10 August, 2011

Useless Job Number 7,328: Style Editor

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those only of the author and may only coincidentally reflect those of Mystic Metals, its employees, or associates. All responses should be posted as comments here, or mailed directly to the author, A. Robert Basile, at ihatebasile@gmail.com.

Mail sent directly to Mystic Metals will not be read.

Useless Job Number 7,328: Style Editor


I figured out what that stink is in my car. At least, I think I have. It could be something completely different. I do a lot of crazy shit when I’m on the Ambien and I don’t remember any of it. Maybe I killed a hooker and stashed parts of her body throughout the floorboards of my car. Or maybe I found the first, complete dinosaur skin and forgot to take it out of my glove box, and now it’s cooking like a grape into a raisin; or more accurately, a complete dinosaur skin into whatever a complete dinosaur skin turns into when it’s left in the glove box of a Ford Explorer. At any rate, let’s talk about something. I’m as excited as you are to find out what that something is.

I read an article today on a terrible website called www.thefrisky.com. It’s one of those style, celebrity, I’m never going to be as relevant so I’ll criticize the people that are relevant kind of websites. Or write about insignificant shit like what color belt to wear during which weeks of which month. I suppose there is a place for that kind of dribble. I happen to know a very intelligent person who watches celebrity news nonsense as if it were Fox news. And I suppose it’s not an awful thing because people need jobs right now since the president has managed this country in the way of Woolworth’s and that fast food pasta joint that was by my house on route 45 a while back. (You see, they both went out of business… Never mind.)

Starting a new paragraph gets me back on topic. So, I read this article on this dumb website. That was the point. In it, the broad talks about how she’s thirty-two years old and a style editor (whatever imaginary job that is) and she never had, nor plans to have, her ears pierced. That in itself isn’t terribly interesting. But there were a couple of nuggets nestled in the awful little article that caught my attention. And yes, I read the entire thing. And no, I can never unread it. (And I’m the one without a job. Remarkable.)

I shouldn’t break her balls (vagina?) too much. I have nothing against Julie Gerstein, author of this forgettable article. But there were two things in there. After she outlined her unpierced ear history, her adoration for accessories, and her amorous relationship to giving earrings as gifts, she waxes about wandering “…over to a Claire’s Boutique…” to get “…a mall tech do the deed…” We won’t touch that because you cats and kittens have already heard me talk about that legal mutilation. She then uncleverly meanders into the idea that modifying is contagious, and soon her lobes will be heavily modified having started with a simple 22g lobe piercing. Her literary achievement in sharing this (she is, after all, a style editor) is “…you’ve got a one way ticket to Lollapalooza and droopy six gauge ear plugs.” Cheap dig, Julie Gerstein; you’re skills as a style editor ought to produce better hyperbole than that, dear. No one goes to Lollapalooza anymore. And to be a picker of knits, sixes aren’t terribly ‘droopy.’ I’ve seen 22g studs whose inset gems and designs are much, much bigger and ‘droopier’ than six gauge plugs. Do your homework, style girl. And droopy? You want to talk about those women who have worn hanging earrings all their lives and now have those wonderfully stylish pulled lobes with the straight vertical scar running down them? Nah, we shouldn’t.

But all of this is my lack of antidepressants and hate for the guys I work with talking. What was most interesting was a thesis unexplored innocently dropped in the conclusion of the Julie Gerstein, style editor, little ear piercing ditty. It went like this:

“Somehow, even getting my ears pierced seems like I’m somehow conforming to traditional expectations of female beauty. Who I am is not a girl who has her ears pierced. That’s just how it is.”

That’s an interesting idea there, Ms. Gerstein. I wouldn’t have used ‘somehow’ twice, but that’s just my being an asshole. She speaks of the “traditional expectations of female beauty” and the conformity associated with that. As a man, I suppose that I don’t really pay attention to or give any degree of a shit about what the expectations of my gender are. I do understand that this isn’t so with most women. I very much adhere to the behavior of a traditional man. Treating women well, being honest and respectful, being honorable toward my friends, being brave and as fearless as a weak and crippled dirtbag bass player can be. But these are conceptual things, not aesthetic things. Ms. Julie raises an interesting perspective in terms of the traditional requirements for the aesthetic of a woman, and being a style editor, I’m sure that she is exposed to most of these conventions. She presents this idea as if her unmodified little ear lobes are a figurative act of defiance, a quiet flash mob of one in a public place filled with people who don’t care. It’s good to take a firm stance on luke warm topics. (Ask my buddy Chris about his voracious hatred of Dennis Franz.) You don’t want your lobes modified. I got that, Julie Gerstein, style editor. And you’ve thoroughly explained how you just don’t care, presenting a concept of ‘I just don’t want it.’ Then you drop this much heavier idea of defiance toward the traditional establishment of the womanly aesthetic. Well, which is it? Either you don’t care or you care so much that you’re making a point.

That irritation aside, there is an interesting idea there mired in the confusing and ill designed bullshit of this article. A womanly aesthetic. Traditional expectations. Expectations. That’s an interesting word. Yes, we live in a society in which we are required to present ourselves in ways becoming of an educated and upstanding people. Modification has been a fervent part of that, then not at all, and now slowly returning to the psyche of society. Women especially. It is easy to spy a woman dressed in a way and begin to assume things about her character. To be fair, I do the same with dudes. Those checkered douchebag shorts and bad tribal tattoos and flip flops! Flip flops on dudes HAS TO STOP.

Woah. Sorry. Where was I? Expectations. Perhaps I am the exception and not the rule, but to put it as simply as I can, fuck a stranger’s expectations of you. If a stranger is walking passed Julie Gerstein in the mall or wherever she does her style editing research, and that person thinks, ‘That broad, whom I have no way of knowing is a style editor or not, is less of a woman because she has virgin lobes,’ then that dude is an assholish, judgmental, ignorant part of the problem. In turn, if Julie Gerstein wants to defiantly not modify her lobes because it would be a conforming to a society that expects women to mod their lobes, then she is myopic as well. She isn’t seeing the forest for the trees, or the trees for the forest, or whatever vegetation in a group of similar vegetation. Modification and the use of it to help further beautify the carbon meat bag to which we are all tethered for the rest of forever ought to be a lifestyle and a culture in whose participation evaporates petty concepts of conformity or generalization or traditional expectation. Modification is the augmenting of the beautiful you into a something that is as beautiful in your own eyes as it is to strangers’ eyes. Who gives the roadkill mangled face of a baby bunny if it fits into generalization or conformity or traditional expectations? All it ought to fit into is your own comfort, your own beauty, and your own concepts of should and shouldn’t. The ‘I don’t mod because of conformity’ banner is a tattered and irritatingly decrepit flag whose waving signals to me that the person waving it doesn’t have anything interesting to say. Everyone is doing it so I can’t. Stop it. It’s not sixth grade where that matters. Who cares what everyone is doing? Do what facilitates your own comfort and beauty regardless of which celebrity has what mod where. These style people are so concerned with who’s doing what and looking just different enough that they end up just as much akin to the lemmings they are trying to avoid. OK, that was a cheap shot, but so was the Lollapalooza thing, so we’re even, Julie Gerstein, style editor. Stay beautiful, kids.



Join me on

Also, follow my late night, Ambien tweets at

No comments:

Post a Comment