ “A Diamond is Forever” the best advertising slogan of the 20th century. There is something to be said about the relationship art and reality play in our perception of love. Art has done a great job of providing the example but the reality is less romantic than Shakespeare. But even art can surprise us by being particularly poignant. Read “The Death of a Salesman” if you don’t believe me. Nothing says true love and the American Dream like hallucinations, adultery and suicide. Or listen to “The Civil Wars”, beautifully depressing love song, Poison and Wine.  Don’t worry about my dark-humoured soul burning in hell, that’s make-believe too.

I can overlook uninspired drunken speeches, bad wedding food, and to an extent, uncomfortable heels that match my dress. But I draw the line at love. Because every time I hear about someone getting married, it ignites my confusion and begs every man and woman of my generation to defend their choice and prove me wrong, that all of this bizarre bridal behavior isn’t all just a bunch of bullshit. In my opinion love and marriage are mutually exclusive. And don’t think I didn’t try to persuade myself otherwise, I read “Twilight” okay!

How can I pretend that any of this makes sense knowing that some girl with a pen arbitrarily changed the world of romance with carbon? I don’t think anyone who get’s married today really thinks their diamond will really last forever, so much as they need it to last long enough for people to think they’re happy. In my—not so humble—opinion, happiness is seriously overrated. Forever is an impossible standard to assume; especially from within this room of divorced women, widowed wives, married women and one cynical bitch wearing black. It’s almost as if we love to hate being married, because loving it might lead to bitter disappointment. And when love is lost, what else is there besides frozen wedding cake smashed in the back of the freezer saved for a forgotten anniversary?

I know, I know, I sound like a bitter old maid, but I’m actually the maid of honor.

 

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Women’s Work

9 01 2013

We grew up

with paper cups,

promises leaking out the sides from too much sun.

Then mom cried

when we got the carpet wet

becuase a woman’s work is never done.

Daughters cry back,

said we were sorry

as daddies scoop us up,

kiss our soft forehead and say:

It’s okay little girl.

I love you.

You’re perfect.

A girls’ peace of mind leaves the day her fist learns to fit down her throat

to purge away the parts that make her a woman.

It becomes a woman’s work

to find her reflection in broken mirror depictions of what a woman should be,

what they see

while we,

struggle.

It’s women’s work

to defend our choices turned black and blue,

saving our lives at the price of a person

by choice.

It’s work!

Pretending everything’s okay when he asks

because it’s uncomfortable to cry in the arms

of a man that is not

a father.

Our grown bodies

tied to a tide of frustration

that waves red twelve times in a year that we count in seconds,

waiting for the moment that someone might not be afraid of this cycle…

might think…

it’s beautiful.

Might not think it’s strange that a woman can bleed for five days and live to become

a mother.

No longer a slave

to her ambition

because a mother’s work is never done,

and a woman’s just a girl

that believed she had the power to make a choice.

She

will be praised for her sacrifices and shunned for her success until she is broken.

She

will destroy her self-esteem and pick it up with strong arms that project from his body.

She

will replace the woman with more girls inside her belly.

That’s a woman’s work:

To deny the struggle of sisters and daughters, mothers and women.

To chain the choice and be anything other than

woman.

To teach young girls to believe in their dreams

then clip those white wings with sharp scissors.

She

is now part of this world.

So we pray

and we pray

that she

will some day

be better

than women’s work.





Smells Like Teen Spirit

4 01 2013

 

My New Year’s Eve celebration was a metaphor in a long flash of intoxicated vignettes all laid out in a neat line. Inside the belly of an old bar I waited for something to happen.

“It smells like a strip club in here,” said Raymond, enthusiastically. And because I’ve never had the pleasure of watching naked girls dance, I believed him.

There wasn’t enough room to entertain myself on the dance floor, so I played a game with my glass, emptying its contents as quickly as I could swallow. And when boredom became overwhelmed by brute intoxication, I went about introducing myself to strangers while wearing a glowing New Year’s crown. In this crowd of sweaty people no one thought my behavior odd.

On the way home and from inside the car, my sober company could hear the sounds of my game splashing onto road pavement. You know something needs to change when you find clarity in vomit. I had indulged — taken too much of too much, and now my salutation to 2013 was covered in vodka.

