How to Maintain Your Holier-Than-Thou New Yorker Mentality When in a Foreign City

Oh, hey there, New Yorker. Do you know where you live? The greatest city in the world. This is not a lie; it is a fact. How do we know? Well, the tiniest mayor in the history of the world, Bloomberg, reminds us of this every time he takes to NY1 with an announcement about this or that—you know, right before he says the same thing in his horrifically bad Spanish.

It’s hard being a New Yorker. We’re so fancy, sophisticated, well-dressed and overall far superior to everyone else in the world. Don’t disagree with me; we all know that’s our repeated mantra in the mirror every morning: We. Are. The. Best.

So, when it comes to traveling to a foreign land, it’s extremely pertinent that everyone around you know that you’re a New Yorker. To quote Carrie Bradshaw when she was in Paris and asked if she was an American: “New Yorker.” Hell, yeah. You’re hardly an American; you’re a fucking New Yorker, so act like it.

In acting like it, it means always making sure everyone within a 5-mile radius knows you’re a New Yorker and not some hillbilly from Tennessee. Respect a New Yorker, because we’re the fucking shit. Here’s how to make sure you’re not mistaken for being for some plebe from—gasp!—another part of the United States. Gross.

You’re a fucking New Yorker. Like Carrie, always respond with “I’m a New Yorker.” Even if you’re fluent in the language being spoken, you still have an American, er, New York accent that, to the untrained ear, may be mistaken for, god forbid, the middle of the country. Stop anyone in their tracks and put them in their place: You’re a fucking New Yorker.

You’re a fucking New Yorker. So, you’re at lunch, you’re solo and you’re waiting for your meal. What do you do to kill time besides tweeting and Facebook bragging as to where you are? Pull out your New York Magazine. It’s not like people in other countries read it, but everyone recognizes the words “New York.” Everyone: the waiter, the busboy, fellow patrons—everyone. Flip through it casually, laughing loudly from time to time. You know, because New Yorkers are funnier than the rest of the world, and obviously, we laugh better, too.

You’re a fucking New Yorker. Sometimes you’ll find yourself amongst the common people of other countries in, say, Spain. It is your duty as a New Yorker to school that group of tourists from Australia about how New Yorkers refer to things. For example, we call the subway, the “train,” we refer to our BFF Diet Coke as “DC,” and we snub Staten Island because it really shouldn’t be part of the five burroughs. Yo, Australian tourists, don’t ever go to Staten Island. As a New Yorker you need to trust me. New Yorkers know everything.

You’re a fucking New Yorker. Did you know there’s a food truck near the Eiffel Tower? Hahaha! No, Seriously: Hahaha! You know what they call this shit? “Très Brooklyn.” So how does a New Yorker alert those around them that food trucks are no big deal? Example: “Have you guys had the tacos from the truck in the back of Union Pool? They’re the shit! This taco truck is far from ‘très Brooklyn.’ I’m not an asshole! I’m a New Yorker!” No one can argue you on either account.

You’re a fucking New Yorker. You’re lost, and you can thank Google maps for steering you in the completely wrong direction. What do you do? Yell; that’s what a New Yorker would do. We’d yell, kick something, then call someone back home in the States – a friend, a co-worker, your mom, your absent-minded assistant – and yell like there’s no tomorrow. While mid-yelling you fall into a deep and downward spiral of neurosis: Is everyone out to get me? Does my breath smell? Are these not tight enough? And just as you’re saying these things out loud, you’ll probably get a discerning look from a local… to which you respond: “I’m a fucking New Yorker, OK? I haven’t seen my analyst in TWO WEEKS.” Truth.

You’re a fucking New Yorker. You’re out for dinner in Italy and are about to order, but you have a question: “Is this pasta full of carbs and gluten? Because I’m allergic.” The response: “Huh?” You: “I’ll just have some lettuce with pasta sauce on it… I’m a New Yorker. Graz—you know, whatever.”

You’re a fucking New Yorker. At some point you have to head home to your beloved New York City, how do you handle the coach situation at the airport? “What do you mean I can’t be upgraded? I’m a fucking New Yorker!” End result: first class, warm nuts, champagne and blankets that have actually been washed.

Takeaway? No matter where you are, you’re a fucking New Yorker. You’re better than everyone. People should be dropping to their knees to kiss your calloused feet. You win. You always win no matter where you are. Why? One more time for the cheap seats in the back: You’re a fucking New Yorker.

Follow Amanda Chatel on Twitter.

Why It’s Time for a New Breed of ‘Club Kids’

I was in high school when my father showed me a Boston Globe article about the Club Kids in NYC. Michael Alig and the rest of his beautiful outcasts were the central focus–this was a couple years before Alig ended up in jail for murdering Angel Melendez.

