I don’t read a lot of blogs, I admit. But when I do venture out into the interwebs, it seems like there are a lot of people trying to give you instructions: Here’s how you make a paper hat! Here’s how you make dinner! Here’s how to live your life in New York/Boston/Los Angeles/insert-your-city-here so you can be AWESOME.
I wish I could give you a tutorial, or post a vlog (what the hell is a “vlog”? The short form of “Vagina Monologues”?) because it seems that’s what all the cool kids are doing. Instead, the best I can do is let my life serve as a horrible warning to you. Or maybe tell you how to fake it-till-you-think-you-might-make-it.
By which I mean: How to look like you have your shit together in five easy, nonsequential steps.
Step 1: Babies & Chickens: You will soon come to notice, if you haven’t already, that people who have their shit together have a) ceramic livestock in their kitchens, and b) pictures of other people’s adorable children on their refrigerators. Not their OWN children (if they have them), because that’s too…obvious. If you really have your shit together, you’ve got pictures of OTHER kids up, because you have time to curate your tableau.
I am not sure why I associate French country decor with having it together. But I do. So if you don’t have a ceramic rooster in your kitchen — go immediately to the nearest Pottery Barn and purchase one. And start sifting through your mail and picking out the baby announcements, instead of trashing them.
I, for one, have a hideous, white ceramic rooster by my sink. And a handful of baby announcements on my fridge. The announcements are neverending these days. But when there is a dry spell, I just cut pictures of adorable children out of magazines, stick them up with a magnet, and pretend that I know their parents.
But the chicken and the babies seem to add to the illusion of having it together. Don’t know why.
Step 2: Flowers: I love fresh flowers. $12 at the bodega across the street makes a huge difference in my house. I also now have fresh flowers on a rotating delivery schedule. The trick here is to exert the least amount of energy necessary for the greatest reward — i.e., read a few back-issues of Martha Stewart Living on floral arranging, and/or buy a few nice-ish, cheap vases.
Let’s be honest, though. You can leave them on the table still wrapped up, and it gives the illusion that you know what you are doing — IN LIFE — because you had the forethought to buy flowers before company.
Step 3: Toothbrushes: People will come to your house/apartment/place of dwelling. They will drink too much/be too tired to drive/get sick/live in Brooklyn. Nothing says “I have my shit together” like being able to offer your drunk friend a toothbrush, so she doesn’t wake up feeling like she’s got horrid little sweaters on her teeth.
Save the ones you get for free at the dentist. Use a coupon at Rainbow, or Duane Reade, or some store that is not on the Upper East Side (of which I am ignorant because I never leave the Upper East Side). This one is obvious. You should already have spare toothbrushes, as a household rule.
Step 4: Servingware: Doesn’t matter if you need it, or you know how to use it. But when someone says, “Hey, weird question, do you happen to know anyone who has a soup tureen?” — and YOU are the owner of a soup tureen — it gives the automatic illusion of wisdom and worldliness that non-owners of soup tureens simply do not possess.
You may have spent the last six weeks in your pajamas, eating Flaming Cheetos and watching Teen Mom reruns while you wait on the world to change…but being the owner of a soup tureen is an automatic win.
Step 5: No Comment: The real trick to making it look like you have your shit together is to neither confirm, nor deny, whether your shit is actually together. Those couples proclaiming on Facebook their love and joy about their perfect marriages? Chances are they are terrified of the lives they are living and of their partner. The people who feel the need to remind you how awesomely put together they are? Likely to be the ones borrowing your soup tureen.
If you follow this plan, and get yourself a ceramic chicken, some vases, a few toothbrushes, a nice serving platter, and you keep your mouth shut…you just might look like you’re doing it right. Whatever “it” is. And then people will ask you How is it that you have your shit together so well?
And then you can tell them that it’s all in the ceramic chicken.