Hello friends! I’m back in the Internet flesh. How I’ve missed your faces.
I just read a hilariously true article on Jezebel (natch) entitled “Why I Hate ‘Recessionista’ Lifestyle Pieces” that I need to share. We’re all in a financial rut whether we were handed a pink slip or have had to scale back our weekly expenses or are apologizing profusely to our landlord for another late rent payment; decidedly we’re in this thing together. Comforting pieces from various blogs arise and glossies come out with cheap ways to stay chic or affordable ways to dine out. My mom has made it a hobby to go over my budget. :le sigh: Sure, it’s a nice try and some of them are even convincing and helpful, but then there are those of the totally obscene nature.
Take Elle and writer Laura Hollinger for instance. I normally love my Elle so I’m pretty bummed by their choice here.
Frugalista…Recession Diva…”Broke is the new black”…it’s all same ridiculous termonology created by those hardly effected by the recession to try and fluff over the damage done to our wallets – and our minds. People, hear me: I’m not a trend. I’m $#)(^ing BROKE. Trying to make an empty wallet seem cute is like making dogs dress like humans. It’s tacky. It’s pointless. And it’s dumber than a pile of gold plated spend-me bricks.
Since I’ve been job hunting for the better part of a year thanks to losing my gig back in October, I’ve freelanced, temped and done what I had to survive. Living with parents and couch hopping is not chic. Writing a check that you know damn well will bounce is not flattering. Feeling the vom rise in your throat while you watch the dollars tick away while tanking up is not healthy. And all of this is made worse by some wealthy woman whining over having to cut her trip to Vail in half. This is a lifestyle driven by necessity; it’s not a trend.
But what I love most about Peterson’s piece in response to Laura Hollinger’s recessionista dribble in Elle (entitled “My Year of Living Frugally”) is that she’s truly one of us. There’s no faux pretense or apology; she’s up front about her squabbles and sad trips to Safeway. She’s real and we love her for it.
Now, this is not a simple case of sour grapes on my part. After all, if Hollinger has the money to play, it’s her life. But I am really confused at why so many women fueling these trend pieces are creaming themselves over pretend frugality?
Especially when they don’t have to?
Being financially savvy as a woman is an important and powerful thing. Understanding money, making it work to your advantage, and not being afraid of its possibilities are common themes that most people struggle with through the course of their lives.
But, if you are one of the lucky ones who managed to get through this recession with only minor tweaks to your lifestyle, then why are you doing a part-time game of make believe about coming hard times?
What really makes me believe in Peterson is the fact that I can laugh out loud – a healthy, hearty laugh – about her groveling to her landlord and her “broke ass trip to Safeway” because I’m right there with her. I’ve spent the last $50 on an interview dress so that I didn’t roll up to the 53rd floor of McGraw-Hill looking like one of the Lost Boys. So much for lunch that week.
“I crossed my fingers and promised T-mobile another $100 on Friday, knowing damn well my next payment wouldn’t drop for a couple of weeks…“
I totally get why everyone under the publishing sun is writing sordid tales of recessionista non-fiction. Shit is rough out there. While Hollinger wrote about investing $800 in “lifetime” pieces for her wardrobe, I hemmed and hawed over buying $5 Tres Emme shampoo last week at Walmart. No matter who is saying what and how they’re saying it, you have to laugh. Let it out. Catch and release. And pray to the recession Gods above that we climb out of this hell hole soon because Lordisa knows we’re all tired of lying to T-Mobile. Broke is far from being sexy, but finding humor in our financial woes sure as hell helps us through, doesn’t it?