Yes. I’m sure this all reads like the first 15 minutes of every Intervention episode ever recorded, but sadly no, I am not an alcoholic. Please pardon the dark satire, but you must understand that sometimes I think addiction would be much easier to deal with. At least with addiction you can look at the problem square in the face and tell it to fuck off. You can hug a 12-step program and find meaning in worship, and when you finally figure out your life, you’re a better person. I know lots of happy people like this.

I have no problem passing on a beer, missing out on casual drinks with friends or taking time off from whatever scene I happen to be associated with. I drift. I’m so comfortable being alone that from time to time I force myself to be social. Shit. Maybe I am an alcoholic, and this is all just a dream within a dream. At any moment Leonardo Dicaprio will burst onto the scene and tell me I have to save the world. To which I will stoically reply, fuck yes.

I’m not going to list off a bunch of ridiculous resolutions here. No doubt the blog-o-sphere is full of that bullshit and I don’t care to waste your time. Besides, your problems and goals are probably wildly different from mine. You probably need to work on sobriety and I encourage you to do this. I do too, I guess. But more importantly I need to work on listening to my instincts. I knew I would get out of control at that party, because I knew they would let too many people into the building, thus crushing the dance floor. And when I can’t dance at a party, I get bored. And when I’m bored I come up with solutions, all of which are illegal, none of which are a good ideas.

I remember kissing a man with a beard and long hair at midnight. It could have been a girl with a beard I guess, but like I said, the night was more a metaphor than a real experience. Like this anonymous person I will never see again, I don’t really know or understand what my problem is, so I can’t very well stare it in the face. Are you a boy? Or, are you a girl, strange addiction? I don’t know, but you tasted like alcohol.

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Happy New Year 🙂

 

 





Under Covers

24 12 2012

What holiday inspired blog post would be complete without a dash of ironic melodrama? Not this one! That’s for sure.

I was sick this week. Well, not really. I said that I was sick so that I didn’t have to go to work. But as seven rolled into noon, from the comfort of warm bed covers, I thought, maybe I am sick.

I wasn’t contagious, but my silent revolt from work and worry alarmed me. What am I doing?

Struggling to manage several writing projects, holiday events and fussy clients, I was so buried in frustration and Scrooge-like feelings toward the season, that I was now hiding from my cell phone yelling annoying melodies at me from under the pillow. The anonymous phone numbers flashing across the screen felt like strangers attacking and I was paranoid. They’re all trying to get me! So, I slept.

I slept for two days, and on the third day I forced myself up, tried to caffeinate my mood and headed back to work with apprehension, uncertainty and guilt that I had lied. I still don’t know precisely what caused my personal incarceration.  I even began to think I really was getting sick, but like my paranoia, it was all just a dream.

Some people struggle to deconstruct their stress. Mental breakdowns are socially uncomfortable and marginalized by people who appear to have their shit together. The truth is, we’re all stressed out to various degrees of insanity and paralysis. I take everything too personally, I take myself way too seriously, and my work is often the only thing that matters — causing a kind of blindness that hurts those closest to me. And when something doesn’t work out, if my efforts to provide perfection are capsized in the storm, I feel like my entire world is collapsing. My body shuts down, I can’t think clearly and all I want to do is isolate myself from people. It’s a very real and very tangible reaction to stress.

Luckily I have moments of unbelievable clarity. I feel blessed to have gained introspection that allows me to see the world in dimensions, casted by shadows and light through a symbiotic relationship that forever keeps the world turning round and round and round. It reminds me of that kid from American Beauty, watching that dumb plastic bag dance in circles on the wind.

Ricky – “It’s like God is looking right at you, just for a second. And if you’re careful, you can look back.”

I’ve seen incredible beauty in this world, more regularly than I can ever remember standing in the dark. When the shadows take over, I hide in my bed until I can’t bare it any longer; I step out into the sun, just hoping that I don’t get burned, and sometimes I do.

Sometimes I’m on fire, everything is going my way, my head begins to swell with pride and personal satisfaction, and I get totally burned. I fall down, I hide and I cry. And just when everything seems lost, I’m cooled by the shade. I find clarity in the brilliance of night skies, standing next to the ocean, guidance from those who share this struggle.

I live with an anxious drumbeat that pounds out a cadence pushing me faster and harder, and it never stops. And in the wake of this intense rhythm, I fall apart, stay alone in bed for days, hide and rise to thank the universe for affording me the kind of human circumstance that allows me to do this with absolutely no consequence.

