Don’t Go Out Like That

O.K., it is warm. The streets are full, the freaks are out, the trees are blooming. Rejoice. But bear in mind our status as a fashionable city. In other words, darlings, your legs are white, perhaps misshapen (read, bloated) and no one really wants to see them. Ditto your arms. The triceps are not supposed to swing.

The other morning, a woman stood on 14th Street, wearing a badass leather coat, a Monica Lewinsky beret, open-toe shoes and an Ally McBeal miniskirt. Tragic. Has no one told her to resist the urge to wear two seasons at once?

When in doubt, consult those who know. Fashion maven Carrie Donovan said, “You can’t have too bare a leg now. I don’t believe in that. I think it looks funny.” Got that, girls? But Ms. Donovan is no fashion tyrant. “You know what I am wearing on my feet?” she said. “I don’t know what you call them-clogs, platforms-they are the most comfortable things ever . You clunk along in them, but they are just heaven . Except, of course, when you’re getting out of a cab and leave one behind.”

What’s going on here? Has Ms. Donovan, formerly of The New York Times , allowed her new role as Old Navy spokesman to turn her into some kind of foot-exposing radical? “Oh, yes!” she said. “I think, frankly, you can wear an open toe in the winter!”

Yikes.

“Listen,” Ms. Donovan said. “You can wear anything any time. Oh, yes. I had one of my Old Navy V-neck T-shirts under my Donna Karan jackets with my Armani pants!”

The difference between the typical New York lady and Ms. Donovan? Taste. Not to mention a cashmere sweater tossed loosely over the shoulders.

A Survey of Office Types

With the invention of modern plumbing, men developed the peculiar custom of spending unhurried moments seated on what would become known as the throne. No longer having to contend with the elements beating at the outhouse door, nor with the indignity of the chamber pot, every schmo became a king. Given his new sense of self-worth, the average man was less likely to take orders. Along came the modern workplace. It was established to put the average man back in his place-but he managed to hold on to his improved status in a number of ways. Herewith, a survey of office types and their adaptive strategies, based on observations of our spies at various New York corporations.…

The Magazine Roller: There’s no chance that being at work will impede this guy’s routine. When nature calls, he leaps up from his work station with a rolled-up Golf Digest in hand. “How was your weekend?” he might say as he places his hand on the door marked Men. Everyone from the department head on down knows he’ll have a long residency in there; the Magazine Roller simply doesn’t care that his private routine is the subject of office mirth. After all, he might tell you, a man’s gotta do what a man’s gotta do.

The Floor Jumper: Deeply uncomfortable with the notion that his business might become the stuff of office gossip, the timid Floor Jumper shifts in his seat until it’s nearly too late. Then, with his courage rising up inside him, he steals away from his desk and heads for a roost on another floor. With his penchant for using the same facility each day, however, he risks incurring the wrath of those seated near his chosen spot. So despite his good intentions, he gains a reputation in the building as an interloper with a need to foul a strange nest.

The Stall Talker: “Hey, can I read that when you’re done?” At the other end of the scatological spectrum sits the absurdly confident specimen known as the Stall Talker. Quite simply, he doesn’t feel as if he has relieved himself unless he has conversed with the pair of shoes in the next stall. (Tom Arnold played a Stall Talker with aplomb in the movie Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery .)

The Mad Bomber: He’s innovative, he loves his solitude, and maybe he’s afflicted with a digestion problem. Meet the Mad Bomber. He spends large portions of the workday searching for that ideal out-of-the-way haven where he can pass his time undetected. Yesterday he was the uninvited guest in the executive washroom on the 30th floor. Today-boom!-he’s slumming in the basement near the messenger center. His epic search for the comfort and quiet of his home base may seem noble, but isn’t the Mad Bomber really just a fugitive from biology, eternally fleeing the facts of life, but never quite escaping them?

There you have the major known types. Certainly there are others-the Lysol Lover, the 10 A.M. Man-but they require further study and cannot be remarked upon in any kind of instructive detail at this time.

The Monica Diaries

Continued excerpts from several hundred loose pages, wrapped in brown paper and tied with string, which were dumped on The Observer ‘s front stoop and labeled, “The atached (sic) is my story, the story of a white house intirn (sic) in my own words, not that bitch Linda. ML.”

August 19, 1997, 11:38 P.M.

dear diary,

well if today was not the wierdest … Big Creep called and said, Mon, I have a friend i want you to meet, a very close old friend, and he cant tell me her name but i should call her Belle and so at 5:30 im meeting this Belle for drinks at the Palm and i wear my Jones New York floral chiffon sundress with straw hat and matching ribbon and this woman comes up and shes like Hello Monica , why dont we sit, and she is way tan her skin on her cleevage is like leather and she has big boobs which are on the display rack and this pink suit and way high heels pink also and big blonde hair and a southurn accent and I order wine spritzer and she gets a tom collins and says Well … so I say Well … because i am not about to let this person bug me and she says, I assume Bill told you I have known him for years and she gives me this look which means shes fucking him and so i sip my spritzer and she starts talking quiet, she says, Bill is a very special man, Monica, and women who get to know him like you and me do are very lucky , and it is important that he is not distracted from his duties, so there are certain, what you might call rules , that his lady friends follow … and i say Yes? And she says, Bill tells me youve been talking of marriage, and im like, That’s private between him and me, and she says, Oh, is it? Then why did he send me here today? And she touches my hand and says Listen, hon , you can continue to enjoy Bill but you must be mature and im like, Sorry, you have the wrong girl, he and I have the true love, and she says, Of course you do, dear, but Bill has several special ladies, and it works fine for everyone- except when one of us decides she is better than the rest-now in a democracy we cannot have that can we? and Im like Jeez did Creepo send you here to dump me? and she’s like, No, what ever gave you that idea, just think of me as a big sister, like if you find yourself getting mad at Bill-and we both know how he can be!!!-then call me before calling your friends or your mom or dad or anyone , and then she pushed this white card across the table and it just has a cell phone number on it no name and she says, well, im glad we had the chance to meet, you are a lovely young woman and i wouldnt want any misunderstanding to cause you serious trouble in your life and she’s standing up and i say what about the drinks and she says oh dont worry dear its all taken care of …