Sunday, July 30, 2006

Best. Blog. Ever.

If you're a reality-TV junkie like me, and you think that Project Runway is one of the most enjoyable shows on television right now, you must, must, must click here. It's a blog written by PR's Malan Breton, the oddly sympathetic designer with a (possibly faux) European accent who was kicked off on the second episode then proceeded to cry and broke the hearts of millions (okay, maybe thousands) of Americans watching the show. You know Malan: He's the guy on the show who was a strange cross between Alan Cumming, Paul Reubens, and Harry Connick Jr.

His blog is part idealism, part inspiration, and part fairy dust sprinkled by a rose-colored unicorn flying over a sparkly rainbow. Here's a snippet:

I was going over sketches today and fabrics etc. Every single one of these pieces are so full of light and colour, it is going to be the best collection I have ever shown, and get excited because I am going to give you something that will change your formal wardrobe forever, something so beautiful elegant and sexy , but something you would never imagine wearing to a formal event. Wait to be surprised it will be worth it...

Love. It.

If this guy, this strange little android from another planet, had his very own show (and he should!) I would totally relearn how to use my VCR just so I could tape every episode. (No, I don't have TiVo, and, yes, I know I'm living in the Dark Ages.)

P.S. Random musing about this past week: For two days straight, I had Nick Lachey's "What's Left of Me" stuck in my head. Specifically, the part where he goes falsetto and sings along with the violins -- "Ahhh-HAA-HAAA, ah, HAA-HAAA, ah." Ugh. My brain must be angry with me about all the delicious beers I drank last week because having that kind of an earworm is the worst punishment it could possibly come up with.

P.P.S. I will blog about my aforementioned Babbo experience tomorrow, so tune in for some dishing. (Pun most definitely intended.)

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Newbie Goes Upscale

I'll admit it's completely dorky of me that I am so excited for my night out tomorrow evening. My friend D is coming into town, and we're going to go out to dinner. (I feel like such a socialite this week, with people in town to see me, plans being made, etc. My boss told me I was like Doris Day in one of her movies, and I completely loved that reference.) But not just any dinner.

In college, my friend D and I loved to pretend we were more stylish than everyone else. That probably rang true for him, but for this college girl, who purchased most of her clothing from Target, T.J. Maxx, and the Gap sale rack (hell, I still do), I think I was reaching. But go with me on this one. D and I liked to fantasize about hosting a show entitled "Not So Much" on a local cable access channel. We decided that we would show footage of fashion-victim sorostitutes or hopelessly trendy hipsters, mock them, and then say our trademark phrase in unison -- you guessed it -- "Not so much!" It was a recipe for success. Unfortunately, we never did anything about it, and a few years later TLC's Stacy London (God, I love that woman) and Clinton Kelly totally stole our idea. I think we deserve some royalties.

Anyway. So, I moved to New York, and D moved elsewhere in the country, and I kept telling him, "Come to the city, and we'll have a stylish night out. Something old-school and decadent and lovely." So tomorrow he is taking me to a place called Babbo, a Mario Batali restaurant that's supposed to be outstanding. I have never been to an eatery that expensive or chic, and I'm excited and giggly like a little schoolgirl about the fact that I'm going to get to go. It'll be expensive, but I think it will be worth it.

I'm afraid, though.

I'm always afraid that when I go somewhere nice, people will look at me and know my kitten heels are from Payless and my dress was $20 at a street fair. When I go into boutiques in New York, the salesgirls always me the once-over, Pretty Woman-style. I hate walking into Saks, even just to grab a couple tubes of the lip balm I like, because I never feel well-dressed enough to be inside. And don't even get me started on upscale bars.

I think it's the lower-middle-class Midwesterner in me. The little girl whose school clothes were from K-Mart and who never had high-top Reeboks like the other girls. The elementary school student whose mother washed plastic lunch baggies so we could re-use them. The junior high school student who was made fun by the rich girls because she didn't have Guess jeans. It was hardest back then. The insults were the worst. But I'm fiercely proud of everything my family sacrificed and my upbringing and that little voice inside my head that balks if the price tag on a single piece of clothing reads more than $50. (Needless to say, I'm not a big fashionista.)

But I'm not going to think about that. I am going to a great New York City restaurant, I am going to enjoy the company and the atmosphere, and I am going to savor every bite.

