We live in a time of excess. You know this, you’re not a fucking idiot. Most of us could live with, like, a fraction of the stuff we have. I moved here less than three years ago with only the contents of a Toyota Corolla and ALREADY I have so much pointless stuff again.
We’re lured in by this concept that quantity is preferred over quality. If you wear women’s clothing, then you know one of the best examples of this is Forever 21 or H&M. You can go in there and drop a bill and walk out with a sack of super trendy clothes that you won’t wear in a year for two reasons: one, they’ll no longer be in style, and two, they will have literally disintegrated into a useless pile of string after, like, washing them twice. VERY SMART, fast fashion chains. Smart because they have built forced obsolescence into their product. If what you’ve bought is useless in a year, you’ll be back to buy more.
Fashion magazines used to drive these trends at a slower pace, but now with Instagram, if Kylie (or whomeverthefuck is super trendy with young human Americans right now, don’t bust my balls shithead) posts five times with five different outfits in one day, she’s sent you the same message five times: GO SHOPPING SO YOU CAN HAVE MY LIFE. DON’T YOU WANT MY LIFE? IT’S SO GOOD, LOOK AT ME. And oh, look! It just so happens they have a fast fashion version of this $800 t shirt at some shitty store at the mall! Go get it!
So you go get it, and you don’t magically turn into Kylie Jenner overnight. Where does that leave you? With this hollow, vacuous feeling, a sagging depression created by simply having to cope with this unnatural capitalist culture that we don’t teach our children to embrace, integrate and deal with. So you go shopping again to try to fix that feeling. And then again. And then again. Take another hit. Smoke another cigarette. Have another drink. Buy another pair of shoes. FILL THE VOID. FEEL EMPTY. FILL THE VOID. REPEAT. REPEAT. REPEAT.
When we’re single, we are all Sawyer trying to get a fish biscuit, right. We’re sold this lie that there’s one true “soul mate” and if we haven’t found that person yet, we’ve failed in some way. But when we finally get the fish biscuit, we’re often kind of disappointed because it didn’t live up to our expectations. Maybe we eat it anyway because we’re afraid we may never get another fish biscuit. Or maybe we keep pressing the button and consuming fish biscuit after unsatisfying biscuit, numbing ourselves to the whole process.
This is the behavior of a consumer. Someone who has been taught and has completely absorbed consumption as a way of life. Nothing means anything because the act of consumption is ultimately what’s at stake. When I moved to Portland and finally started dating, I felt like a pinball just being thrown around inside a chaotic machine, bouncing off of each weird force with no telling where it would send me. Since I got here, I’ve been out with guys who publicly slut shamed me on Facebook because I didn’t want to sleep with them (IRONIC), who used me as a prop to make another woman jealous (it worked, if you’re wondering - hooray I guess?), and more than once, who tried to take on my artistic achievements as a way to prove to others that they were a certain type of person, a person who could get a smart, artistic woman to go out with them. GROSS. I seriously don’t know why I leave the house anymore.
But the crowning glory of my adult dating life has got to be Pizza Ghost. I went out with Pizza Ghost three times. By the third time, as I was getting ready to leave the house, my gut was churning and screaming at me: DON’T GO. I called friends to complain as I was walking to the date, like I was being marched to the guillotine. I knew. I KNEW he was the worst, and I didn’t listen to my gut because I’m supposed to date, I know you just sometimes have to show up and do the work and keep grinding and maybe one of these days you find someone lovely. So I went, and I got ghosted IN THE MIDDLE OF A DATE. For pizza! It’s so good. Listen:
I met up with Pizza Ghost at the Thirsty Pig to avoid having to go to fucking Amigos with him again, because he loves that place for some reason despite being 43 and being enough of an adult to know better. He spent the majority of the time there talking about prison (the reddest of flags) to some random dude who bummed a cigarette from him. Fine, I actually love not having to talk sometimes so I’m good with that. We then go over to Blyth and Burrows to see the magical, dreamy human person known as Gigi, who bartends there, and into whose eyes I could stare for days. *Le Sigh*
It’s jam packed and loud, so we stand there, awkwardly not talking, looking around, and then we get our drinks and Gigi takes us through the door at the back to the Broken Dram, the little speakeasy style bar around the back. She gives us a once over of the adorable menu that serves cocktail pairings named after doomed couples (FITTING) like Kurt and Courtney, F. Scott and Zelda, etc. and then out of nowhere, Pizza Ghost puts his empty glass down on the bar and says, “I’m gonna go and smoke a cigarette,” and I, happy for the break and kind of impressed, actually, about his ability to drink that fast, settle in to people watch and screw around on my phone, texting my Technical Director about how ridiculous things are and how everything is terrible.