I am thankful for those shadows that keep me strange and attract dark thoughts on the brightest days. They are the reason I find love and beauty in a world that at times pushes me to maddening bouts of hysteria. It makes me sad to think that my experiences happens to other people. What’s worse, that those people would rather ignore the internal fire than find refuge in the truth. Were it not for the polarizing effect of this discomfort I would inevitably miss those subtle nuances in life that evoke the best of me, the parts that make me want to connect with others these shared experiences that all too often are left untouched and unloved. I enjoy the broken, the sick, the strange and the struggle, and I will continue to keep my eyes open for plastic bags catching the wind as I prepare myself to get swept up by the season and the coming new year.

I know my character can be challenging for those who seek comfort in normalcy, but my intentions are good and I promise to always do my best. To my friends and family who love me unconditionally from under the bed covers, thank you for letting me be who I am without apology. Often the uncomfort I feel is merely a reflection of the amazing things happening around me: the love and compassion of my closest friends, being acknowledged for a job well done, the sun setting just behind the cliffs as purple and pink flash into twilight — I’m just struggling to take it all in.

whitney butlers blog

Ricky – “It’s like God is looking right at you, just for a second. And if you’re careful, you can look back.”

Jane – “And what do you see?”

Ricky – “Beauty.”





Dear Gabby: A Letter to Myself

6 12 2012

Dear Gabby,

I’ve recently been hired as an editorial assistant and graphic designer. I love to write and I really want to generate more opportunities to grow within the company so I can one day have a column like yours!  Do you have any advice for an aspiring media professional?

 -Eager 2 Please

Dear Too Eager,

First things must always come first:

Media is inherently about making shit not stink. Whether we’re talking public relations, broadcasting, print advertising, marketing, media is about delivering a message through a medium and crafting the public perception of an idea, product or service. Effective media makes people agree to like it, want to have it, buy it, and tell a friend about it. For young media professionals, all these same rules apply to career advancement.

For those seeking employment in media, I would recommend that you stop now and do something entirely different. Media is by far one of the most competitive, ridiculous to points of maddening hysteria professional spheres on planet earth.  Everything appears to glitter like gold from the ubiquitous bandwidth mass media so effortlessly controls.

As I writer myself, I know all too well the strain afflicted by this intensely creative space. Media personalities are astringent and unforgiving.  Sometimes I wish I could cry myself to sleep were it not for all of it being too ridiculous to cry over. So, if you’re like me, incapable of tears, then you’ll likely need some guidance through these trenches. It’s a difficult industry to navigate alone as academics have yet to quantify or articulate the kinds of bullshit that make-up the professions of mass media. Students of this discipline are in my humble opinion: SOL. Most won’t ever make it to the proverbial promised land of fame, wealth or influence media entices; but if your passion to succeed overrides your fear of failure, than I welcome you to the struggle.

First, you must believe with every fiber of your being that your message, creative vision, words, art, music, design -whatever it is that you love to do- you must whole-heartedly believe that you’ve got the right stuff and that the rest of the word needs your creative vision to survive the rapture. Egoism and media go hand-in-hand. If you want to make it, you have to believe your production is worth the attention of an audience. In few words, believe in yourself. Even if you’re new to the space, maintaining a silent but steady confidence in the work you produce is critical. If you don’t love what you do, aren’t obsessed with producing it because it’s your God-forsaken gift to share it with the world, than you need to reassess your priorities. Media is no place to ride the fence on creative vision. This is a place for people who have egos healthier than a five-year-old child. If you don’t think your work is awesome, nobody else will either. If you don’t love your shit, trust me, everyone will think it stinks.

The next important rule: Always volunteer. When your boss starts loading a bunch of shit onto your plate, never ever under any circumstances say no to an opportunity to do more shit. You will learn faster, you will save money because you won’t have a social life and you will learn that your threshold for pain is much higher than you first realized.

Media spans such a large spectrum that most people who first decide to give it a go likely don’t know where their strengths are until they get their hands in it. By making yourself available for several different jobs you’re also setting yourself up to discover your niche. Being a generalist in media is great for some people, but those roles are few and far-between. Being a specialist and being great at it means better-paid positions and lucrative referrals.