Since I was about 15 at the time, I soaked in the article like a sponge that needed validation for my own freak-dom. They were colorful, and they didn’t play by anyone else’s rules. They were, in my mind, spectacular. I ripped out the article and placed it on my wall: this was the world I wanted to know; this was the world in which I wanted to live.

I moved to New York City in 2004, eight years after Melendez’s murder. Michael Alig was in jail and I had seen Party Monster more times than I was willing to admit, despite the fact that Macaulay Culkin was horrible in the role of Alig.

When I moved to New York City, it was no longer the city that embraced the “freaks” that I had loved from afar based on the Boston Globe article I read so many years before. Granted, New York will never be short on freaks, but the Club Kids, the group of individuals whom I learned to love through articles and then documentaries after the murder, the people with whom I thought I could be best friends were long gone. Their time in the sun had fizzled, Peter Gatien’s Limelight was no longer, and although it was turned into the club Avalon for a short time, it is now a fucking market place. If Alig and Gatien were dead, they’d be rolling over in their graves.

Some of the best parts about New York is that it’s forever changing. A restaurant you love is something else a month later, the bookstore you adored eventually becomes a boutique, and Starbucks are subtly putting proper cafes out of business one by one. It’s either gorgeous, or a heartbreaking sort of affairs—depending on what side of change you reside.

But if change is part of NYC, if evolving, embracing the new is how we roll, then isn’t it time for a new breed of Club Kids? Someone has to step up and take their place, and fill the void they left behind. Why? Because being a freak should never go out of style.

Michael Alig, realizing he was an outcast in his Indiana hometown, moved to New York City to find a place in which he could fit in and feel at home. James St. James had a similar story in that he, too, left Michigan behind to pursue a life far more extraordinary than the one he knew. Together they indulged in a life of excess, and were the leaders of a pack of misfits who had come to New York City for the same reason they had: to find others like them. They may not have been a voice of a generation, and no one would probably ever consider them perfect role models, but what they did do, what they did that was more important and for which that era will always be remembered, was that they made freaks the world over feel less alone.

Kids, like me, read about them, watched them on talk shows, and although some would argue that they dressed and acted that way purely for attention, who the fuck cares? They were living the life they wanted; the life they chose.

In a world where mediocrity is practically championed, and the conventional expectations of working nine-to-five, living in a house in the suburbs, and having three kids with names that will be out of style by next year, the Club Kids stood for something else. They stood—and still do, although they’ve all grown up and moved on from that part of their life—for a polar opposite of the mainstream. They were distinct on all levels, and their uniqueness, I imagine (although I was too young to have known it intimately), was contagious.

I’m not sure who we can delegate to start a new wave of Club Kids, but it has to happen. There’s too much emphasis put on people like Kim Kardashian and other two-bit, semi-celebrities who have nothing but the mundane to offer, and a mundane that the masses eat up. The masses are boring and lack originality. Club Kids, on the other hand, are colorfully exempt from such a drab adjective. And if one kid from somewhere in middle Ohio can look at a Club Kid and realize that’s the person they are, too, then it will be worth it.

So do we have any volunteers for someone to take Michael Alig’s spot sans the murder part? It’s not as though he’s getting out of jail anytime soon, and we really need to start working on this revolution now. 

Follow Amanda Chatel on Twitter.

How To Figure Out If You’re Dating the Kid of a Celebrity

Right before Christmas I met a boy in a bar. He was tall, adorable, and we immediately started chatting about music. Before the night came to an end, we exchanged information and he took my phone to add me as a friend on Facebook. When I noticed his last name, one that isn’t very common, I laughed and jokingly asked if he was the son of the celebrity with the same last name. His response was abrupt and strange: “No. I fucking hate that guy.” Um, OK.

The celebrity in question would not evoke such a response from anyone. Unless, of course, they knew him intimately and, for a fact, that he’s absolute shit. His on-air persona, although sometimes aloof and douchy, does not make one hate him. It just doesn’t. It was when I asked him what his dad did a couple weeks later that I was able to know for sure. Even then he didn’t say who his dad was; it was just obvious at that point. Maybe he doesn’t know that his father is pretty much a legend in our generation, or maybe he just doesn’t give a fuck.

I let it go. I don’t care who is father is; it has zero effect on how I feel about him. But some people do care about this shit. True star-fuckers, if they can’t score the celebrity, will take the offspring if they can.

As someone who has more than a few friends who have found themselves dating the kids or step-kids of celebrities, unless the kid is a show-off asshole, it’s virtually impossible to know exactly from where the person came. The only time the truth comes out is when you show up for a family dinner and find yourself across from say, Michael Douglas, and you’re forced to play it cool. Michael Douglas was in Romancing the Stone! You can’t be cool around that!

So, how do you know? Whether it’s for family dinner preparation or because you’re a greedy, gold-digging fame whore, there are five easy ways to figure it all out. Because sometimes Google can fail you in these circumstances, especially when you’re dealing with a family that does everything within their power to keep their lives private. (Oh, the famous and their I’m-so-special ways!)

