Total Perspective Vortex
What really happened to Trillian? Theories abound, but you can see what she's really been up to on this blog. If you're looking for white mice, depressed robots, or the occasional Pan Galactic Gargleblaster you might be better served here:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/cult/hitchhikers/guide/.

Otherwise, hello, and welcome.
Mail Trillian here<





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Women, The Internet and You: Tips for Men Who Use Online Dating Sites
Part I, Your Profile and Email

Part II, Selecting a Potential Date

Part III, Your First Date!

Part IV, After the First Date. Now What?


"50 First Dates"






Don't just sit there angry and ranting, do something constructive.
In the words of Patti Smith (all hail Sister Patti): People have the power.
Contact your elected officials.

Don't be passive = get involved = make a difference.
Find Federal Officials
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or Search by State

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Contact The Media
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Words are cool.
The English language is complex, stupid, illogical, confounding, brilliant, beautiful, and fascinating.
Every now and then a word presents itself that typifies all the maddeningly gorgeousness of language. They're the words that give you pause for thought. "Who came up with that word? That's an interesting string of letters." Their beauty doesn't lie in their definition (although that can play a role). It's also not in their onomatopoeia, though that, too, can play a role. Their beauty is in the way their letters combine - the visual poetry of words - and/or the way they sound when spoken. We talk a lot about music we like to hear and art we like to see, so let's all hail the unsung heroes of communication, poetry and life: Words.
Here are some I like. (Not because of their definition.)

Quasar
Hyperbole
Amenable
Taciturn
Ennui
Prophetic
Tawdry
Hubris
Ethereal
Syzygy
Umbrageous
Twerp
Sluice
Omnipotent
Sanctuary
Malevolent
Maelstrom
Luddite
Subterfuge
Akimbo
Hoosegow
Dodecahedron
Visceral
Soupçon
Truculent
Vitriol
Mercurial
Kerfuffle
Sangfroid




























 







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Highlights from the Archives. Some favorite Trillian moments.

Void, Of Course: Eliminating Expectations and Emotions for a Better Way of Life

200i: iPodyssey

Macs Are from Venus, Windows is from Mars Can a relationship survive across platform barriers?
Jerking Off

Get A Job

Office Church Ladies: A Fieldguide

'Cause I'm a Blonde

True? Honestly? I think not.

A Good Day AND Funyuns?

The Easter Boy

Relationship in the Dumpster

Wedding Dress 4 Sale, Never Worn

Got Friends? Are You Sure? Take This Test

What About Class? Take This Test

A Long Time Ago, in a Galaxy Far Far Away, There Was a Really Bad Movie

May Your Alchemical Process be Complete. Rob Roy Recipe

Good Thing She's Not in a Good Mood Very Often (We Knew it Wouldn't Last)

What Do I Have to Do to Put You in this Car Today?

Of Mice and Me (Killer Cat Strikes in Local Woman's Apartment)

Trillian: The Musical (The Holiday Special)

LA Woman (I Love (Hate) LA)

It is my Cultureth
...and it would suit-eth me kindly to speak-eth in such mannered tongue

Slanglish

It's a Little Bit Me, It's a Little Bit You
Blogging a Legacy for Future Generations


Parents Visiting? Use Trillian's Mantra!

Ghosts of Christmas Past: Mod Hair Ken

Caught Blogging by Mom, Boss or Other

2003 Holiday Sho-Lo/Mullet Awards

Crullers, The Beer Store and Other Saintly Places

Come on Out of that Doghouse! It's a Sunshine Day!

"...I had no idea our CEO is actually Paula Abdul in disguise."

Lap Dance of the Cripple

Of Muppets and American Idols
"I said happier place, not crappier place!"

Finally Off Crutches, Trillian is Emancipated

Payless? Trillian? Shoe Confessions

Reality Wednesday: Extremely Local Pub

Reality Wednesday: Backstage Staging Zone (The Sweater Blog)

The Night Secret Agent Man Shot My Dad

To Dream the Impossible Dream: The Office Karaoke Party

Trillian Flies Economy Class (Prisoner, Cell Block H)

Trillian Visits the Village of the Damned, Takes Drugs, Becomes Delusional and Blogs Her Brains Out

Trillian's Parents are Powerless

Striptease for Spiders: A PETA Charity Event (People for the Ethical Treatment of Arachnids)

What's Up with Trillian and the Richard Branson Worship?

"Screw the French and their politics, give me their cheese!"


















 
Mail Trillian here





Trillian's Guide to the Galaxy gives 5 stars to these places in the Universe:
So much more than fun with fonts, this is a daily dose of visual poetry set against a backdrop of historical trivia. (C'mon, how can you not love a site that notes Wolfman Jack's birthday?!)

CellStories

Alliance for the Great Lakes


Hot, so cool, so cool we're hot.

Ig Nobel Awards

And you think YOU have the worst bridesmaid dress?

Coolest Jewelry in the Universe here (trust Trillian, she knows)

Red Tango

If your boss is an idiot, click here.

Evil Cat Full of Loathing.

Wildlife Works

Detroit Cobras


The Beachwood Reporter is better than not all, but most sex.



Hey! Why not check out some great art and illustration while you're here? Please? It won't hurt and it's free.

Shag

Kii Arens

Tim Biskup

Jeff Soto

Jotto




Get Fuzzy Now!
If you're not getting fuzzy, you should be. All hail Darby Conley. Yes, he's part of the Syndicate. But he's cool.