Hardcore in NYC

I'd always heard from Manhattan defectors that New York "hardens you." Yeah, right, I thought. It hardens you the way life does, the way life should. So you glance down at your purse more often to make sure it's zipped, so you ignore strangers on the streets to protect yourself: all good life skills that pretty much everyone should have. I don't think I'm alone in that viewpoint.

But today, one of my best college friends, P, came to town. I took him to d.b.a., one of the best bars in Manhattan, for some good beer drinkin' coupled with some good, buzzy discussions about life. The Boyf came, too. I fiercely wanted him to meet my friend P. P is great. He's smart and funny and completely honest -- all of those qualities you're supposed to want in a friend in theory. (You know, the opposite of the friends who make you spend way too much on clothes or encourage you to stay out until 5 a.m. on a weekday while they try to hook it with the bar's resident near-supermodel -- you know who you are.) P is the real deal, and having him here with me, in a cool bar in my Manhattan, made me smile more than I had in a long time, as we discussed our college lives and where we are now and the fact that it's okay that we haven't won the Pulitzer yet. No one our age has.

But then after riding the subway with him, I left P at his stop, at 14th Street. We hugged, and he left, and I settled down into the subway car, warm with smiles, between two gangsta-looking guys. I heard loud knocks on the car's window, and one of the gangstas said to me while gesturing at the window, "He's callin' for you." Of course, being the savvy New York chick that I am, I figured I was the target of a ploy for the gangstas to either woo me or take my purse. So I didn't look at the window. I shook my head and said, "No..." half-smiling as to direct their attention elsewhere, on another unsuspecting passenger.

I realized about one full minute later that the gangstas weren't trying to con me. P was trying to talk to me one last time, in his Midwestern way, by banging on the subway window. Because of my biases, because of my "hardness," I missed the last time we could have seen each other in what will probably be years.

I felt bad. I felt "hard." And most of all, I just missed my down-to-earth friend P. The one who knows me, and the one who can always make me laugh late in the night on a weekday in a downtown Manhattan bar where everyone else is working harder on being cool than on being a good friend.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Self-Absorption Post #3,048

I think there's nothing worse than coming home on the subway sad. First, I feel like I'm in some really crappy indie movie, like Closer except far less well-done and with unattractive actors. When you're sad on the subway in New York and coming home later than you usually do, there's always this perverse desire to sneak glances at the faces of your fellow passengers, thinking that maybe -- in a stupid P.T. Anderson moment -- they'll instantly understand you and agree that your significant other was a huge douche for saying that awful thing to you 20 minutes ago, and that they'll totally get how your upbringing was pivotal in stunting who you became.

But it's so dumb and self-aggrandizing. (It's okay; I had to look it up too just to make sure it meant what I thought it meant.) We're so overprivileged in this country, in this city. And I think that all of us still think that if we somehow find our jigsaw-puzzle match, our platonic ideal of a partner, that this whole -- whatever spendy, self-absorbed, career-ish life that we've been half-assing -- will finally make sense and we'll float down into a muted Pottery Barn existence with our towheaded Xeroxed children and we'll finally feel like we've been forgiven for the partial promiscuity, the squandered money, and the half-formed ideas we were too lazy to execute.

But it won't. Because, unfortunately, we are who we are, and those awful post-toothbrushing 2 a.m.-in-the-mirror moments only reveal what the truth is: Our mistakes and everything we do to cover them up.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

TV That's Worth Your Time

I usually like my TV shows like I like my men: dumb, pretty, and entertaining. Just kidding. About the men, anyway. But my shows? Well, I like to catch "My Fair Brady," and I watched the entire first season of "Flavor of Love." That's time I'll never get back. (Get it? Time? Flavor Flav? I'm SO killing right now.)

But this weekend, the Boyf and I watched Dave Chappelle on "Inside the Actors Studio." I know, I know -- the show first aired back in February. But it was still some of the most honest, thoughtful, and enlightening programming I've seen in quite some time. (But considering my usual show lineup, that's not surprising.)

Whether you think Dave is a comic genius or utterly distasteful (I, personally, think he's a little bit of both), it was a treat to see him open up and say intelligent things like this:

"The worst thing to call somebody is crazy," he said. "It's dismissive. I don't understand this person so they're crazy. That's bull----."