“I fucking hate that guy.” The last name is a dead giveaway, especially if it’s not common. And if you do what I did and jokingly ask if there’s any relation, not thinking for one second there actually is, and the response is something aggressive out of left field, then, well, you’ve got yourself a celebrity’s kid.

Mannerism dissection. A lot of suspicion can be put to bed if you pay attention to mannerisms. Let’s say you’re dating Jack Nicholson’s kid. Now we all know Jack is known for his eyebrows and that Joker-like, crazy grin (even sans Batman make-up), so a lot of questions can be answered if you focus on these details. You’re not staring; you’re appreciating the similarities.

Mild detective skills. If you don’t know what the hell people are talking about when they mention Benson and Stabler, then you need to watch some episodes of Law & Order to truly grasp this maneuver. Where does this person live that you’re dating? Do they just happen to go on a family vacation the same time [celebrity name] was spotted by the paparazzi at the same place? Is their dad “working” at some concert the exact dates that such-and such-band is playing Coachella?

Is their life one of privilege? In NYC, the privileged are a pretty frequent lot. But there’s also a big difference between the privileged and the very privileged. Does this person in question have things in their apartment that others would kill for—like random photos of his mom at Studio 54 with Halston? Did Nirvana play his twelfth birthday? Can he get you into Per Se tonight at 8 PM no problem?

Straight up insult the celebrity in question. Even if the kid is on the outs with their celebrity parents, they won’t put up with someone else talking shit about their mom or dad. Case in point, as proven by a friend of mine: “I was going on and on about how much of a fucking asshole [celebrity name] is. I was criticizing his movies, his style and even his hair, finally D—snapped and exclaimed, ‘that’s my fucking dad! So keep your opinions to yourself.’ I knew it was just a matter of time before he’d have to give up the goods. And his dad does have bad hair.”

Follow Amanda Chatel on Twitter.

Personal Faves: Fuck You, Lena Dunham!

Instead of ending the year with a slew of Best Of lists, BlackBook asked our contributors to share the most important moments in art, music, film, television, and fashion that took place in 2012. Here, Amanda Chatel discusses what’s behind her complicated love-hate relationship for Lena Dunham and Girls.

I was a sophomore in college when I stood outside my dorm fighting with my boyfriend at the time. It can’t remember the details exactly, but it was something about the two of us trying to maintain our long distance relationship—one that was less than an hour by car. I was infuriated by the oronic analogies and literary references he was making. They were nonsensical, and I half wondered if he had spent the last weekend reading the dictionary for words, but skipping their actual definitions. It was only after someone called campus security, fearing an actual physical altercation, that I walked into the building, locked the door behind me, and ran up to my room. I was done, or so I told myself.

As I listened to him yelling my name from the lower quad at the University of New Hampshire, I threw open the window and screamed out: “I’m gonna write about you! I’m gonna write about all this and I’m not going to change your name! I want everyone to know how awful you are!”

I was a second year English major who, at the time, was quite certain I’d be published by the time I was 25 years old at the very latest. (I’m a little behind on schedule.) And I did write about him. I wrote about him for a long time. In poetry classes, in creative writing classes, in any forum that allowed me to write about my life, I wrote about him. I was writing him out of my bones, I was chastising him in front of strangers; I was doing exactly what I told him I would do: I wasn’t changing his name. His name was Chris.

When I fell in love for the first time with Timothy, I stuck to my initial threat to Chris that night. But by then, it was no longer poorly written, hate poetry about a 19-year-old broken heart, but poorly written, love poetry about a 21-year-old heart that was blooming for the first time. I was finally understanding whatever the fuck Jane Austen had been yammering about in all my Brit Lit classes.

I was going to immortalize Timothy. I was going to write him into every manuscript I ever composed and people, hundreds of years from then, were going to study my work in comparison to my relationship with him! It was going to be gorgeous! It was also the same semester I was studying Shakespeare and decided the greatest gift of all was to immortalize someone. I had also seen Shakespeare in Love too many times that year.

Timothy and I broke up several months later, and I no longer care for Shakespeare.

But I had started a precedent; I had decided I couldn’t write fiction. I couldn’t even come up with a proper name for anyone about whom I wrote, because their real life names fit them so perfectly. It was not my job to alter them; it was my job to tell the story that may have starred them, but since I was there, too, it was my story to tell. If it meant long drawn out lawsuits with people who wronged me and whom I wrote about in great detail, then so be it. I wasn’t even going to change the words that poured from their lips—especially the ones that had hurt me so bad.

Then Lena Dunham, or rather Hannah Horvath, stole my line.

The line that I had uttered just weeks before to Christoffer in the spring of 2012 after he had broken my heart for the hundredth time in the last four years; the line that I had used as both a threat and compliment had been stolen from me. In that instant, I was horrified. I had always convinced myself I was original, but Lena Dunham changed that. I was, well, an imposter.