Who or what is HWNMNBS: (He Whose Name Must Not Be Spoken) Trillian's ex-fiancé. "Issues? What issues?"







Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.


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Reading blogs at work? Click to escape to a suitable site!

Mamas, Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up to be Smart Girls
(A Trillian de-composition, to the tune of Mamas, Don't Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Cowboys)

Mama don’t let your babies grow up to be smart girls
Don’t let them do puzzles and read lots of books
Make ‘em be strippers and dancers and such
Mamas, don’t let your babies grow up to be smart girls
They’ll never find men and they’re always alone
Even though men claim they want brains

Smart girls ain’t easy to love and they’re above playing games
And they’d rather read a book than subvert themselves
Kafka, Beethoven and foreign movies
And each night alone with her cat
And they won’t understand her and she won’t die young
She’ll probably just wither away

Mama don’t let your babies grow up to be smart girls
Don’t let them do puzzles and read lots of books
Make ‘em be strippers and dancers and such
Mamas, don’t let your babies grow up to be smart girls
They’ll never find men and they’re always alone
Even though men claim they want brains

A smart girl loves creaky old libraries and lively debates
Exploring the world and art and witty reparteé
Men who don’t know her won’t like her and those who do
Sometimes won’t know how to take her
She’s rarely wrong but in desperation will play dumb
Because men hate that she’s always right

Mama don’t let your babies grow up to be smart girls
Don’t let them do puzzles and read lots of books
Make ‘em be strippers and dancers and such
Mamas, don’t let your babies grow up to be smart girls
They’ll never find men and they’re always alone
Even though men claim they want brains





























Life(?) of Trillian
Single/Zero

 
Friday, March 18, 2005  
I love my job! It's the greatest job in the whole wide world! (this woman is lying)
I get to see the world and have exciting adventures and go to important meetings and wine and dine at some of the best restaurants and clubs in the world!
(she gets to go to points up and down the Eastern seaboard during blizzards on the last flights allowed to land in the storms because her boss did something very naughty and doesn't want to face the client and now it's her job to explain (without incriminating anyone, you know, specifically, by name) and clean up the mess and try to smooth things over with a board room full of (understandably) angry executives who are so annoyed they are reviewing the contracts to see what it will cost them to fire her company and they don't want to have lunch or dinner or drinks or anything to do with her outside of the board room so she'll order room service but because of the storms the hotel kitchen in short staffed and undersupplied so she trudges out into the cold snowy night to find something to eat but she's really not in the mood because she's tired and worn out and mentally drained from being raked over the coals and having to think fast! and tactfully on her feet so she shuffles back to the hotel and finds a vending area and has stale peanut butter crackers and Twizzlers for dinner accompanied by a Barbie sized bottle of wine from her room's mini bar which will cost her $22+ tax because her company will not reimburse mini-bar items or anything without a receipt. And vending machines don't give receipts.)

I get to meet new and interesting people!
(The airport security people who are so nice and helpful and friendly when they're tired and cranky. The cranky co-travelers. The screaming, puking babies who always sit across the aisle. The flight attendants who bump into her with their beverage tanks. The taxi drivers who are, well, taxi drivers the world over. The hotel staff who bear no resemblance to the smiling, helpful, friendly hotel staff on their chain's adverts. The legion of administrative staff in the client's office, the tech geek reconfiguring the client's network because of a little "challenge" with a little, ha ha, virus which was sent by someone in our office, the client's lawyers who have detailed files full of cites and legalese explaining how they can discontinue using her company, legally. The airline telephone agents who have no information and refuse to offer speculation on when flights will be departing (I know it's horrible job, but do they have to be so snippy and mean?)

Sometimes I even get to take an extra day or two for myself when I travel on company business! Shopping! Museums! Spa time! Take in a shows!
(Ever tried to get out of Boston after a snowstorm? Days my friend, days. Stuck until planes can be flown in from other locations. Locations not on the Eastern seaboard because they're all closed and snowed in, too. There will be nothing but boutiques and expensive department stores in the vicinity of her hotel so she will pay a premium for the minimal items she requires during her weather imposed stay. She will not be reimbursed for these items. She could go "out on the town, see the sights!" but it's one huge snowy mess, and she's traveling light, meaning clothing and undergarments are in short supply. She will have to (minimally) procure underwear or clean her existing few items with shampoo in the hotel room sink. Besides, the only museum open is the Maritime Museum which offers such educational displays as "Harpoons: Then and Now" "Scrimshaw Artistry" and "The Many uses of Whale Blubber." So she retreats back to her hotel, does some work, takes a bath and chooses between Kindergarten Cop and Cumming Around Again from the hotel's free in room movie service.)

It's great to get out of the office!
(None of her work is being handled while she's gone. She will return to several projects behind schedule because of these last minute extended trips. Her boss is incapable, unmotivated and apathetic to helping her while she's out of the office. Out of the office   helping her boss. Even though it seems like the least her boss could do is handle a few phone calls while she's gone. You know. Gone covering her boss' behind to a room full of angry clients.)