I expected Dave to dodge questions and ham it up, but it was just thoroughly interesting to hear him speak about his father's death and the business of acting and comedy writing. Plus, James Lipton was on fire: He actually uttered the phrase "Where are my f*cking royalties?" and he ballet-danced onstage. Wow. That alone was worth the price of admission. Plus, every time I see the show, I admire Lipton's style of interviewing. He shuts up and lets the actors talk, allowing them to reveal more than they might have planned to. Plus, you can tell Lipton does his research and genuinely enjoys film. Love it. Four stars for this episode.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Warm, Fuzzy (Literally) Memories

Oh my goodness, I just found this, and it made me so happy. I loved Sesame Street. (via Ultragrrrl)

Thursday, July 20, 2006

This Just In: Summer Is Hot

In college, some of our fellow students would moonlight at one of the area TV stations as reporters and anchors to gain working-world experience. So, on any given day, it wouldn't be unusual to turn on the television see a 20-year-old giving you an update on the dire campus parking situation or the cleanup details after a storm knocked down some power lines.

Naturally, my friends and I mocked these people to no end.

One cold winter evening, some fresh-faced fratboy type in an ill-fitting suit had some news to break: It was COLD outside. In fact, he continued, it was so cold that he was going to attempt to freeze an egg on the sidewalk. (This was live television, mind you.) As we watched this, my six or so friends and I rolled on the floor laughing. They continued to monitor the egg's progress throughout the broadcast (I am not making this up) until we finally learned the truth: It was NOT, in fact, cold enough to actually freeze an egg, but the sides of the egg looked pretty stiff. There are no words to describe the long, loud bouts of cackling that went on in my apartment during this entire newscast.

That's why I loved this article, from the Philadelphia Inquirer. Thank God a weather-wise journalist is finally telling it like it is.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

The Sneezes

"So, are you ready to leave at 6?" my boss asked. (Where I work, it is a treat to leave at 6 p.m. rather than at 2:45 a.m., which has happened before.)

"Yep," I said absently from my chair.

Then I sneezed three times. I often sneeze at work. Maybe a little too often.

I got up and walked over to the side of my cube that separates me from my boss, poked my head above the partition and said, "Sometimes I think I have that incurable nose cancer that Scully got on 'The X-Files' and that's why I sneeze so much."

She looked up at me.

"Well, probably," she said, stifling a smile. Then she continued: "Or it could be that this office is full of dust and recirculated air, like an airplane. But it's probably the cancer."

I nodded. Scully never suspected a thing, either....

Monday, July 17, 2006

Internet Boyfriend #1: Ramit Sethi

I think in Cyberland I should be able to have a harem of Internet boyfriends. No offense to the real Boyf, of course, who is wonderful and everything a Manhattan lady could ever want: tall (this is a big deal in New York, land of the midgetmen), a great cook, patient, ha-cha-cha hot, smart, artistic, and has a superhuman tolerance for my many neuroses. I'll move on before everyone starts to gag.

Okay. The term "Internet boyfriend" is meant more like "close friend" or "comrade" or "male blogger with wit and great ideas." These hypothetical guys wouldn't be for use in real life. I wouldn't talk to them online or exchange blog addresses via e-mail. They wouldn't even have any idea who I am. If I had my own personal stable of spunky, talented male bloggers/webmasters, I'd just consider them part of my boy stock -- my collection of Girl Talk boy cards -- and I'd take them out to look at them when I get bored. I'd be like Janice Dickinson and her modeling agency. Except more compelling and 75 percent less plasticky.

But wait. Typing Pool is my Internet bubble! Three cheers for anonymous blogs!

In that case, I'd like to present to you my first Internet boyfriend: Ramit Sethi of I Will Teach You to Be Rich. Okay, so Lifehacker has already discovered him, but he's mine, I tell you! Mine! Mine. (Ahem.)

I love Ramit's blog. I've said it before: I think there should be a personal finance magazine for young investors like me and, well, every person between the ages of 20 and 30, but in the meantime, I Will Teach You to Be Rich will suffice. In this blog, you'll get how-tos for making a budget, buying a mutual fund, paying off credit cards, etc. (you know, all of that stuff that no one really bothers to tell twentysomethings), but I most like his general money advice dispensed in a funny, noncondescending way.

Awesome, funny excerpt from the site:

Anyway, I was watching Suze Orman's show the other day (I love it) and two separate people called in asking about how to get out debt; they were drowning in bills from credit-card companies and car loans. Yet both of them were dutifully saving money towards their children's college education. This made me do two things: First, I took my burrito and almost hurled it at the TV. But I had covered it in a wonderful blend of 3 hot sauces so it was too delectable to let go.