The other advantage to volunteering and being the go-to person for extra work is trust and reliability. In media, everyone is full of shit. They say they are going to do something and they don’t do it. Setting yourself a part as someone who get’s shit done and does it well, is a huge advantage in an industry full of shit. If you can build a reputation as someone who can be trusted to get the job done, you’re one step ahead of all the assholes who have only fulfilled the easy step: being a conceded asshole. You’ve got to have the shit to back-up the shit. So deliver, over-deliver, every time, no exception. And that might mean staying late, working on the weekends and not getting paid. It doesn’t matter. Whatever it takes. Just get it done.

Another very important rule: be good to everyone you meet. Your shit doesn’t stink. Remember? But never let that get in the way of being a good person and treating everyone you meet with respect and kindness.

For one huge reason, networking. If you arrive on set at a photo shoot or PR event covered in shit, everyone will remember you as someone they don’t want to be around. However, if you walk into team projects, events and the like with a positive attitude and warm personality, people will remember you for all the right reasons and not because you reek of bodily excretion.

In media, it’s all about who you know. You will likely get your dream job through a referral, someone who knows you well enough to know that they like you and that you work in media. You might not even be as well qualified as someone they interview for the same job, but knowing someone and being able to put a name to a friendly face is a huge advantage. So, always, always be on the lookout for opportunities to be nice to new people, make yourself seen at a party, for the right reasons, and try to make a positive, lasting impression on people. It will serve you well in the future.

Another important reason to be kind: immunity from shit talkers. Nothing is more fun than talking shit about the person who sucks at their job. Everyone does it. But rising above this and taking the high road will save you tons of bullshit later on. Being a bitch and imagining that it will somehow protect you from seemingly lesser co-workers, a rude boss or the competition, is stupid. The only people who like bitches are men that have weird abandonment issues. Being a good person and staying out of all the drama will stop haters from trash-talking you when you’re not around. Niceness is totally underrated. Television shows glorify powerful men and woman as hard-to-work-with-bitches, this destructive illusion then brings doe-eyed little boys and girls to the gold media doors with a big sack of assumptive shit that really does stink. Always be good to people, because you never know who will, or wont, Photoshop your zits away when you appear in the social scene pages of a magazine.

Last but not least, always do the best you can. Mediocrity is horrible regardless of the industry. However, while mediocre hamburgers are just a bad meal, mediocrity in media is unforgivable. Because the landscape of media is constantly changing, it’s important to understand that professional work can appear sloppy by simply being average. Average is and will never be good enough in media. If you want to make it big in media, as a writer, photographer, web designer, editor, news anchor, whatever: mediocrity will get you a one-way ticket to nowhere.

Like media, a professional in the industry must constantly grow, learn, change and evolve to effectively compete on the cusp of what’s happening right now. Media professionals live in the present tense of verbs, the suggestive motion of good photography, breaking news, and every social media channel available to man. It’s your job to be ahead of the competition at whatever the cost. And that’s really what it’s all about: competition.

You will make it in media so long as you ascribe to this final bit of advice: Never give up. You will fail inevitably, make crappy mistakes and talk shit about the guy in the office no one likes; and you will forget the deadline and make spelling mistakes on a million-dollar ad campaign. Shit happens. The only difference between you and the person who does all of that same shit is that you won’t ever give up. You will keep trying until you get where you want to go and your shit does in-fact, not stink.

I’m sorry to sound so bleak, Eager 2 Please, but the reality is that you’re likely full of shit too. So, do yourself a huge favor and prove me wrong.

-Gabby





Birthday Fantasy

31 10 2012

whitney-butler-funny-blogI can’t believe this.

I’m in a public gym on a Stairmaster having an erotic fantasy.  What is going on with me? It’s a few days before my birthday, I’m about to turn 26 and I’m projecting a steamy shower scene from an endless staircase.

Perfect.

Am I the only 25-year-old kind-of freaking out about being 26?

Trust me, this isn’t melancholy over passing the proverbial threshold of the early 20’s. It’s not about how making out with a stranger in-da’-club no longer satisfies my abnormally chauvinistic sexual prowess. Nor is this about the youthful excuses that are slowly becoming socially non-applicable:

“Yeah… sorry about the house. I was really drunk. Tell you’re parents I said my-bad.”

“Sorry Jason, I’ve just never done this before. I don’t think I’m ready.”

Nope, that’s certainly not going to work anymore.

