Thursday, September 23, 2010

sorry i'm not sorry for barfing all over your sperrys

You may be familiar with Lisa Birnbach, because in the 80s she wrote a slightly mocking but mostly serious douche-guide called "The Original Preppy Handbook". It's kind of funny, but not enough to distract you from the stark realization that many, many people use it almost biblically.

Recently, Birnbach has put out a "sequel" to the Handbook called "True Prep", (add-in subtitle: "How to Dress like an Asshole in the 21st Century"). Why anyone cares to have TWO books about wearing polo shirts and having the preppiest breed of dog (yes, she covers that) I do not know, but they do.

The Washington Post published a piece in today's paper about Birnbach and her new book.

(Here's the link to the full article)

A few excerpts that left my mouth hanging open:

"Last week, Birnbach came to D.C. to talk up "True Prep," on which she collaborated with designer Chip Kidd. At Georgetown's pastel shrine Vineyard Vines, 250 groupies clad in country-club best -- plus Mack, a Jack Russell in a plaid collar -- lined up. They politely sipped spiked Arnold Palmers while waiting for an audience with her. Many college students carried tattered copies of the original "OPH," as they like to call it, snagged from their parents; virtually all were in proper regalia, from pink polo shirts to needlepoint belts with oars."

"Are you wearing socks?" Birnbach asked J.C. McDonough, 48, from Baltimore. "My people don't wear socks." McDonough hitched up his khakis to show bare ankles sticking out of his Alden loafers. "No ma'am," he said.

First of all, gross. Second of all, people lined up to meet this woman so they could prove their preppiness to her. What?! She has to be partially kidding about this entire thing, and I have a very strong feeling most of her followers are blissfully unaware there is any kind of jest in the Lacoste cult. You know, because country clubs are a really relevant issue in America during a crippling economic depression. Perfect timing for a book about how to properly act like a rich person!

As a third generation Washingtonian, this is my favorite, favorite quote from the article. Ooo! I just love it:
"Washington had a major role in the writing of "OPH." Birnbach snagged a summer internship here in 1977 and discovered that the prep-o-meter ran very high. "I found something here unlike anything I had seen anywhere else," Birnbach says. "Everyone had the attitude, 'I am on the make this summer, and if I don't wear my Wharton baseball cap and my Dartmouth running shorts when I go to the Social Safeway, I don't have a chance.' "
I'm sorry, what? Pretty sure I feel like I have a "chance" at the Social Safeway without wearing college sweats. Are they going to deny me groceries without proving my secondary education? When I'm trying to purchase hummus, wheat thins and 2-for-1 Progresso soup (I'M POOR.), I really don't care how obvious it is I went to college. In fact, I'd rather you not know, considering most of my friends and I are practically unemployed and/or not using our really preppy and expensive college degrees... and buying hobo food.

I think I'm going to keep wearing socks and avoid athlete's foot, even if it means I won't be joining the prep elite. But I have to keep in mind, when I question this lifestyle, the response given by the late Patrick Bateman: "Because I want to fit in."

1 comment:

johnverse said...

This comment is being posted so far after the publish date, that I'm fairly certain that no one will ever notice it. (Rhetorical pseudo-philosophical question: if a comment is posted on a blog and no one is around to see it, will it make a difference to anyone's life?)

But I digress ... I often wear shoes without socks--case in point, tonight.

Pro tip via U.S. Special Forces: avoid stanky leg by applying deodorant to your feet.

Also, if you're soaking up style tips from a preppy handbook with religious fervor, you ne--you know what, I think I'll just call it a night. Sweet dreams, Internet.