The actual moment when this happened is still crystal clear. I had been in Paris when the first few episodes of Girls aired—an escape for which I can thank the heartbreaking, devious and conniving Christoffer—and upon my return to the city I knew that I had to get caught up on the series. Everyone was watching it, either loving or hating it, comparing their current lives to it, or being grateful that their life had evolved past that point.

By the time I was about to reach the fifth episode, “Hard Being Easy,” I was in New Hampshire visiting my family. My sister was in town from Colorado and I forced her to watch it with me. It was, after all, something to which I could relate. I had been (and still am) a struggling writer in New York City in my mid-20s. I had begged my parents to supplement my income with the promise that “I’ll pay you back after I get my book deal,” and “if you don’t help me, I’ll become a prostitute,” and all the other bullshit lines I thought appropriate to throw their way.

So, there we were, on the couch, somewhere in the middle of June watching Girls On-Demand when the character Hannah, with her god-awful, drawn-on eyebrows, turned to her boss and said, “Someday I’m going to write an essay about you and I’m not going to change your name!”

“What did she just say?” asked my sister. I hit rewind.

“Someday I’m going to write an essay about you and I’m not going to change your name!”

It was clear as day. My sister burst into laughter and grabbed my knee, as she yelled out, “That bitch stole your line!”

My sister was right. It was stolen. I had been robbed and now I had to come up with another line and I really didn’t want to do that because it had been my line for so long. It was part of me. I had written so candidly about so many people in my life from the very beginning of my career. And while I occasionally referred to some of them under a thinly veiled moniker once I found myself in the blogging world, the truth was the real name factor, whether it was for all the right or wrong reasons, was somewhat of a gift. It was proof of impact; don’t we all want proof of impact?

How was I supposed to write about Christoffer or Timothy or Angelo or Andrew or Ben, or talk shit about my former bosses Alan and Marc, or point out the fact that my aunt Patty thinks I’m a heathen, if I’ve been stripped of my line? What was the point of even being a writer if not to exact revenge on others? It couldn’t possibly be because you love the art form, could it?

WHY WAS THIS HAPPENING TO ME?

I had so obviously been the only person in the history of the world to have strung all those words together in that order to make that exact sentence and now it was gone. I could never use it again without being accused of lacking creativity, thievery or straight-up plagiarizing. My life, as I knew it, ended in those few seconds while my sister laughed her ass off and I buried my head into a pillow screaming, “Fuck you, Lena. Fuck you and your youness!” Or something else equally poetic and practically deserving of a goddamn book award.

And yes, that’s how it all went down that afternoon, on a couch in New Hampshire, in the early summer of 2012.

I have since then tried to make peace with the situation. I have pointed out to myself several times a day in the mirror during my hourly pep talks that I am older than Lena, so I did technically come up with the line first, if we’re to do the math based on our ages. But it seems like a waste now, and I don’t have the energy to stalk her and have it out with her on a Brooklyn street corner. Such behavior might get me labeled crazy, and I’ve heard that enough for one lifetime.

I love Girls; I really do, but now I have this chip on my shoulder. See? I can’t even come up with anything more creative for that? It’s so cliché.

My name is Amanda Chatel. I’m a writer in New York City. And Lena Dunham stole my line. I know there’s a therapy group out there for such a thing, or eventually will be. But I guess in the meantime, I’ll have to join the one for all the girls who had short hair before Lena, but now get accused of having it that way because of her.

I’ve had pixie short hair since sophomore year of college when I used to fight with my boyfriend named Chris whose name I never changed because he was an asshole. It just goes to show you shouldn’t fuck with a writer, because we’re a fucked up lot and we’ll eventually catch up with you. I’m looking at you, too, Lena.

Follow Amanda Chatel on Twitter

How To Have An Emotional Breakdown On An NYC Street In Style

If it hasn’t happened to you yet, it will someday. Whether you’ve walked out of your job one sunny afternoon because your boss insulted your coffee-making technique for the hundredth time, you run into an ex with their new love, or you’ve just realized that every decision you’ve ever made is wrong, an emotional breakdown on a New York City street is inevitable. Once you’ve lived here long enough, you will have cried on the Bowery, threatened to throw yourself in front of a cab in Midtown or even just softly wept into the phone to your mom while walking across the Williamsburg Bridge. It will happen, I promise.

When it comes to the inevitable, you might as well embrace it and prepare well in advance. If you’ve ever witnessed someone having an emotional breakdown in public, you’ve probably been able to discern what makes for a stylish one and what does not.

On the many occasions I’ve seen someone fall apart, their knees collapse from under them as they dramatically scream at either the sky or the person with whom they happen to be. I stare in concentration not because I’m judging or being nosy, but because I’m trying to take in their technique. I want to be sure that I can learn from their mistakes or perhaps even steal a move that looks extra great and award winning. You can’t half-ass an emotional breakdown; there’s a science to it, a craft and it’s not something that should be taken lightly.