I'm single, footloose and fancy free so traveling is not an issue!
(She will spend a lot of time and money on phone calls arranging care for her animal companion who can manage on his own for a day or two, but since the short trip turned into a long trip the animal will need care and feeding. The arrangements for this are nothing shy of CIA tactical procedures. Dating? Ha! Try to arrange a date around a travel schedule which is completely unpredictable. She will get to hear the words, "Maybe you don't really have time for dating right now," from potentially really swell guys who actually want to meet her but think she's playing games or trying to be evasive or coy with her seemingly crazy work schedule.)

I get to accrue airline miles on my personal account!
(But when will she get to take an actual vacation? She's busy, real busy. And every time she thinks she's going to take a long weekend she ends up having to go somewhere for work, somewhere not on her list of weekend getaway destinations. And when she gets home she's tired and behind with home stuff, like laundry and vacuuming and you know, maybe now and then when she's got more than a few minutes to herself, family and friends and pets. Vacation? Dream on. Finding time for and affording a haircut would be like an island getaway for her.)

1:14 PM

Sunday, March 13, 2005  
Apparently there is some confusion as to what constitutes class. As in, "the dame's got a lotta class."

I'm not confused. Then again, maybe I am. Maybe I've been schooled incorrectly. Maybe I misunderstand the meaning of class. Maybe I'm old and outmoded and stuffy.

I'm not saying I have class. I have been known to breach my definition of class. I know when I'm doing it, aware that I'm doing it, and may even be doing it intentionally. I have my limits, there are lines I will not cross. But knowingly breaching one's definition of class is a classless act. I'm no better than anyone else in this regard. Sometimes. Most of the time I try to maintain at least a shred of dignity for myself and those around me.

But I have never aspired to have people look at me and describe me as classy looking.

Why? You might be wondering.

Because by my definition of class, a person who has true class is blends in with their surroundings. If I stick out to the point of looking like a "classy dame sitting at the bar" then I am overdressed for that particular bar. Accidental overdressing happens. It's excusable. But if I know I'm going to a bar frequented by blue collars, struggling artists/musicians/writers/anything, or those whose beverage of choice is brewed in Wisconsin, I don't go strolling in wearing professional/symphony/church with the parents garb. It will bring attention to myself like teased, permed hair, red vinyl boots and a mini skirt on ladies night. I'll look and feel out of place, be more prone to self consciousness, which puts other people ill at ease, too.

I went to the old hood after work last night. Very odd. Seems like I never lived there. Very, very strange feeling. I felt like a tourist. I met a friend at an old local. One of the staff greeted me with, "Slumming it with the little people tonight, eh Trill?"

I fumbled a "Slumming? No way! I miss you guys!" The bartender overheard this and came to my rescue with, "Trillian! Thank God you're here! We need you to class up the joint!"

I was embarrassed by all of this.

I'm still sensitive about the whole Gold Coast thing. I keep telling people I live "near North" instead of the proper real estate and zip code specific "Gold Coast." I'm more comfortable with the generic "near North" because I do not embody the usual characteristics invoked by the term "Gold Coast." Plus it just sounds snobby and showy.

I wonder how Marisol is doing out in Des Plaines. I hope she's accepting her ritzier digs better than I am mine.

Don't get me wrong, I like my new neighborhood. I truly do. But the perception of the people who live there, which now includes me, is not well accepted by a lot of people outside of the area. Especially people from the old 'hood. Yes. Just like Marisol. The unspoken words are: Social climber. Snob. Rich bitch.

An interesting point to note is that in my going on two months in the Gold Coast, I have met more people, encountered more nice, courteous, friendly people in passing than I ever did living in the old 'hood. The old 'hood which is billed as a blend of working class, artisans and immigrants. A regular Sesame Street of multicolored/furred harmony. Yeah right. No one in the old 'hood ever said good morning to me or even acknowledged my existence. I rode that swutting train every day, saw the same people on the platform every day, and never, not once except during Cubs Fever, did any of them ever acknowledge me or return my "g'morning" smile. Without exception everyone I see in passing on the streets or in the shops in my new neighborhood acknowledges me, usually before I get a chance to greet them first. The people in the old Sesame Street, gritty, "real" neighborhood are much snobbier in comparison. Okay, sure, a lot of people in the old 'hood didn't speak to me because they don't speak English. Still. There are immigrants in my new neighborhood, and they're bothering to learn the language of the country in which they have chosen to reside. I'll get a somewhat fragmented greeting which might take me a few seconds to decipher, but they're trying. They're saying hello and trying to do it in the official language of the country in which they are inhabiting. Now that's class.

Yeah, the slumming it and classing up the joint comments further aggravated a lot of issues already swirling and occupying too much space in my brain. Coupled with "everyone" talking about the new Billionaire report, it's been a quasi issue lately.

I realize by even mentioning any of this I am being a classless snob. I assure you, in real life I don't go around educating people about class. Correcting or pointing out the rude or classless behavior of others is rule #1 in the Big Book of Snobbery.* No one with true class would presume to correct the behavior of others.** I'm breaking my silence here because something must be done, someone must break the silence and speak out about the alarmingly prevalent misconstruence of the term class.

There's a huge difference between a person with class and a snob. They are, in fact, diametric opposites. A truly classy person does not brag about or show off their wealth or knowledge. If they are wealthy or exceedingly intelligent, you'd never know by their words. Speaking about money or knowledge, especially one's own, and the personal effects it affords, is rude. Period. (That goes ditto for asking a person where an item was bought, or, shudder, how much it cost. The former can be excused if in the right context and among close friends and relatives. The latter: Never. Got it? Good.) Class has nothing to do with personal financial wealth, education or intelligence. You cannot buy class. Even at Barney's. It's difficult to learn class, too. (Though I don't think it's exclusive to those born with innate class. I think it can be at least honed in anyone.) Poor, downtrodden, huddled mass-like people can have loads of class. Class is about manners, dignity, empathy and making other people feel comfortable.