And here’s what she says, “ghost that shit, dude.” That’s a direct quote. And I say, “I can’t, that’s so mean!” though in truth I’m wishing I could just do it, and we banter for a bit, and 20 minutes passes, then 30, then 45, and finally I’m like, huh I wonder what’s going on out there. And I go look outside, and Pizza Ghost is nowhere to be seen. I go downstairs to the bathroom, I come back, still no Pizza Ghost, so I’m like FUCK IT and I bounce, relieved that I could go to bed and get up early to go sailing the next morning. I’m walking home, in the rain (which I love, actually, sometimes i still miss you Seattle, smooches), and as I pass OTTO pizza, who is at the bar but PIZZA GHOST HIMSELF, eating pizza and drinking beer and talking to some other lady who is not me, the person with whom he was supposed to have gone out with that night. Pro tip for anyone considering dating Pizza Ghost: do not date Pizza Ghost, because he is too fucking dumb to remember to maybe not sit in the fucking front window of the establishment in which he sought refuge from the wretched DATEMONSTER that is yours truly, an establishment that is well-lit and on one of the most heavily trafficked streets in the city.
I go home, I prepare a delightful snack that I eat while watching an episode of Bajillion Dollar Properties because Paul F. Tompkins CALL ME I NEED YOU IN MY LIFE, pack my bag for sailing and get in bed. And then my phone lights up and I get this:
I’m sorry, what? You’re booty calling me now? After ghosting me. HOW DRUNK ARE YOU ACTUALLY. Immediately, I was like, I seriously cannot WAIT to write about this, and then I went to bed without responding because fuck you, Pizza Ghost, you’re the worst and I barely know you and my vagine isn’t an overnight parking garage for your sad drunk dick.
Pizza Ghost reaches out again the next morning, saying in an irritatingly casual way that he looks forward to seeing me again. I text him that he left me sitting at the bar for an hour like an asshole, I saw him at OTTO, he was not at Maps, I don’t care why he lied, but yeah no I’m good tho. And that’s it. That’s the end of Pizza Ghost, never to be heard from again.
The thing I keep coming back to is how selfish this whole thing was on his part, how apathetic and narcissistic, and I can’t help but feel that so many people I meet are just like this. They want you to do for them what satisfies whatever their needs are in the moment - companionship, a drinking buddy, banging, usually mostly just banging - and manipulate until they get what they want. So many men act like they are owed sex by any woman that exists in their immediacy. WHY DO YOU THINK THAT? Sex is magic and sacred, and you certainly don’t “deserve” it for disappearing and acting like a date is a huge imposition until it’s Time to Bang™ (for Pizza Ghost that time is “when the bars close” or “when I’ve run out of money for beer”). Sex is not a reward, or a weapon, or a bargaining tool. It’s really fucked up that our whole culture is built on that concept. Poor Pizza Ghost, nobody ever taught you to think for yourself or be a good person, you just absorbed all of this mess like an aimless old sponge, depleting the resources of the people around you.
What we should be asking when we date is what do I have to give? How can I be of service to someone I care about in a way that’s enriching? Am I ready to walk alongside someone while not becoming entangled with them? Hard stuff. But it would prevent any more Pizza Ghosts from happening to anyone else, that’s for sure.
But the universe doesn’t just fuck with us, if we’re paying attention there are some impactful lessons to be learned. A person’s awfulness can really be amplified when lain alongside someone who’s really great. Like, maybe Ben Affleck isn’t really that bad, but when you put him next to the Dali Lama it’s like, who’s this piece of shit? Anyway, I have a few tight friends who really feed my soul, but our universe was kind enough to send me a new friend who has reminded me that I really don’t need to waste my time with shitty people, that doors don’t just close on you because you’re not 24 anymore. I mean it grosses me out to say it, but like, people can be good and kind and inspiring maybe? UGH, my computer just rolled its eyes at me for saying that. I know. But like, here’s the thing: as you go forth into your weekend and you are presented with all of the forces that come at you and the Pizza Ghosts in their various iterations come out to haunt the night, REMEMBER that you are worthy of being treated well, that you're doing yourself a kindness when you treat others well, that you’re not alone and that you really don’t need 10 pairs of $25 dollar shoes. Just get one good pair of boots that will last and kind of form up to your feet as the years go by and then over time they’ll become your favorite pair of boots and you won’t even look at all those basically disposable shoes you bought because your boots make you feel confident and safe and DAMN GIRL YOU LOOK FUCKING GOOD IN THOSE BOOTS. You feel me? You feel me, don’t be an asshole.
