Forgive me, Miss O., for I have sinned. Inspired by James Frey’s contrite appearance on The Oprah Winfrey Show last week, I’ve decided to come clean. The fact that Mr. Frey’s “autobiography” is chewing up the best-seller lists and mine only clawed its way onto the New York Post list for one measly week isn’t going to stop me from grabbing that confessional spotlight. For I, too, have lied. Naughty, fibbing moi! And just like Mr. Frey, my mendacity concerns my encounters with the cops.
In the recently published Nasty: My Family and Other Glamorous Varmints, I stated that I have been arrested twice, once for running out of a greasy spoon without paying (in full glam-rock attire) and once for driving while intoxicated (in plaid bondage pants). Well, I was lying. I have, in fact, been arrested on three separate occasions during my wild and otherwise accurately reported youth. So not only am I a liar, but I’m also a total fucking idiot. Instead of seizing every possible opportunity to pump up my criminal record—thereby grabbing fistfuls of Freyish brownie points and street cred left and right—I actually subtracted an encounter with law enforcement. I am the Un-Frey.
In my deluded, queeny, old-fashioned brain, I figured that getting nabbed by the coppers twice was quite unsavory and gritty enough. To be arrested twice would seem unfortunate; to be arrested three times would seem like carelessness, was my Wildean thinking.
How was I to know that while I was diligently deleting arrests from my text, the Freys of the world were adding zeros left and right? Thanks, James! No wonder Nasty never got picked by Lady O.!
It’s been a week filled with such mysterious annoyances.
Irritation No. 2: People magazine enlisted me to comment on the “It” bags of the moment. I took time out from my new Freyian lifestyle—shooting up heroin and raping entire convents of defenseless nuns, undergoing a colonoscopy without any anesthetic just for kicks, etc., etc.—and wrote quips about each designer purse. Despite overdosing 63 times last Wednesday, I completed this project with alacrity and efficiency and for no money. At the request of the editor, I even made changes. Imagine how much smack I injected when, last Monday, I received a peculiarly blunt e-mail informing me that the good people at People had decided to take the story in “a different direction” and would not be using my quips! James, if you are reading this, I would be grateful for any good revenge suggestions.
While reviewing these objects, I couldn’t help wondering how come today’s handbags—a good proportion of which resemble metallic elephants’ scrotums—have gotten so ugly. Familiar though I am with the concept of jolie laide, it’s hard to understand why any gal would want to carry these overdesigned, overpriced horrors on her arm. If I were a chick—as I am sure Mr. Frey has been on a number of drug-addled occasions—I would rebel against this trend and tote the prissiest 80’s Chanel number I could find. (See this season’s black patent-leather model: $1,850 at Chanel 57th Street, Soho and Bloomingdale’s.)
Incomprehensible annoyance No. 3: Last week, my bloke and I were passing Abercrombie and Fitch. “Let’s check it out,” I said, fantasies of platonically wrestling with buff sales associates (in the manner of the hilarious Abercrombie Mad TV takeoffs) playing in my head.
We entered the store and recoiled. Every item of clothing looked as if it had been ravaged—and possibly pooed upon—by packs of wild dogs. No garment had gone ungnawed. Every outfit on display bore witness to some impossibly butch, stressful, rugged lifestyle. All this extreme-yet-bogus wear ’n’ tear seems to go unquestioned by the happy A&F shoppers. Not moi. All I could think about was the lady whose dog mauling had necessitated a face transplant.
This munching/shredding trend, by no means limited to A&F, seems to parallel the excesses of James Frey. It’s no longer enough to break in a pair of jeans in the normal, time-honored fashion, i.e., by living your life. The rips and tears of a normal existence wouldn’t be deemed fabulous or interesting enough. In order to be attention-worthy, you have to wear a jean that makes you look as if you’d been dragged behind a truck through 500 Taliban training camps and 6,000 Bruce Weber photo shoots—i.e., one that makes your life seem more interesting than it ever could be.
Re that third arrest: It occurred back in the U.K., right before the notorious Weeley Festival of 1971. The headliners included T. Rex, Rod Stewart and the Faces, and a long-forgotten but fab group called the Pink Fairies. It was a memorable weekend: A hideous, violent fracas between the Hell’s Angels and security guards turned this hippie scene into the British version of Altamont. No such excitements attended my encounter with law enforcement: I (clad in moderately frayed jeans) and my chums were taken into custody for— yawn!—snoozing in a cider-induced coma in the Weeley railway station. It was a heavy scene, man.