The final straw broke the class camel's back last week. I'd heard the rumors. I didn't believe them. But then, as I clicked through the channels trying to find a weather report, I saw it. It happened. The rumors were indeed true. And the full horror was right there in front of me. Frozen in front of my television, unable to move, I stood there mouth agape as I watched Faye Dunaway critiquing a lesbian kiss scene by aspiring actresses. Faye I've Got a Functioning Brain Dunaway. Faye Chinatown-Network-Bonnie and Clyde-Dunaway (and yes, yes, Faye Towering Inferno-Mommie Dearest-Village of the Damned - Eyes of Laura Mars Dunaway (I actually like Laura Mars)) I wanted it to be a joke. I wanted it to be a Mad TV skit. But no. The truth is so much worse than fiction. Faye Dunaway. I know, I know, she's done some classless things, kissing and telling, beauty pageants. Still. She's, well, I mean, she's Faye Dunaway. Maybe she really needs the work, but there are product endorsements and indie movies. Why is she stooping to reality television, and a bad imitation of American Idol, at that? Why Faye, why? My new place is really small, but you can stay with me until you get back on your feet. You can have the bed, I'll sleep on the couch. There's a great roof deck and fresh flowers in the lobby. Please, just don't lower yourself, don't ruin your image of class and respect, at least by Hollywood standards. Please Faye, I'm begging you. Stop the insanity. You're no Paula Abdul. You were somebody. You are somebody.

This is a new low even for the WB, but an even lower low for class.

I've got to say this in hopes of reminding a few people of the basic differences between class and snobbery and money's role in all of this. I fear we're too far off course to go back, but maybe if we all try really hard we can at least try to turn this ship around.

Right. (deep breath) Here we go.

Do you have class? Are you a snob?

Points of reference:
Donald Trump has no class (or apparent taste) and appears to be a snob. Ghandi was loaded with class and not a snob.

Lady Macbeth: Social climbing, classless snob. Lady Guinivere: Class by trying to do the right thing for her country, victim of circumstance and timing.

Henry Higgins: Affected snob. Eliza Doolittle: Guttersnipe with class. (However, Rex Harrison and Audrey Hepburn both get my vote for off screen class acts not often seen in Hollywood types. Ummm, Faye, you might want to take a page from their books.)

Do you volunteer/donate time and/or money to charity?
No? No points for you.
Yes? Good for you. 10 points.
Do you do it quietly? 10 bonus points.
Or do you make a point of telling anyone who will listen about your charitable deeds? "It's not what you do when everyone's looking, but what you do when no one's around which matters." is a well worn phrase you might want to mull over. -10 points.

Do you give (not loan) your friends and family money when you know they need it but don't want to ask?
Yes? 10 points.
No? 0 points. Maybe you don't have spare cash to offer. That's fine. But you could offer to give them a spare train pass or a few Lean Cuisines growing ice in your freezer or a ride or the cat food your cat hated but theirs might love. If they're out of work and trying to find a job, there are tons of things they need, everyday stuff. New socks/tights, dry cleaning of their interview outfit, copying of their resumés, faxing or internet use. Don't make them ask, offer first. If you do give money, never, ever speak of it. Forget about it.

Speaking of money, don't. Do you ever talk about money?
No? 10 points.
Yes? 0 points. Speaking about money in general terms is okay. "Gosh, that train fare increase is high." "Wow, I got a great deal on soap at Mega Mart, here's a spare coupon if you want it." "Brown Bag's got a new lunch deal, you can get a decent lunch for under $5." Are totally acceptable. "Wow, my 401K did great last quarter!" "How much did that cost?" "My new shoes cost $594 dollars." "I can't have drinks with you tonight, I'm broke, the rent's due and my cat's sick." are not acceptable. (except in very close, close company, like that of your spouse, family or best friend)

Do you open doors, help people carry/manage things like strollers, wheelchairs, crutches, large packages, unwieldy grocery trollies?
Yes? 10 points are yours.
Do you do this as a natural reflex or do you have think for a minute and then say to yourself, okay, yes, it's the right thing to do? Do you do this with nothing but selfish motivation? (to meet a cute girl/guy, show off in front of your date/friends/parents, or to brag about it later?
Natural, unselfish motivated reflex: 10 bonus points.
Selfish motivated reasons: - 10 points.
Helping other people, even (and especially) complete strangers, regardless of how they look or who they are, is the right and classy thing to do. But it needs to come from a natural reflex/desire to just help another person. I know this seems like Boy/Girl Scouting 101, but after spending several months on crutches I learned how many (most) people are rude, inconsiderate, classless people in this regard. Many people are either annoyed by or afraid of less abled people.