So how does one stylishly pull off such a scene of epic, utter despair, but still look flawless while doing so?

Stay standing upright as long as you can. Of course a full-on breakdown will eventually have you on the ground, either because you’ve fallen or tossed yourself onto the sidewalk, but staying vertical for as long as possible is key. It will lengthen your body and show passersby that you have erect grace before you become a weeping ball in the fetal position near that puddle of dog piss.

Use fancy words. Regular old commonplace words will hardly make you stand out as one who knows a thing or two about fashionable scene-making. Try to think of your breakdown as a Shakespeare play or a Scrabble game you want to win; nothing less than eloquent 20-point words will do.

Do the occasional hair check. No matter the length of your hair, make sure to reach up and see if it’s just the right bit of wild. Windy days can make this “right bit” too extreme and it can detract from the focus:  you. You also want to make sure that your hair has followed your emotions’ lead and has not stayed behind all prim and proper. If need be, in between screams, cries and 20-point words, give your hair a push up and out. Naturally, the true success for this detail will be based on just how long it is. Curly bobs, actually, most curly hair is perfect for this part of the equation. If you have straight hair, maybe you should consider a perm.

Keep your lips moist. Excessive crying and moving of your mouth could result in dry lips. Although, ideally, it would be great to apply a chapstick or gloss to your mouth mid-breakdown, it’s not exactly the best time for it. If you’re coherent enough to be aware of what’s going on in your pucker region, run your tongue over your lips from time to time. No one wants to be that person on the street making a scene with that white caked-foam type shit in the corners of their mouth. Not pretty.

Subtly pull at your clothes. Similarly to your hair, you want to look the “right bit” of disheveled. You also want to make sure that your skirt isn’t tucked into the back of your tights, your tie isn’t covered in something from lunch or your head didn’t just instantly decide that that very moment was the ideal second to start making dandruff. In pulling at and sort of brushing against different articles of your outfit, you’ll be able to make sure that nothing is overtly out of place. Realize you’re too put together? Slip one of your arms out of your jacket – there you go! Disheveled made easy.

Make a mental note of your surroundings. At some point before your entire emotion breakdown is over, you’re going to tumble. You will end up on the sidewalk and not because you wanted to necessarily, but because you were unable to get to your bed fast enough. Since this is the case, it’s extremely important to make a note of where things are around you. How far from that metal trashcan are you? Can you fall to your right and not graze it with your head? If you drop to your knees, are you far enough away from that dog shit? You don’t want to leave the situation reeking of canine feces and rocking a black eye. Not cool.

Breathe. Seriously. Devastation, for whatever the reason, can lead to hyperventilating which will not only make you look like you’re panting like an excited, chubby puppy, but can cause a complete loss of control. You’ve already lost your handle on most of what’s going on in that moment, so you don’t want to add to it by gasping for air the way your family from Ohio does every time they walk the six flights up to your apartment. Don’t be like people from Ohio; so breathe in and out, in and out—even if it hurts like hell to do so.

With these few suggestions, you’re well on your way to having a stylish emotional breakdown on any New York City street. So don’t feel bad when it happens, insecure or embarrassed; it happens to the best of us. It happens to all of us, even if some of us are better at being stealth about it. Although, in hiding it, you’ll get yourself nowhere. Emotions were made to be felt, tear ducts were made to be released, and your beloved New York City was made to catch you when you fall –even if it’s with open arms of dirty concrete.  

Follow Amanda Chatel on Twitter.

It’s Time To Finally Break Up With ‘Sex and the City’

Dear Sex and the City, exactly where would this world be without you? How would we function, define ourselves and know how to act when it comes to dating in New York City? How would we know how to exist, in general, in accordance to the laws of life, if it had not been for you?

Without you, all of us would be nothing. We wouldn’t be capable of realizing our own dreams or understanding such important terms like “frenemies,” or “tookus-lingus.” We wouldn’t be able to pigeonhole ourselves into only one of four types of women—as clearly, only four types exist—nor would the world be able to reference you on a daily basis. You were great in your heyday, Sex and the City, but like every relationship with an iconic (yes, it’s often called this) TV series, we’ve seen better days. It’s time we break-up; it’s time we all, every one of us, break-up with you and move on with our lives. In fact, we shouldn’t even keep in touch. You’re ruining everything.