This isn’t even about the fact that shopping at Forever 21 now makes me feel more self-aware of my eminent super-morbid obesity.

Actually, I have no idea what this is about, because right now, I’m having an erotic fantasy at the gym about someone a barely know. What was I talking about?

At 26, I guess I was expecting more. I was expecting to be further along and not having to shovel dirt into an empty hole of promise made to an entire generation of 20-somethings, all trying to figure it out during some particularly serious national bullshit.

It’s a big scary world out there people and I don’t mean to sound dark, but the bottom line is this: being 26… kind-of sucks, and not because of the aforementioned inequalities between myself and those still on the underbelly of adulthood, clinging to their aspirations like baby monkeys.

Twenty-six sucks because those aspirations are entirely possible and I’m the only thing standing in the way of realizing them. But resources have become increasingly more limited across every plane of personal growth and prosperity this beautiful country has to offer.

“But Whitney, you’ve got your whole life ahead of you.”

Shut-up Grandma!

When you were 26 you had a husband, kids, a house and social security. Your man enjoyed real wage increases and the Federal Reserve wasn’t ruining everyone’s life savings. I work 60-hours a week on a 10-99 contract for God’s sake. Where’s my benefit? Oh that’s right, I can have an abortion.

So excuse me for my lack of celebration. I’m too busy being an emotionally introspective writer-type who occasionally has amazing fantasies at the gym.

However, I promised myself to be progressive about this birthday; to stand bold and take command these feelings that may just be disillusioned anxieties creeping up my backside like icky black spiders. The spiders are just hyperbole, but the feelings are real – however disenchanted they may be.

But instead of letting those feelings thwart my birthday promise, I’ll be busy looking at the bright side of gaining invaluable life experience, priceless seconds of unadulterated joy and the company of people I am truly honored to share this journey with. I’m very excited about getting older. I’m not too impressed with 26, but equally as excited about 30, as I appear to be in this fantasy. So I’ll just shut-up and keep climbing.

Find out what I was doing last year when I turned 25!

An angry love letter! 

Why is this dog so racist? 





Six Absolutely Essential Rules To Follow When Buying a Car – based solely on my experience.

21 09 2012

When I saw the final contract spread out across the accountant’s desk, I felt my heart rate increase, my skin get hot and my bladder fill. Anxiety was coursing through my fingers as I initialed on several lines down the form to a final space for my signature, relinquishing the title of the vehicle to myself along with 5 digits that are now a debt to my name for the next several years. I felt like I was getting married, standing in court with a person I barely know and planning the future of our children. Except instead of baby names I was contemplating the aluminum wheels and performance exhaust I would someday purchase.

Here are Six Absolutely Essential Rules To Follow When Buying a Car – based solely on my experience.

 1. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. If you’re one of those assholes that has anything close to something termed ‘collection’ to describe the automobiles in your garage, then you’ve likely broken the first rule. Nobody should buy a car unless they need to. I don’t know if you’ve seen the prices on these things, but they’re freakin’ expensive! There’s no reason to spend thousands of dollars on something that isn’t replacing something else. By all means, if you have that kind of cash to burn go ahead and waste your money on all the insurance and registration fees. Having a weekend car isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but if you have a perfectly good piece of machinery to drive to work in, save yourself the trouble and don’t buy a car until you break what you’ve got. I broke my car a few weeks ago when the rear shock absorber on the driver’s side punched up through the frame of the car and made a sound so loud I thought I was going to die.

 2. Use caution in small dealerships. Nothing is scarier and yet somehow more appealing than finding a super-awesome deal at a small private dealership; especially a dealership that spells their company name with a Z instead of an S. These private outfits are professional alchemists. The car’s all smell like Armorall and the salesman smell like Dolce & Gabbana. They wave horrible Carfax reports in your face and dare you to challenge what’s directly in front of you, which usually looks tricked-out, shiny and fast. It’s a totally reality fuck because you test-drive the car, live to walk inside the guy’s office, and then he tells you he’ll lower the already low price if you pay cash. Everything on the surface seems amazing and safe. I was so close to being sold on one of these mirages that I even took the car and had it serviced at a third-party dealership to have a thorough inspection done. The car came back clean, but my gut was telling me that it was too good to be true, and I backed out at the last-minute. Listen to your gut.