And then there were the people who went way overboard in their efforts to help me. Usually when I didn't actually need help, and usually something which required little (or no) effort on their part, and always in front of a huge crowd of peers. Never, ever when I actually needed help were these people to be found. Especially if there was no one around to see their good deed. One person in my office made a big gushy to-do about feeling so horrible for me and wanting to help me any way possible. I'd be halfway to the copy room, he'd have seen my entire trek from desk to the half way mark without saying a thing, but the second someone else came around the corner, he'd rush over to me and say, "Trillian. I told you to ask me to help you!" all loud and showy. If no one else chanced our path, he wouldn't say a word and wouldn't offer to help. Another such person made a huge stink in front of a lot of people about offering to help me get around, drive me anywhere I needed. I only asked once, out of sheer desperation. The answer? "Gosh Trill, I can't drive you to the doctor next week, I've got my tanning session that day." A few days later when I mentioned a tale of a painful bus trip to the doctor to someone else, said tanning session person had the cheek and classlessness to butt in and say, "Oooh, Trillian, next time let me drive you. I told you I'd take you anywhere." This was a particularly classless move because it put the responsibility back on me to be the bigger person, not slate them and keep my mouth shut about their tanning session.

Do you whine, complain or make a big huge fuss to get your way?
No? Give yourself 10 points.
Yes? No points for you. And some advice. Grow up. Being a pain in the behind might get you your way, but think for a minute why. Not sure? It's because you're a loud, rude, inconsiderate pain in the rear end and people will do anything just to get you to shut up and go away. Especially business owners and managers. If you find this behavior is "the only way" to get the good table, last week's sale price on an item, or whatever it is you want, you might want to consider the old parable: You'll get more bees with honey. I'm not talking about allowing yourself to be a doormat. I'm talking about not being so obnoxious that people will do anything to get you to shut up and go away so that other customers are not annoyed or inconvenienced. Still can't relate? Have you ever been in a check out lane in a store, ready to purchase one item, cash in hand, but delayed because the person in front of you is insisting all twelve of their items are supposed to be on sale or they're returning 12 items without a receipt and are insisting to the store manager and the cashier and sales person that they are operating a bad business? If that person is you, you are a classless and annoying person. When this situation next arises, and if you know beyond a shadow of doubt the item is on sale (or whatever), let the people standing in line with cash in hand for one item go ahead of you. Then, calmly explain your points. If the answer is still no, then the answer is no. It's their business, they can run it any way they want. The best "revenge?" Don't shop there anymore.

The few and only exceptions to this are 11th and above phone calls with utility companies, internet providers and "customer service" agents, especially those based in third world countries 6,000 miles away who do not actually use the service you are complaining about and have no concept of why you are complaining. I'm not advocating raising your voice or calling them names. Experience, unfortunately, has taught me to get to the "next level" of command you have to make it known how irritated you are and the illogic in their ineffective "service."

Are you an "expert" and happy to share your expertise with everyone?
No? Give yourself 10 points.
Yes? No points and further study on the topic. Has anyone ever called you a know-it-all? Do people tend to grimace or roll their eyes when you are sharing your expertise? It's very possible you are butting in where you are not wanted. I know, I know, you're only trying to help. Much like me writing this post. I know. You just know lots and want to share it with everyone. It makes you feel good. It makes you feel superior. It fills emotional voids in your life. It feeds your ego. You know more than they do. "Ha ha" implied. Well. That's one great thing about blogs. People like you can prattle on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on about how much you know. And by posting it on the blog, you are not actually boring anyone to tears or offending anyone's intelligence or skill by talking down to them. If they read your blog, it's because they want to read it. They might even seek out your advice via a search engine. Keep it that way. Unless someone comes to you and says, "Hey, you know a lot about pre war German abstract expressionism, right? I was wondering about this painting I saw, maybe you could help me out by telling me everything you know about it and the entire expressionist movement." keep your mouth shut about it. Not everyone shares your enthusiasm. Not everyone wants your opinion. Some people like to do their own research. And for those of you who think you know everything about everything? You don't. You, and everyone else on this planet, are ignorant. Shut up and let someone else speak. Think of it this way: You can learn a lot when you listen to other people. Still don't get it? You probably never will. But. One other thing to consider: The more of your wisdom you share with the same people, the less value your opinion has to them. I know, that can seem like nonsense to someone like you. Trust me. It's inverse logic and sociology. You're smart, look it up, do some research.

If you're a one trick pony, a good trick, but one trick nonetheless, do not steer every conversation to your one and only trick. Sample conversation don't: "That new restaurant on Main is really great. I had lunch there today and it was good. I brought a few take out menus if you want to check it out."

"What kind of art do they have?"

"Um, art? I don't know, regular art I guess. I didn't really notice."

"I suppose they don't have any pre war German expressionistic influenced art. When I eat I like to be in a Kirchner frame of mind. Any of the Brücke group, really. I find the graphic and violent themes make an interesting back drop to the process of processing and consuming food."

There's a thin line between being helpful or interesting and being an obnoxious, boring braggart.

Do you kiss (or any intimate act) and tell?
No? Give yourself 10 points.
Yes? -20 points. Get a room for your mouth. If you absolutely have to tell someone about your latest pull or even kiss, for the love of Emily Post, keep your tales of titillation to a very close friend who actually cares about you and might, possibly, be interested in knowing about your latest adventures in Kama Sutra. No one else wants to know about it or should know about it. This is not just for the sake of your reputation. This is a case where your words have a direct effect on someone else. Discretion = Valor. Valor = Dignity. Dignity = Respect. Respect = Trust. Trust = Successful relationship. Do the math and keep quiet about your romantic conquests. Besides, keeping quiet and discreet about your romantic life adds an air of mystery which will come in handy when you hit a dry spell or that super hot date fizzles into a cold night in front of the telly. No one will be the wiser and you will maintain a shred of (at least) outward dignity.