When HBO’s Girls first aired, the show was immediately dubbed Sex and the City for women in their 20s. Hannah is to Carrie, as Marnie is to Miranda, as Shoshanna is to Charlotte, as Jessa is to Samantha, and there’s little space to argue it. As for the “Big” role, you can’t completely equate that character to Hannah’s Adam Sackler, but considering the initial unattainable vibe and the challenge it was to get him to be her boyfriend, there are definitely more than a few parallels. And just as it was when Sex and the City first aired on HBO in 1998, women are yet again defining themselves by these characters. In 1998, I was Carrie with a dash of Samantha; in 2012, I’m Hannah with a dash of Jessa. If I don’t use HBO characters to explain myself, I lose all sense of meaning. I might, god forbid, have to be me.

No matter where you live, it’s probably hard to get through a day without a mention of or a reference to a Sex and the City situation. Every time someone has a break-up it’s compared to Carrie and Big, when your friend does something that might fall under the tier of promiscuous, she’s pulled a “Samantha,” and if I have to listen to my friend Matthew go on and on anymore about the “hot French twinks in that episode where Carrie is in France with the short Russian,” I may scream. However, I’ll be a hypocrite in doing so; I’ll probably quote the series at some point within the next 48 hours. It will awkward and embarrassing, but it’s sometimes all I know. I am the Sex and the City generation (http://thegloss.com/culture/sex-and-the-city-middle-age-women-830/), and if I wasn’t, it wouldn’t matter because it’s still everywhere. What poster does Girls’ character Shoshanna have on her wall in her apartment? How old would she have been when the show premiered? About 11 or 12—maybe even younger.

Whenever a series that’s about single people in a city launches on any network, Sex and the City is used as an explanatory analogy. It’s as though a show that centers around the lives of single men and women can’t stand on its own without this comparison. From Girlfriends (about African-American ladies, although canceled in 2008) to Lipstick Jungle (another Candace Bushnell novel) to Hunting Season (on LOGO now about gay fellas), all of these shows found themselves labeled with “the Sex and the City for [insert a demographic here.]” It’s exhausting, boring and unoriginal to boot.

The only way we can break free of this and escape the never-ending semblances is to make a pact with ourselves and the rest of world to kick our Sex and the City addiction. The world functioned just fine long before Carrie Bradshaw and company penetrated our homes through the television, so we can live that way again. We can live in a Sex and the City-free society if we really want to, and honestly, we’ll be better for it.

Although hard at first, break-ups actually lead to good eventually. We’re able to get ourselves back, appreciate time with our real life friends as opposed to douchy television characters that are unable to love us in return, and we’ll finally be forced to use maybe, oh I don’t know, literature or art as a means to quell heartbreak or justify everyday mishaps as opposed to Carrie’s drama. People will stop living out the dreams that were prescribed to them by a show that’s been over for eight years now. It will be glorious! We will live again! We will be free.

The next time you find yourself mid-conversation with someone and something that could be equated to Sex and the City comes up, stop yourself. You can have the thought, you can even allow the words to do some dallying around on the tip of your tongue, but that’s where it should come to an end. This isn’t just a one-on-one break-up; this is a group break-up. We can’t do it alone; we need everyone in on this one if we’re to get through it with our sanity intact. All break-ups have some negative residual effect at first, and Ben & Jerry’s can’t solve everything.

So who’s in? Can we finally kick the SATC ladies to the curb?

Follow Amanda Chatel on Twitter.

How to Dress For Success in the New York Dating Scene

As someone who occasionally works with and profiles New York City matchmakers for work, I have learned that when it comes to dating they have an interesting take on attire and presentation. Writing about sex and relationships means having these people drop into my lap in the hope that I’ll help them promote their business. I have, on some occasions, helped in that way, but the best part is learning how to dress to land a significant other. It is not as easy as one thinks, but it’s also more cliché than not.

Let’s start with tips for the ladies:

Have long hair. Yes, men prefer long hair. If your hair is short, ladies, grow it out. Or get a weave. Now. Also wear it down; you want to make sure your date is well aware that you have hair and it is long.

Cover up your “goods.” While men do love to stare at your ample bosom, and cleavage is always appreciated, you’re not looking to get laid. You are, however, looking to settle down and buy a house in Westchester. Dressing like a harlot won’t get you anywhere. If you own a turtleneck, consider wearing it. You want to appear pious and conservative, and probably a big fan of Mitt Romney, too. What would Ann Romney wear? Exactly.

Show off your “lower goods.” No! Not your vagina! Your legs! Always wear a skirt or dress; this shouldn’t even be a question. It will be hard for your date to realize you’re a woman if you have your legs covered—especially since you have your cleavage covered and may yet to have grown out your hair. It’s important not to confuse the person with whom you’re on the date. You need to make things as obvious as possible.

Wear make-up. Women should always wear make-up. This is just how the world works and those of you who do not, should not be allowed to call yourself a woman. If you did not know this, then you’ve been under a rock for the majority of your life and this is why you’re single. Make-up is what sets us apart from the animals. Well that, and lingerie.

Don lingerie. Even if you won’t be showing it off until your third date or later, knowing that you’re wearing the silkiest, laciest, and sexiest underthings you have, will help in your confidence and “inner sex goddess.” No one feels hot and dangerous in granny panties.