3. Never go alone. I can’t stress this enough. Weather it’s a big time dealership or a small shop called Auto Proz, if you’re a woman bring a man, if you’re a man, bring a lady. The way car salesmen talk to women is ridiculous. They assume you don’t know anything; and when you do, they challenge you on everything, looking for a flaw in your knowledge to exploit while they provide all the answers you didn’t ask for; giving you a false sense of safety. Likewise, if you’re a man shopping for a car they will challenge you with upgrades and special features that appeal to your ego but not your wallet. Bringing your gender counterpart will balance the salesman’s attempts to capitalize on either set of characteristics, forcing them to pay respect to both which will generally lead to better and more thoughtful questions and answers from both parties. I brought my dad. We played a more advanced game of good-cop, bad-cop; or, hard-ass father figure and doe-eyed clueless daughter, rather. While I was busy drooling over new paint jobs and flashy rims, he was reading over every word in the warranty manual and demanding we get a discount for buying the car after 5:00pm on a Sunday. Bring a buddy, and don’t get jerked around. Or, in my case, just bring anyone who knows what the hell is going on.

 4. Don’t listen to what anyone fucking says. I can’t tell you how many people acknowledged something I had already decided, or how often they told me something totally contradictory. Bottom line: if you want something, whether it’s a particular car, price, color, make, model, millage… whatever, don’t listen to anyone who offers you advice, council, confidence, support, warning or any other similar vocalization. Everyone is entitled to an opinion but for whatever reason, when family and friends discover you’re in the market for a new automobile they suddenly feel compelled to tell you every detail of every bad experience they ever had when purchasing a car. I’m not saying flip them the bird; listen to what they say with grace and nod occasionally, but don’t take anything they say to heart. Not even the good stuff when they express excitement for you. The second my new ride breaks down, I’m going to think of every person that supported my choice to open up this line of credit and cry out their names in vain. Well, not really, but you get what I’m saying. This is a big decision and it doesn’t need to be clouded up with other people’s considerations that won’t matter when you can’t make the payments or when you break down on the highway. Do your research, come to your own conclusions and stick to your gut. I think a lot of people thought it was audacious of me to get a sports car. They reminded me that up-keep is more expensive, that it doesn’t have cargo space; that my insurance will go up, blah, blah, blah!

5.  Get a vehicle that fits your future. If you are buying a relativity new car, then you’re probably planning on having this car around for a while. Payment plans can be an upwards of 7 years! So when you are deciding on a car, think long and hard about where you will or won’t be in the future. Consider your career path, your potentially growing family or how many bodies you need to comfortably fit in the truck. Don’t be so impulsive that you miss the target altogether and end up with debt attached to something that won’t work for you in the long run. You will save money if you plan ahead. For myself, there were several considerations I made when selecting my car. I wanted to make sure that it was a coupe, preferably with no back seat so that people don’t ever assume I am driving the group anywhere. There’s no place for a car seat – guess I’m not having any babies anytime soon! I also wanted something that looks and feels like a space ship so that when I listen to progressive trance music I feel like Jean-Luc cruising into the Next Generation. This is what’s important to me right now and this is what will be important in my future. I don’t give a bleeding rainforest about my emissions or the price of premium gas – I recycle! But you might care and these are things to consider. However, if you’re paying attention, please see rule number 4 and disregard this advice altogether.

6. Freak the fuck out. If you don’t have an irregular heart palpitation, seizure, anxiety attach, stroke, mild chafing of the upper lip, cold sore break-out, acne explosion, or some other bodily excretion when you sign on that insanely long doted line, you had better check your pulse and make sure you are not dead, or personally wealthy. I hope you discover the later and are lucky enough to NOT be included in Mitt Romney’s 47 percent. But if you’re like me, avoiding Federal Income Tax, you will likely experience a mild shock induced coma. I’m now watching every penny and looking for ways to cut financial corners. I may take up sewing so that I can darn my clothes as I wear them into loose fibers. Or maybe I’ll learn to extract all of my nutrients from the sun through photosynthesis. Needless to say, I am very excited to have a new car, but I am looking around for the first time ever with debt attached to my name and I feel very uncomfortable. I have no idea how so many people do this and on so many different financial levels. If this is how crazy I feel after buying a car, I can’t even begin to imagine what buying a house must feel like. I’ll likely write another set of rules when I do that and call it something like:

                           Six Ways to Give Yourself Cardio-Pulmonary Resuscitation.








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