Do you over or under tip?
Give yourself 10 points if you always tip 15% - 20%.

Tip more or less than 15% - 20%? No points for you. 15% - 20%. Is the rule. If you don't like it, don't go out to eat or drink, don't take a cab, don't get your hair done, don't use valet service, don't order lap dances.

Undertipping, except in very extreme and rare circumstances says: I do not care about you or your financial problems. I know the rules but I'm not playing that game. No one tips me for doing my job.

Okay. A slightly valid point. But you probably earn at least minimum wage.
Yes. It's a game. And I agree, going out is expensive. By the time you get through an average night on the town with taxi/valet, drinks and dinner you can easily spend $20 per person on tips. I know. It's a huge hunk of money for service people who "did nothing except bring food to the table/coat from a rack/car from a parking lot." But it's the accepted norm and many service people are paid less than minimum wage. Very few have health insurance. They do not have the basics most "regular" jobs provide. Play the tip game or stay home.

Overtipping happens one of two ways: Bad math skills or the desire to impress by flashing a lot of cash to send a "hey, I'm loaded" or "hey, I'm a nice, charitable person - see how much I tip? See? Look at all that money I left!" message. In the case of lap dances, a "hey, baby, I've got cash to spend and there's more where that came from if you know what I mean." In some cases that same lap dance message is sent to wait staff, coat check people, etc. Most of these people are not actually prostitutes for hire. Don't treat them as such.

If overtipping is the result of bad math skills, it will be obvious to everyone you are not an egotistical show-off by your theretofore dignified and classy behavior. Take 10% of the total bill. That's easy math. Even I can do it. 10% of $24.75 is $2.48 (I always round up). Now double that. Oooh. That's tricky math after a few drinks and without paper and pen. I know. No problem. Round up to the closest easiest math. $2.50. $2.50 + $2.50 = $5.00.

And yes, you really are supposed to leave a few dollars a day for the housekeeping staff in a hotel.

Do you own diamond anything?
No? Give yourself 10 points.
Yes? 0 points and plea for you to learn The Truth behind those shiny hunks of rock. That ain't class, baby, it's bling. Bling is typically not classy. Because bling is showy. Bling is saying, "look at me! Look at me! No really! I mean it! Look at me! Dammit! Look at me! I'm wearing shiny stuff!"  An engagement ring, smaller than 1 carat, or solitaire earrings or a necklace smaller than 1 carat can be tasteful, and yes, classy. If and only if they are smaller than 1 carat and set in a simple and minimal setting. If you're thinking, "Trillian, I really love diamonds and I'm not otherwise showy..." I would recommend a little research on the DeBeers family, the diamond mining trade and the human rights issues therein. If the image of Snoop Dogg doesn't convince you, maybe a little nagging at your social conscience will. ***

Do you own apparel with a name other than your own emblazoned on it?
No? Give yourself 10 points.
Yes? -5 points for each article of logo emblazoned clothing.
I know, I know. I'm one to talk, I like my fashion as much as the next girl. And I just love the Puma cat and Campy the Marshmallow rocks my world. However. Draw the line at being a walking billboard. This is actually more of a subhead of bling. We all like nice things, nice clothes, nice shoes, I mean, it's part of the reason we work jobs we hate. But splaying that expensive designer's name across your chest/arm/bum is a) not classy, b) not impressing anyone other than other people with designers' names splayed across a part of their body, and c) a very snobby thing to do. Why not just go up to complete strangers and say, "Hi. I paid more for my shirt than you paid for that heap you call a car. It's from (the designer's) Spring collection which is very exclusive and expensive. I'm telling you this because you obviously don't know anything about fashion. I'm prettier than you. I'm richer than you. I'm better than you in every way because I can afford to buy overpriced clothing and walk around advertising the brand. Yes. I allow the brand to use me. I pay them to use me. It feels good. I like it. Because I'm prettier than you and richer than you because I have this designer garment. See? There's the name of the designer, right there. Look at me. Look at me. Look at me. Just in case you don't realize I have class, you can tell I do by the designer name on my chest/bum."

Do you drop names?
No? 10 points. But be honest.
Yes? -10 points. Dropping names is not limited to "I had drinks with Quentin Tarantino at Dive." Dropping names, any name, is to assume and presume a lot about the person to whom you are speaking. You either assume they know who the person attached to the name you just dropped is, and presume they care. Or you assume they don't know the person attached to said dropped name, and presume you are better than them because you do and will go to great lengths to show off how much better you are because you can drop names. This goes for brands, restaurants, companies and jargon...and this is why I say be honest. Have you ever said, "I got some new Pumas at Fleet Feet!" or "We had cocktails at W." or "I'm interviewing with Giganticorp. They're an IPO on Hoover's hot list and they're offering me a position with stock options including an equity buyout." Okay. Know your audience. If you are speaking to a friend or relative and you know they understand that last sentence, no problem. If you're speaking to a friend who suggested or frequents W, or who shares your love of shoes or sneakers or Puma, then fine, go ahead, share the joy. But in general conversation, don't brag. Don't assume. Don't presume. Don't make other people feel inferior or out of the loop or stupid by throwing around names and jargon.