Any man who shares my love of personal finance, Suze Orman, and burritos MUST be in my harem of Internet boyfriends. So, Ramit, consider yourself added. And blogrolled. (Rowr.)

P.S. I totally had this Ken ("The handsomest Ken ever!") when I was younger. He went with Crystal Barbie, whose dress was made of a highly flammable crinkly pearlescent Saran Wrap-type material. I married them often.

Battle of the (Drunken) Sexes

So, I watched the bachelor/bachelorette party episode of "My Fair Brady" last night. (Shut up. It's good. Sort of.) I think I really just enjoy seeing the crazy whiny stunts that Adrianne Curry gets away with, presumably because she's hot.

(Side Note: I'm placing my bets now, and I give this Peter Brady/Midwestern attention-whore marriage exactly one year and six months. Quote me on it.)

During all of the alcohol- and bubble-bath-soaked drama, and after watching Christopher Knight and Curry fight and bicker and misunderstand each other and yell their way through at least 47,983 drinks, I had an honest-to-God epiphany about male/female relations and intoxication. Follow:

Mystical Revelation 1: When drinking, men's and women's sensitivity levels go in completely opposite directions. Men become unaware of their surroundings and their actions. Women become hyperaware of their surroundings and their actions.

Mystical Revelation 2: When drinking, a man can tell his beloved to go to hell if they have a fight. He can walk out on an earnest conversation. He can get rip-roarin', red-faced mad. But, at the end of the night, his memory of doing any of this is wiped clean. Oblivious to any emotional outpouring from his lady, he expects a hug and a kiss at the end of the night no matter what. If he reaches his DQ (Drama Quotient) for the night and separates from her abruptly and without explanation to sleep alone in peace (quite soundly, I might add, because of said drinking), he will not think to apologize for the previous night until about 2 p.m. the next day. Before it occurs to him to call the lady he has insulted, he will want to sleep late and possibly eat a plate of eggs before considering picking up the phone and telling his lady he's sorry.

Mystical Revelation 3: When drinking, a woman becomes a lightning rod for any kind of insult (real or perceived) that is flung her way. Don't whisper near a woman, don't touch a woman if she's not yours, and don't even look at a woman wrong, because she's going to hear it/feel it/see it, and her hellfire will subsequently rain upon you. She will remember each and ever insult her man says to her face, and she will not only retell the tale all night to her girlfriends and sit up until the wee hours of the morning worrying about it, she will probably also remember it 17 years later. (Men, you've been warned.) In all likelihood, the woman will be the one to pick up the phone the next day and say something like, "Pookie, did you get home okay? Let's never fight again. 'Kay?"

The real takeaway? From personal experience, it's much easier to achieve emotional (um, and physical) closeness in a committed relationship when Jack, Johnnie, and Jimmy aren't standing in the middle. Not that there's anything wrong with a tossing a couple back every now and again.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Blue Sky

New York happened again for me today. (See this previous entry about another New York moment I had back in May, if you're curious.)

I decided to lie in the sun this afternoon. The Boyf has a very nice roof deck, and thank goodness I'm allowed to use it. If I tried to climb on top of my five-floor walkup and lie out on the tar, I'd probably either crash through it into a fifth-floor tenant's living room or roll off into midtown traffic because of the 35-degree slant and no railing.

So, yes, I went up today to give my pasty-white skin a nice cherry sheen, and I looked around at all the buildings and the East River and the trees around the park below and thought, "I am lucky. This is beautiful." And all of the capitalism and inequalities and money-grubbing and posing that Manhattan is rife with sort of melted away, and it was just me and the blue sky.

But wait.

I happened to look up, and there were several jets doing skywriting. I was excited. I hoped it was a marriage proposal. Or maybe an eccentric Upper East Side millionaire putting Beatles lyrics up above just because he got his tax return back and figured what the hell. I waited for the jets to shoot out more letters, and then the cryptic message was revealed:



In two minutes, the letters had vanished, leaving a wispy, smoky arc in the otherwise cloudless sky.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Poor? Get Cozy with Your Neighbor.

This Times article, about young professionals living in glorified NYC dorms, occupies a soft spot in my heart today. Because what better way than this story to illustrate the housing disparity in this city?

