My New Year’s Resolutions: Be Vapid, Exfoliate, Flirt
You’re nothing but a self-flagellant and a Puritan. Just look at your New Year’s Resolutions: a mind-numbing litany of self-denial, invariably revolving around unriveting issues like gym attendance, punctuality and fat intake. This annual attempt at asceticism is a hangover from another period in your life. Don’t pretend you don’t remember! I’m talking about that decade when you swung from chandeliers, gave people the clap, drank like a sailor and had fun. Back then, your New Year’s Resolutions (N.Y.R.’s) were (appropriately) penitential efforts to desist from your unchained, hedonistic lifestyle. Those days of promiscuity and booze are long gone, but old habits die hard and the impulse to throw on a hair shirt still lingers. It’s time to take that hair shirt and give it a few spit-curls. Come Jan. 1, I’d like to see you put a bit of louche back into your N.Y.R.’s, thereby pumping a bit of your old cheeky self back into your daily life. Pick from, or be inspired by, the following: · Read tons of vapid periodicals and bag all those cliché literary pretensions, e.g. "This year I’m going to reread Middlemarch ." Whatever! Why drive yourself bonkers trying to read Proust or Conrad when your true calling in life is to be a magazine reader? · Learn lots of bad jokes-they’re so much better than those long-winded clubhouse thigh-slappers you struggle to memorize. Jokes should be short and stupid: e.g., "My mother made me a homosexual." (Beat.) "If you give her the wool, she’ll make you one, too." Ba-boom! · Smell more pungent! Stop with the fragrance-free lifestyle already! I’ll admit that some fragrances are a bit de trop , but isn’t it always better to smell like a tart’s handbag than not smell like anything? My latest fave: Comme des Garçons’ new line of perfumes based on leaves. The best one is Shiso, and it really smells like shiso leaves-you know, those bright green serrated leaves that accompany your sashimi ($35 and up, available at the Comme des Garçons Store, 520 West 22nd Street, and Barneys, 660 Madison Avenue). P.S.: If you try to save money buying fake fragrances, you may get more than you bargained for. As reported on Dec. 9 in the New York Post ‘s Page Six, British inspectors have found substantial quantities of human urine in rip-off Chanel No. 5. What makes you think they aren’t trying that down on Canal Street? · Decrease your accessibility. You’re so plugged in and connected that you are just a sitting duck for every wanker with a non-problem or stupid question. You’re not having any fun because you are in permanent reaction mode-or maybe you are just addicted to distraction. Either way, stop pretending you’re Scully expecting an urgent call from Mulder, put that cell phone in a drawer and take it out when you really need it. P.S.: In England, the British Minister for Public Health is officially discouraging the use of cell phones by children for nonessential purposes. Call me a conspiracy theorist if you like, but I see another mad-cow disease scenario on the horizon-i.e., tentative, grudging official acknowledgment of a health problem, followed by full-scale disaster. · Paint your face (and your wagon, if you have one). That whole makeup/no-makeup thing is a perfect example of that misguided stringency which has made your previous N.Y.R.’s so uninspiring. Makeup artist Susan Houser says, "After years of subtlety, a made-up face is looking right again." But you don’t need to plaster your face in pancake to look glamorous. "Concentrate on the eyes: Mascara top and bottom lashes with Shu Uemura mascara [$27 from the eponymous store at 121 Greene Street]. Then draw lashes on the outer lower rim of each eye with MAC black cream liner [$11 at Bloomie's, Saks and Macy's]." It’s an updated, low-key, classic version of a Penelope Tree eye, with a bit of Sean Young from Blade Runner thrown in. · Never appear in public looking schlumpy. You don’t have to put on seamed nylons every time you take the dog out for a poo, but you do need to look alluring. Hide your dégagé lounging ensembles under an unbelievably chic trench. It’s cheating (a bit like painting around your furniture because you were too lazy to move it), but so what? The Barneys New York Collection has a leather coat that will make you the talk of your local Korean Deli. It’s a fit ‘n’ flair, A-line wrap trench (no buttons = easy access) for $2,295; and this sizzling cover-all comes in brown with camel piping, black with tan piping and camel with camel piping. · Exfoliate more often, but with sensuality. Scruffing does not necessarily mean lying on a cold slab while frustrated nun-like ladies attack your epidermis with dry pumice stones-that’s your old N.Y.R. mandate. I’m addicted to Fresh Brown Sugar Body Polish ($55 at Sephora, 119 Fifth Avenue); it smells like Rémy Martin, cooking sherry and Mrs. Butterworth’s. But I recommend using it only in the winter: Last summer, this honeyed potion attracted an ant colony to my bathroom. · Parrot the opinions of others. You are not qualified to organize current-affairs data into opinions . So steal them. I get mine from various sources: for example, John Stossel’s "Give Me a Break" on 20/20 (Channel 7, Fridays at 10 p.m.), while Camille Paglia on Salon.com has not lost any of her bombast. We all need snappy conversational gambits, but we all aren’t capable of generating them ourselves. Steal, steal, steal. · Cut corners: Shortcuts allow you more time for lotus-eating. Start by languidly referring to the contents of your wardrobe in the singular, e.g. a Manolo, a pant, a Galliano, a fishnet, etc. I picked this habit up from busy Los Angeles director and stylist L’Wren Scott. She recently took time from her breakneck schedule to elaborate on this timesaving device: "Right now I’m wearing an Ossie with a hoop and a Perry" (translation: a vintage Ossie Clark dress with a pair of hoop earrings and this season’s pointy boots by Michel Perry, now on sale for $595 to $700 at Barneys and Bergdorf Goodman). Eccentrically monikered L’Wren continued: "I refer to everything in the singular; it’s given me a whole new lease on life. Nothing would get me back to plurals, except maybe if I had to dress a celeb who was missing a limb. ‘You need a croc Manolo’ might sound a bit shady to someone with one leg." In addition to the L’Wren Scot method, I also recommend the following timesavers: Always abbreviate "naturally, I would love to" to the infinitely more economical "natch"; and instead of "I totally agree with you," simply say "tote" (as in "bag"). · Revive the art of flirting. Play the coquette with everyone, especially your significant other. A word of caution, or rather three: Syphilis is back. And chlamydia is tres à la mode . As you recommit to a less ascetic life, don’t get carried away. According to http://www.unspeakable.com, one in five people is carrying an S.T.D. For more info, call the National S.T.D. Hotline at 1-800-227-8922. Happy New Year!