Are you a topper?
No? 10 points for you.
Yes? No points for you. You can get a life by working on your self esteem issues.
What's a topper? A person who one ups and tops every conversation point. You might say, "hey, the new iPod Shuffles are finally in. You know what? I think I'm going to finally get one."

Topper will say, "I wouldn't get a Shuffle. I got a 60 gig photo Pod last Fall. I have a friend at Apple. I got it a week before they were available in stores. The Shuffles are fine for little kids. But I need real power and storage."

Not only is this person a topper, they're a geek. (Hey, I love my Pod, too, I know. I'm just saying. Be careful.) If this is an isolated incident, chalk it up to enthusiasm for a particular item. However, a true topper will one up everything. It won't stop at the iPod. Toppers know no limits. No matter what you have, they have a better one and have had it longer. Buying a car? They will be the first to tell you how bad your choice of model is, and how much better their car is, and all the great cars they have owned in the past. Brown bagging your sandwich to work? They'll analyze, critique and condemn the contents of your lunch compared to the high nutrition and quality of their lunch. Break your ankle? They will have broken their femur, knee cap and both ankles skiing in Switzerland 10 years ago. That's right. A topper's work is never done. They are also prone to obsessive exaggeration and lying.

Do you have a pet/child named after a resort area/hotel, expensive brand of anything, or a "famous" last name?
No? 10 enthusiastic points to you.
Yes? No points for you. Do you live in an actual soap opera? Words of gentle caution: Naming your pet or child Aspen, Dunhill, Lexus, or Windsor does not give them or you instant class. Would you name your child or pet Jackson Hole? Yugo? Vlad? (I'm sure it's been done so please spare me the email telling me of these poor children/animals) No one, I repeat NO ONE is going to say, "Wow, her name is Hampton. She must be really classy with a name like that. I bet her parents have Summer home in the Hamptons. I don't even know her but I already know she's rich and classy because her name is Hampton." No one is going to think, "Ahhh, his name is Dubonnet. Obviously he is well bred and full of class." Just because your child is going to be saddled with the last name Finklesworthens is no reason to try class up the kid's name with some pretentious or noble sounding first name. Even if your great grandfather was the Arch Duke of Lower Boravia, naming your child Boravia or Hapsburg isn't going to instantly pave their way into royal society so that you and your family can reclaim what it rightfully yours.

Unfortunate but acceptable exceptions: Portia and Mercedes. If, and only if, the child was borne of the cultural heritage from whence those names are native.

Calling "Here Windsor, come on Windsor" to your dog in the park is not going to make people stop and look around for Prince William/Harry/Charles. I promise. It is not going to make anyone think you are in fact a member of the Windsor family. It may make a few wonder if you're from Windsor, Canada. Which you know, hey, is not all bad. It has a great casino and lots of strip clubs, both even more classy with the Canadian exchange rate.

Ditto adding La, L', De' D', Le, L' to any old regular name in an effort to make it sound high class. These are French articles meaning "the." What you are doing by naming your child LaRochelle is naming her The Rochelle. Which sounds like a flea bite motor court. Like Chinese fortune cookie fortunes with the "in bed" trick, translating the French article in front of a name always works and never fails to produce a name which sounds like a flea bite motor court with hourly rates. And why French? Why not Das Rochelle or Den Mark? 50 years ago the French had a good run with fashion design. France is the home of champagne. They've turned out a few good artists. They make a darned good cheese or two. But they are far from the last word on class. Have you actually been to France?

And please use caution when choosing cultural or literary names. Borrowing from obscure Welsh poetry or choosing little known Shakespeare characters does not grant instant intelligence, beauty or class to a child. Be prepared to spend a lifetime explaining the child's name, how to spell it and what drugs you were taking when you made the selection. Be prepared for a lot of therapy along with orthodontics when your child is in high school.

Possibly even worse is the "trend" for naming a child after the place in which it was conceived. Consider that this is prevalent with the has been boy banders and soccer players coupled with 18 year old girls community and perhaps you will realize this is not a classy thing to do. (The worst I've heard yet is a child, I kid you not, named Peninsula. I think you can guess what hotel her parents got down and freaky in the night she was conceived. They call her Penny. How charming. They never fail to explain why they named their daughter Peninsula. Equally charming.)

Do you wear perfume/cologne/aftershave/heavily scented bath and beauty products to work or places where you will be in close smelling range of others with whom you are not intimate? Like movie theaters, airplanes and schoolrooms?
No? Give yourself 10 points.
Yes? -10 points for you.
Okay, we all know this is a huge personal issue for me. But guess what? It's a huge personal issue for a lot of people. People rank it right up there with smoking as an offensive behavior. Yes. Really. Asthma's on the rise, and many perfumes "expensive" and "cheap" alike will send asthmatics into coughing fits. When I wrote about Creepy Perfume Guy, many people, many, many people, wrote telling me of dates and evenings gone horribly wrong because of perfume. Stinking up the joint, ruining complete strangers' night out at the theatre, or vacations due to being trapped next to a strong smelling copassenger on an airplane is not a class maneuver. I repeat: It is not about money. The most expensive perfumes are many times the most pure, meaning, directly derived from plants/flowers. Meaning, instead of wearing that flower blend which reminds you of Spring in Alsace, you might as well send an asthmatic out to roll in a field of ragweed. Save the scents for those special times with just you and someone special.