Wear pantyhose. I’m not sure why this is part of the whole “snagging a man” criteria, but it is. Apparently, you can find pantyhose in a pharmacy, and if not, your mom might still have a pair from 1973.

Always rock heels. Again, we’re trying to make sure there is no question about your gender and your intentions. Heels mean you care; flats mean you don’t. If you can’t walk in heels, then practice ASAP. Heels lengthen your legs, and therefore make you appear taller even when you’re not. You want to appear tall. Men prefer tall women. In case you didn’t know.

Tips for the gentlemen:

Stay home if you’re bald or going bald. As we already covered, hair is important; very important. If you’ve lost your hair or are about to lose it and don’t look like Bryan Cranston or Sir Patrick Stewart, don’t even bother. Everyone else looks just George Costanza. It’s sad but true… or so I’ve been advised.

Always wear a suit. If you don’t own a suit, you should really evaluate your intentions in not just procuring a partner but also your station in life. If a man doesn’t own at least one suit, he might as well move to Ohio and get a job at a Dairy Queen. But that won’t be a total waste, because Blizzards are really yummy!

Don’t wear white socks. A grown man should understand there are very few places where white socks are appropriate. One of them happens to be at the gym, and the other place is in hell where you’re bound to go if you’re bald and only wore white socks your whole life. These are just the facts, and I’m reiterating them.

Have a freshly shaven face. Even if having a beard is your thing, lose it. Women want you bared face so they can see the real you. Obviously facial hair means you’re up to no good and can’t be trusted. This also goes for any potential unibrow you may have been sporting without knowledge as to how creepy it makes you look.

There you go! Putting these few tips to use will guarantee you an end to your single ways and you should be hitched in no time. And, of course, no one wants to be alone; that shit is for losers, or at least this is what I’ve gathered from dating coaches and matchmakers.

Follow Amanda Chatel on Twitter.

What To Wear When You’re Meeting Someone For A Casual Encounter On Craigslist

Even if we’ve never actually gone through with it, I’m sure many of us have read the Casual Encounters section on Craigslist. How can our curiosity keep us from it? It’s not only a look into how people behave when they can hide behind the walls of the internet; it’s also a chance to see what efforts (or lack there of) people will go to get laid. For the most part, the ads tend to be not just sexually explicit; they also introduce us occasional readers to fetishes that we didn’t even know existed. Why, yes, there is a man in Queens who just wants to come over and casually sniff your dirty underwear. And yes, you just sent that link to all your co-workers because you have nothing else better to do with the last hour of your workday.

There are, of course, those who have the desire to fulfill a fantasy they may not be able to communicate to their partner, so they feel safe in the anonymity that comes with sniffing some stranger’s undies. And then there are those who straight up want to fuck. There’s a world of orgasms to be had, and they want to pick the ripest one from the tree and enjoy it with someone besides their hand or battery-operated best friend for a change.

Casual encounters go way past online dating. There is no bullshit to cut through and before you even set up a place to meet, you’ve already laid down exactly what you want to do and you didn’t even have to make small talk over a shared appetizer. You’re going to score; end of story.

But how does one broach the Casual Encounter scene with the skill of a seasoned regular? Is there a technique? Is it an art form? Can we at least get a how-to handbook on the topic? My friend, who’s been doing this “thing” for a while now, gave me some tips as to how to present myself if I were, hypothetically speaking, going to make the rounds on Craigslist. You know, just in case I’m craving to be banged by a stranger tomorrow afternoon someone around the time I usually have tea and crumpets.

Pretend it’s Opposite Day. You’re not looking to date this person; you’re looking to fuck them NSA-style then leave. If you’re usually preppy in your attire, go hipster; if you’re normally a t-shirt-and-jeans type, wear a suit. This should actually carry over into your hairstyle and bags, too. Yeah, we all have a Strand tote bag, but on this night, you all of a sudden have a backpack instead! You’re playing a role, and that role is someone who’s on a mission to get laid.

Play into the fantasy. If the email banter between you and your new buddy has suggested things like thigh-highs, a jock strap, or a studded collar, live up to it! Show up entangled in a leather whip and nothing else if that’s what you promised. It’s not just Opposite Day; it’s about sticking to your guns and not disappointing the games that are about to take place.

Avoid wearing anything sentimental. This is a very important piece of advice. If you have an article of clothing or a piece of jewelry that has a deep meaning to you, make sure you leave at home. Let’s be honest—you are putting yourself on the line to get some, and if something should go a bit unplanned, you don’t want to not be able to wear you grandmother’s pearl necklace again just because the guy you fucked gave you a pearl necklace of his own all over it. You’ll never look at grandma’s gift the same way again, and you don’t want that.