I especially love this quote by 29-year-old Wil Fenn, whom I want to cyber-make out with because I agree with him so much:

"Everyone talks about free-market solutions," he said, speaking of the city'’s shortage of lower-priced housing. "“But the solution now is the rich get richer and for everyone else it'’s the equivalent of being a sharecropper in the city. I'’ve been working five or six years now, trying to save up and buy something. Every time I get closer, the goal moves farther away."

Could righteous frustration be voiced any better than that? I think not. (Well, except for the farther/further grammar problem, but let's not split hairs.) That said, what are the solutions to the problem? Nothing. Oh, wait: More huge, expensive high-rises in previously ungentrified parts of the city for the rich and dorm rooms for young hard-working adults. Perfect.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

"Make the Main Character Really Interesting, Too"

What part of this Craigslist posting doesn't scream "write my novel for me"?

Ghostwriter needed for a fiction novel. A loose rough draft of 75 pages already constructed. The finished product should be 200-400 pages. There is plenty of room for the imagination and creativity. The main character is a young, strong willed, open minded and real woman, which should always be considered. However there are plenty of other characters who view the world differently as well.

Experience / Skills:
1. Must be a good writer who understands people, both men and women.
2. Must be open minded.
3. Must have writing samples.
4. No experience necessary, but must be able to take on the task.
5. Should be able to work independently.
6. Must be a responsible and professional individual.
7. Good grammar is very important.

(And you know she got several earnest responses to this.)

Monday, July 10, 2006

Dude, Where's My Diploma?

I really enjoyed reading this article in today's Times, about how today's college women are pushing themselves far harder than their male counterparts, which translates to ladies taking home far more honors and awards than the guys. From the tone of the article, it seems that college men are more content to coast by with average grades, pushing away studies in favor of video games.

I'm not shocked by the findings the article reported. That sounds pretty similar to what went on when I went to college. Even in my personal experience, I did my fair share of cramming at the last minute and slacking off, but my boyfriend at the time beat my laziness handily with his lack of concern about academic life. I was the one who worked hard at extra classes to gain experience and evening jobs to make money (and gain experience), and he was the one who mastered Bond and actually became enraptured with soap operas because he was so bored during the day. He also sported a ridiculous level of hubris about his intellect: pride in his ability to beat anyone at Trivial Pursuit, trade with the best of them in Fantasy Baseball, and contribute to any conversation about politics, music, or the state of our chosen major. I hated that he was so lazy and so sure of himself at the same time: something the Times article backs up completely as the mindset of most college men. I also worried for our future: that I'd always be embarrassed by his sloth, that he wouldn't be able to hold up his half of the relationship financially, that scenario after scenario I'd have to be the responsible one. I didn't feel that I deserved that kind of pressure.

What I think the article should have addressed is not only that it's going to be hard for college women to find a date with much fewer men applying to college than ever before; it's that (I think) the very dynamic of male-female romantic relationships from here on out should be called into question. Although it's wonderful that women have been making these strides, how long will it be before women are responsible for everything in their and their husbands' lives: the housekeeping, the children, spirituality, and bringing in enough money so that they and their families can get by? It's essential that women now have the option to go into the work force (and of course women are far better off than they were in the 1950s), but how far away are we as women from courting glorified teenage slackers who expect us to manage their lives, just as their mothers did?

To me, that's scarier than the possibility of a gender imbalance on campus.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

I think it's pretty widely accepted now that is giving the Weekly World News a run for its journalistic money. With its top-slot infotainment headlines (Russell Crowe a father again [gasp! call everyone you know!]) and news of the weird (Kitten survives wood chipper [meow! with video!]), is there, constantly letting me know that real news is so totally passe and that the apocalypse is most assuredly around the corner.

Here is the key breaking news I've been made privy to today:

>> Plots like this exist in the real world, not just in crappy third-rate summer heist flicks.

>> Calling all word geeks. Updates to the Bible. (Okay, to me, this is sort of important.)

>> Just when you thought it was safe to ride the NYC subways...well, you could be attacked by a chainsaw-wielding sadist (with video!).

>> You might want to sit down for this: High stress and heart attacks are, in fact, connected. I know! So crazy!

>> Gang members will steal your children using

God bless you, And God bless America.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

 Drinking, Dating Don't Mix

I'm a little late to the party on this one, but I like this opinion poll that Stephanie Klein is taking. The question reads (clearing throat): "What does it mean when a girlfriend is nicest to you when she is drunk?"