Story problem #1
You are at a business dinner. You are seated at a round table. There are a lot of plates and cutlery and glasses in front of you. You know the rules of etiquette about their uses and which ones are yours to use. You know the small plate on the left, the one the waiter just plunked a dinner roll on, is "your" bread plate. The person seated on your left, a colleague, commences buttering and eating the bread off your bread plate, leaving their bread (on their left) untouched.

Do you:
a) Give them a dirty look, a scowl and roll of eyes indicating, "sigh, again with the breach of etiquette Simpson? Really, will you never learn?"

b) Address the table with thinly veiled humor, "We're all going to have to shift our bread gears to the right" with a pointed and prolonged look at Simpson who is just about to bite into his bread.

c) Say nothing, do nothing except forgo bread, you're trying to cut back on carbs anyway, there's a full meal ahead of you, you don't need a piece of bread, the table is crowded, the last thing you'd do is call attention to your colleague's confusion over a bread plate, it would make you and consequently your company look bad and it's a stupid piece of bread, it doesn't matter.

a) = -30 points and a bitch slap to your conscience.
b) = -20 points and a copy of Emily Post as required cover to cover reading.
c) = 10 points.

Story problem #2:
The following two paragraphs describe the same events. Choose which paragraph sounds most like how you would describe a Sunday.

a) It was a freak warm March day. I rose early even though my new 800 thread count sheets were all but begging me to stay in them. I went up to the roof deck to do my pranayama in front of the panorama of the sunrise over Lake Michigan. I then read the Times and Journal which I have delivered to my door. I just finished Kristof and my Tazo Chai when the breeze off the Lake beckoned me through my shiny, sleek, smooth gliding thermopane windows. Feeling buoyed by a bout of Spring fever, I went to the bike room and retrieved the Panther, topped off the air in the tires using the complimentary air hose provided in my building and then rolled out for a lovely ride along the banks of Lake Michigan. I did a half century, with a break at 25 for a Perrier and veg classic rustico at All Sprouts. When I arrived home I was so re-energized I finally sorted my collection of rare and first edition books. I capped off the day with trip round to Masons with the MacPhersons for Sapphire and tonics.

b) It was a freak warm March day. I rose early and went up to the roof deck to greet the sunrise by doing some exercise on the deck. I then read the papers over a cup of tea while I enjoyed a nice breeze through the opened for the first time this year windows. Feeling buoyed by a bout of Spring fever, I took out the bike (boy is it great to have an air hose onsite) and then rolled out for a long ride. I haven't been on the bike in a while, so I broke up the ride with a lunch break at the halfway point. When I got home I finally started sorting the books I still hadn't unpacked. Later that night I met some friends for drinks.

If you chose paragraph a -10 points for you.
If you chose paragraph b 10 points for you.

-100 - 0 - You are what's wrong with society. You probably work in network television or real estate. There's little hope for your class salvation. You probably aren't reading this because you think you ooze class and don't need to read some stupid blog to learn about class. If you are reading this, hi and welcome to my blog you classless, rude, obnoxious cad. Stick around, everyone's welcome here. This should be interesting for all of us.
0 - 20 - You've got issues. Work on them. I'll help if you want but some serious self introspection and a little counseling are probably what you need to get in the right frame of mind.
30 - 50 - Okay. Look. I'm not calling you a cad. But. Only because I'm trying to set a good example. Maybe you haven't had the opportunities other people have. Maybe you can grow and learn. Maybe you're a jerk. If you cared enough to read this, you care enough to want to at least make a good impression on someone. So try. Please. Try.
60 - 70 - You push your behavior to the limit, and then redeem yourself with a truly classy deed or word. If this is just how you are, 40% class, 60% rude or snob, well, I mean, you're not ALL bad. If pushing limits is a game you play, grow up and get over yourself.
80 - 100 - Hey! You're normal! If it weren't for a few items in your wardrobe and your need to share your knowledge with anyone who will listen you'd be a full class act. Why not put those garments to good use at a charity shop? Why not share your knowledge with people who could really benefit, like children or disabled people? Big Brothers/Big Sisters desperately needs volunteers to spend time with children who need a good role model who really cares about them and their future. (Trust me, this may be the single most rewarding thing you ever do.)
110 - 120 - Maybe you just haven't learned all the rules yet. Work on it, ask yourself a few questions before speaking or acting, remember the Golden Rule and you'll be oozing class in no time.
130 - 140 - Good job. You know the rules, but sometimes you break them. You're near the head of class. You don't want to be at the head anyway, because you don't want to be teacher's pet.
150 - 160 - You're a class act. Change your name to Mehatma. Seriously. You've earned it.

Do you see a trend emerging here?
Yes? Do you get that class is about having manners, being a polite, selfless and kind member of society and not stooping to rude, stupid or showy behaviors for attention or money? Good. I'm glad. You're a class act. I thought so.

*Also includes pointing out and correcting the grammar, "etiquette" and matters of personal taste of others.

**Notable exceptions: Emily Post, Miss Manners, your grade 5 grammar teacher.

*** A word or two on Snoop Dogg. Snoop, you know I love you. But you are a good point of reference as the King of Bling. I know, it's your thing. You're the original and you do it well. I'm not saying you have no class. I know you quietly do loads of charity work letting the charities take center stage instead of yourself. Mr. Elton John, a mere bling rookie in your shadow, could take a page from your Book of Class.

3:07 PM

 
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