Remove your heart from your sleeve before heading out. As with all NSA situations, sex is sex and love has no room in the equation. While a lot of people go out to screw not long after a break-up as a means to somehow move on, it’s important to remember emotions should be kept in check. If you’re someone who constantly wears your heart on your sleeve, leave that shit at home. Pin it to the towel in your bathroom and you can put it back on when you get home—after you’ve showered off that aforementioned pearl necklace.

Wear comfortable shoes. Why? Because you never when you may end up with a Ted Bundy or Aileen Wuornos on your hands and you’ll have to run like hell. But hey, that’s the risk you sometimes take when going the anonymous sex route. Although, statistically speaking, you probably have a better chance of being hit by a cab than ending up in 100-gallon drum of acid, but proceeding on the side of caution is never a bad idea. No one wants to go down at the hands of a serial killer for the sake of an orgasm they could have achieved at home with some wine and a Bernardo Bertolucci film.

Follow Amanda Chatel on Twitter.

Legitimate Reasons to Loathe Fashion Week

Well, well. It looks like it’s Fashion Week time once again here in New York City. We have name-droppers, legit designers, wannabe designers, models from all corners of the world wandering the streets, and everyone’s head is a wee bit inflated for some reason. Why? Because no matter who you are, if you live in New York City you know someone who knows someone who used to know someone who dated that woman who pretty much invented Fashion Week–or at least this will be some bullshit version of what you’ll hear over the next few days. If you’re not talking about Fashion Week, then you’re a nobody, and nobody wants to be a nobody.

As one who briefly worked in the fashion industry, I can attest to the fact that it is an exciting place to be. It’s also superficial, catty, creates false egos, and usually results in years of necessary therapy to work through it all after the fact. It’s a land of make believe, a world in which so few get to see up close, that this alone gives it even more unwarranted cred. It’s there, it exists, but you can never have it. Most people have a better chance of going to the moon than getting an invite to a Fashion Week show by a top designer, and considering the fact that NASA has nixed its space shuttle program, that says a lot.

Although I am someone who’s been collecting Vogue magazines since she was eleven, would throw her best friend under a bus to own a couture Alexander McQueen dress, and just might be softly crying into her pillow next week when I know I’m missing out on the Zac Posen show, there are more than a few reasons to not just dislike but literally loathe New York’s Fashion Week. This isn’t steeped in jealousy because I won’t be attending any of my dream shows this year, but an actual legitimate display of the fuckery that is brought upon our city twice a year. Like most things in life, it’s great in theory, but a shit show when you’re standing in it.

For starters, fuck trying to get a cab for the next week. Seriously. It’s not happening now matter the day or time. Not only are you competing with your usual New Yorkers to hail a taxi, but you’ll also have all those “visitors” with whom to contend. Besides, as a New Yorker, you should be taking the subway, and if you don’t know how to, then this is your chance to practice.

Secondly, expect lines at your favorite restaurants, especially if they fall under the “trendy” category. Granted, on any given night there’s usually a wait at most places unless you’re in the mood for Applebee’s in Times Square. But you can be certain lines will be longer, and anyone more famous than you will be seated before you even if they came in after you. This is how life works, so suck it up. You should have become famous if you wanted to avoid this problem.

Attention Bushwick: they’re coming for you.

It’s also pretty much a guarantee that a friend of a friend is going to tell you at some point over the next week that they can get you into a certain event. They’ll tell you that your name is on the list, and you’re all set. Of course, you’ll arrive, your name won’t be there, and you’ll feel like a jackass as you demand and make pleas for the doorman to check the list again. He’s not going to, though, because your name isn’t there. Oh, and you’re a nobody.

After your lowly status on the totem pole of fashion society is confirmed by rejection to an event, you should prepare yourself for even further damage to your ego. If you’re smart, you’ll emotionally get ready for this now by having your therapist on speed dial (although you should already anyway).

Even if you’re the most confident person in the world, seeing all those models wandering the streets will take a toll on your soul. They’re tall, they’re thin, and even with disheveled hair and no make-up they still look they just pounced out of your September issue of Vogue. You can’t blame them though; it is their job to be fashionable, but you can still find them irritating because they can’t decide what they want to order when they’re in front of you at your neighborhood coffee shop but are forgiven for their inability to decide because they’re a foot taller than you and no one can see you anyway. It’s only fair to be allowed to be pissy over such things; there should be some justice for us, the little guys, during Fashion Week.

Lastly, Fashion Week is no longer contained! Ever since it was kicked from the iconic tents at Bryant Park, it has leaked all over the city, taking over the most random and obscure places. You may even walk out your front door and see the next up and coming “hip” designer trying to make a statement with a presentation of his collection on your sidewalk. They’re all running wild, and while you may do your best to escape it, you can’t. It’s just impossible. They are everywhere and reoccurring for a whole fucking week! They don’t make Valtrex for such things, so again, you have to suck it up, furrow and mutter profanities under your breath.