Friday July 14
Slab’s summer music series out on the patio (if it’s not raining, which apparently seems to be the #styleinspo that summer is really going for this year) has Andrew Bailie tonight.
Prism Analog has Snaex and The Cards from 7-10. This is yer low-fi thinkingz muziks so don’t bring your chatty cousin Tyler to this, RUDE. This is a BYOB situation (I think?). Love Snaex. Don’t know the Cards. Will do my best to attend. Recommend you do the same.
Best Not Broken, a band from Manchester NH and whose FB page boasts both a small child in a Michael Jackson “Beat It” jacket (questionable) and a photo of the band at a bike week event (even more questionable), so those are two weird tastes that taste weirder together for sure, but anyway they’re at Empire tonight with The Threads from Chicago.
Fat Knuckle Freddy, Desertion Trio and El Malo are at Blue. Bayside Bowl has Wait, usLights and Cape Cannons. PHOME has reggae with Royal Hammer and The Far East. Plague is at Aura in the basement with DJ’s Foxy and Lady Loki. The Pubcrawlers are at Brian Boru. Foundation at Flask has Jim Cognito and Mr. Dereloid. In news that is - dare I say it? - bittersweet, Big Head Todd and the Monsters are at Aura in the upstairs.
The national nightmare known as “craft beer culture” continues tonight with DJ Hi Duke playing at MAPS for the release of Bunker Brewing’s new beer Slightly Smoked. Kudos to Bunker Brewing, by the way, for being - along with our friends at Oxbow - the Brewery Most Likely To Understand That Releasing A Beer Means You Should Also Book Entertainment, You Dummies, and they always have good live local tunes accompanying whatever bloatwater they’re serving up that day. I KID I KID I’m sure the beer is good. It’s my elderly meatsuit that is at fault here for providing an inhospitable environment for beer.
Our other national nightmare, Phish cover bands, continues to flourish over at Oxbow with Pardon Me, Doug’s “Midsummer Night’s Dream” show and beer collaboration release. The beer is called Pardon My Dreamsicle. The band describes it as “refreshingly light and crushable.”
Saturday July 15
FINALLY a beer event that I can get down with! Now, as you people may already be aware, I come from hearty Slavic Mountain People stock, and My People™ drink pilsner. Why do we drink pilsner? Because we are meant to drink it all goddam day and all fucking night, jerks! We like our light beers so we can fit in more food carbs, if I’m being completely honest, and on us eastern European-DNAed women it goes straight to our boobies and our butts and on the boys it goes straight to the middle to make a big happy apple tum. Saftig (pronounced “zahff-tig”) is what you call a lovely rotund person who likes the wurst and the pils. Beautiful squishy people with adorably light beers. ANYWAY, pilsner heroes Oxbow are having this thing Pils and Love at Spring Point Ledge in South Portland. Honestly, it doesn’t look like there’s any live music at this thing, but Oxbow is in itself sort of a rock and roll entity, so it counts, semantics nerds.
Fer yer showz, I’ve got two HOT PICKS for you: one is Mouth Washington, Wedding Camp, $300, Wizard Party and Old Night on the roof at at Mathew’s and the other is Dionysia, Forget, Forget and Mike O’Hehir at Empire.
W00dy is an artist/dj who is over at Zero Station with Hi Tiger. $5 suggested, and I think maybe it’s all ages? This looks pretty great too.
There’s a dance party called the FxD Block Party in Brick South at Thompson’s Point. Vinyl Tap is at RiRa. Flask has karaoke (Portland establishments: MOAR KARAOKE!). Slab has the Reggie Sullivan Band. Back out of self-imposed retirement, Sly Chi is at PHOME with Native Isles. Penn Johnson and TLT are at Andy’s Old Port.