How To Be Poor In Manhattan
Go out on Friday night. Hunt down $2 beers because you love beer and you love your friends and you love bars, but you’re too broke to really “go out.” From behind your $5 street shades, sneer at people behind the glass of Momofuku and STK, because being snooty about being poor is the only way to be about it. Better yet, stay out of the Meatpacking entirely. Unless you want to hold a vigil at the McQueen store, not because his clothes cost a lot of money, but because he was a fucking genius. Smile at the doorman, then walk through the store and run your fingers along all the fabrics. Allow your eyes to well, but do not fucking cry. Don’t stop to look at pricetags. Leave.
Do not “pop” into any stores in Soho, on Fifth Ave, or the LES for that matter to buy anything. Forget what it feels like to shop on an even semi-regular basis, except for the sale section at Urban Outfitters. Forget why you ever shopped so much in the first place. Allow your heart to pound fast when you find a David Bowie crop-top on sale for $10. Credit a $50 pair of glittery gold Tom’s to your card, feel bad about it. Wear your new Tom’s in the rain and feel awesome about it. Debate for a full hour whether to buy a vintage leather motorcycle jacket for $175. Buy it. Don’t eat real dinner for a week (or more). Wear your badass jacket every night for three months, even when it’s really too warm.
Go to Le Bain on a Tuesday night by yourself. Smile at the friendly gay doorman, and say the name of the person you “know” whose party you are there for. Do not tell anyone you don’t know her, that you only follow her on Twitter and she follows you back. Do not tell anyone you walked in with $11 in your pocket. Order a beer and throw up a prayer that it won’t cost more than $11 (with tip). Sigh invisibly when it costs $8, $9 with tip. Allow your mouth to drop open when you overhear the bartender charge someone $20 for a gin and tonic. Turn to your equally poor friends and tell them you nearly “vomited in your mouth” when you heard that. Laugh with them. Commiserate in your poorness, on the roof of the fucking Standard. You are living the life.
Tell them a story about the cunt manning the list downstairs, how you heard her talk down to a man dressed like a punk. Motion to yourself, in your David Bowie crop-top and vintage denim cutoffs and ripped fishnets, as if to say, that man was like me, I am like him. Tell your friends that if the door cunt had spoken to you that way, you would have clocked her and probably ended up in jail, because your sense of value comes not from your wallet – or, rather, the rubber band you use to tether your money to your metro card – but from how fucking amazing you are as a human being. And anyone who implies otherwise is so wrong that they deserve to feel concrete pressed against their face. You know, as a reminder of where the ground is.
Walk amongst all the beautiful people, witness a wasted Lance Bass making out with his boyfriend. Wonder what it would be like to never think about money, to spend all of it on clothes and shoes and makeup and $20 gin and tonics. To care more about how you appear to other people than how you appear to yourself. Be thankful for not being one of those people. Text your BFF, OMG this party is insanoballs, who am I? Feel slightly guilty for enjoying this display of Shallow. Thoroughly enjoy the smart conversations you are having with your new friends. Sweat. Get bumped into repeatedly. Decide to leave. Go to your favorite dive bar on the LES, listen to Kiss, drink a $2 Budweiser, say a prayer.
Count your blessings.
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