I love this question because the Boyf and I are having some minor issues surrounding my level of intoxication on weekends and how that corresponds to his getting yelled at. Picture the line graph in your head: Two Coronas and a three-block walk home equals sweet, balmy, whispered nothings and pleasant descent into slumber. Half a bottle of red over dinner, two pints of Blue Moon, and a Yuengling back home might equal "Why do I always have to come over to your place, huh? Huh? Why can't you come over to my place for once?" Any more than that, and you're venturing into "You down't takk care of meeeesh the wassyy.... Hmmmph" and me-sleeping-on-the-couch-for-no-discernible-reason territory.

We're working that out.

But a girlfriend who's nicest to you when you're drunk brings back memories of my ex, whom, for the sake of argument, we'll just call "Evil." I liked Evil so much. He was smart. He was well-read. He was in my career field. We could talk for hours essentially comparing our resumes. (Scintillating, I know.) Once we went to a party with all of his friends and, late in the night, he gave me a slow, sweet, deep kiss back by the downstairs coatroom. Of course, being naive and in my early 20s, I found this ridiculously sexy. What I overlooked, however, was that Evil ignored me the entire night, only getting friendly when he'd had a few. I began to realize that Evil wasn't just ignoring me at parties. He was ignoring some of my voice mails, several calls, a few IMs, and pretty much all of my feelings in general. It was a painful realization: Booze (and I know this is shocking) is just not enough to hold a one-sided relationship together.

And also let me argue this from the girls' side. Ladies, we all know when we're just being downright mean to a guy. Usually -- not always, but usually -- it's deserved. But sometimes, when we've had a few cocktails/beers/kamikaze shots, that damn nurturing side will come out and we'll think hazily, "I shouldn't be so mean to him. He's really not so bad...." And then we sway and we coo, and we put our arms around him, and we try to convince ourselves that he's the one for us when we know -- and boy, do we know -- that he's not.

Verdict: What does it mean when your girlfriend is nicest to you when she's drunk? It means she doesn't like you as much as she wishes she did.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Then Angels Must Wear New York & Co.

There is nothing I love better than skewering the young, rich, and overprivileged. So it goes without saying that I liked this article from the Post about princessy entry-level assistants in fields like fashion PR (surprise) and party promoting (surprise, surprise) who whine about their jobs, complain about having to do menial tasks, and generally act as though they've actually earned the Choos on their feet. I especially like the references to the television show The Hills and our dear L.C.'s internship at Teen Vogue. (TV's west coast editor says that L.C. got the internship on merit, but please. Let's not pretend the publisher didn't close the door to her office and start pumping her fist and yelling, "Ka-ching! Ka-ching!" when she heard about the free publicity (read: future ad dollars) that L.C. had the potential to rake in.)

In that same vein, I went to see The Devil Wears Prada today. Wow. Director David Frankel did an excellent job of -- as a former boss of mine used to say -- making chicken salad out of chicken sh*t. Because where the Devil Wears Prada novel is concerned, I have read Craigslist housing ads that were better written. The movie was upbeat, fun, well-acted, and had a quasi-plausible and neat ending, which was much more than I could say for the book.

But, to tie in both of the above, when I read Lauren Weisberger's roman-a-clef back in 2003, I had three (very good) internships under my belt and was trying desperately to get a job -- any job -- in New York City. I was taking the bus into the city every other day (and charging the fare on my credit card because I didn't have any money), wearing the same polyester blazer I'd had for two years, and clutching multiple copies of my resume, all the while hoping hard that some HR department would lift me out of between-internship purgatory so I could begin my career and at long last go to the dentist. Reading Weisberger's multipage complaint about how hard her prestigious glossy magazine job was didn't exactly put her high on my sympathy list.

However, I'm not going to side entirely with Maureen Dowd (as much as I love her) and say that assistants shouldn't complain about getting wildly vague directions from their bosses and turn the other cheek when said bosses become livid because the outcome is not to their liking. I think assistants should work as hard as the job demands (and then some -- Lord knows I have), but bosses should expect questions, at least at first, and not get huffy when they discover their employees are not, in fact, mind-readers.

But let me end with this: No matter how much Lauren Weisberger felt that she was above the realm of fashion, she went to Cornell -- still an Ivy League school. Lauren Conrad (L.C.) is -- let's not mince words -- rich. As are the majority of the girls in fashion/beauty PR and journalism. If you don't have the means and the breeding to look the part, you're not going to be asked back for a second interview. And that's just another vast schism that separates the true working girls (the lower and middle class) from the girls that end up working.