The Art of Giving

I have been pretty open about not really believing in Karma, feeling it is mostly a scare tactic and have grappled with my own contribution to the universe after many a martini. Last week I had a situation that reaffirmed many of the existential life crises.

After spending the last few weeks traveling (#humblebrag) my Ashkenazi Jew fro had hit maximum brillo pad capacity. Being in desperate need of a deep hydration hair mask, I saddled up my pooch in his illegal service dog vest and walked to my local Rite Aid to load up on some vodka and argan oil treatments. As I approached the entrance I saw a family of 4 standing with a sign that read “Homeless with 2 babies to feed. Anything helps, God Bless”. This isn’t going to come out right but here I go. I avoid homeless people like the plague. Sticks are free, find a tin and make some fucking music. Provide a service for compensation. Begging seems so half assed. This is America.

This homeless mother of 2 infants caught me in a very vulnerable state. “Sorry I don’t have any cash.” As I walked into Rite Aid with my hypoallergenic pup, one of her small children locked eyes with me and was giving me Sara McLachlan beaten puppy eyes. All the sudden I started hearing the familiar “In the arms of the angel… Fly away from here.” Fuck.

I was basically already in the clear, strolling right past them into the fluorescent lighting when I had a very out of character heart pang and decided I was due for a good deed. I begrudgingly turned around, went up to the mother and told her I didn’t have cash but would be happy to buy her some groceries. In my head, I though condoms would be the smart purchase personally. As I led her into the store she immediately grabbed a shopping cart. I was hoping she grabbed it as a possible guesthouse and not to fill with goods on my dime.

I suggested we go to the baby supply aisle because I am a philanthropist and immediately this bitch starting throwing shit in the cart like it was the fucking Supermarket Sweep. I’m not talking generic brand diapers and wet wipes… this poverty stricken asshole was hawking Jessica Alba locally sourced organic burlap diapers and aloe vera infused ass wipes. Um no. I suggested we gravitate towards thing with a yellow sticker but she clearly wasn’t listening. Soon the cart was overflowing with 70lb containers of organic formula, paraben free bottles, even some fucking toys and coloring books.

If I were alone I would have put the kibosh on this immediately. But other shoppers were giving me such nods of approval, one person even offered me a warm shoulder grab and said he was honored to witness such selflessness. That was a first. I considered asking him if he wanted to go halfsies on the final bill but contained the urge.

My attempt at a good deed was now making me resentful. I was gritting my teeth and murmuring things under my breath like “Want to go to the fucking Ivy after this? Do your babies like crab cakes? Perhaps a fresh orchid for your tent?” I grabbed my $38 hair mask feeling less guilty than I had a mere 16 minutes ago and got in line with my new sponsored family. Solely because there were like 6 other people in line I decided this was my mitzvah for the decade and I needed to suck it up and be gracious. Although every time I saw the woman peruse through the bins in the line I gave her wrist a quick slap.

Finally, I was at the register. The cashier started to ring up everything and I looked around at the Rite Aid staff and fellow shoppers and gave them all a nonchalant shrug that said “Hey! I do what I can. Humanitarian by day, good time gal by night. It’s no biggie.” For 32 seconds I was Mother Teresa. I considered buying a pastel sweater set, organizing a can drive and eliminating the word “cunt” from my lexicon… giving back felt so right. “Alright miss, your total is $463.28.”

It was over as soon as it begun. No fucking way. This was a defining life moment. I took a second to gather my thoughts, take a deep breath and figure out how to navigate this situation. Should I hand my card over graciously or am I going to shatter my short-lived image of grace and humanity?

“Oh fuck no. Can you give us a quick second?” I asked the cashier. I pulled the homeless woman aside and explained to her that I too would be homeless if I had to pay for all of these goods. I know found myself bartering with her item by item. “Do you really need this economy sized formula? Can you still produce milk from the tit? I hear it’s better for brain development and then maybe one of your sons can be a brain surgeon and get you a condo in the valley. Also rattles are a luxury item. Void please.”

After we had the store manager void 7 items, I then made the executive decision we needed to exchange our remaining goods for the generic brand which resulted in 5 very embarrassing PA announcements “Manager to register 3, we need to exchange the Honest Company diaper rash cream for the Rite Aid brand equivalent.” This homeless woman was NOT happy about her Supermarket Sweep going generic and had the nerve to tell me that if I didn’t need my $40 hair mask, her children could have new toys.

After 28 minutes of checkout drama, I was able to get my charity bill down to $120 and left Rite Aid with my head held low and truly bitter towards the whole experience. The woman hugged me, blessed me and I was on my merry way. I decided to grab a reflective iced tea at Starbucks and call my mom to brag about what a giver she had raised.

When I walked outside I saw my new rescue family standing on the street with the cart full of merchandise and imagined they were headed to the freeway underpass and got the same familiar heart pang that got me into this whole mess. A real full circle moment.

Until a brand new Honda mini van pulled up curbside, trunk popped (automatic) and her husband started loading all the shit I just bought into their car. My jaw dropped and rage filled my body. The doors slid open (luxury) and this “homeless” hooker started to buckle her kids in their seemingly non pre-owned car seats. I had to get closer.

As I approached the van I noticed Despicable Me playing in the fucking headrest TVs. Yes I said it, HEADREST TVS. What the fuck? They sped away presumably to their Bel Air estate before I could confront her and I sat their feeling helpless and taken advantage of. For my own state of well being I have convinced myself they LIVE in that car hence the leather interiors and built in entertainment system. God, I hope they live in that car… Is that awful? Nope.

Anne Frank once said, “No one has ever become poor from giving.” No offense to Anne, but she didn’t get out much. The moral of this long winded and sure to be polarizing story is to never let someone shame your hair product selections, a small act of kindness is worth more than the grandest intention and always carry cash.


Bitchy Words of Wisdom

Okay so I am done pimping my t-shirts. HA – not even close. My newsfeed is going to make you want to kill yourself with the shameless self-promotion and I don’t give two fucks. Im werkin for a birkin bitches. (Ehem you can purchase shirts here.)

Now that that ‘s all out of the way, I have been involved in 3 incidents today all before the brisk hour of 9am that gives me very unsettled foreshadowing into how the rest of my weekend looks. First I compared my love with my dog Leo to a real “Rita and Tom” type of love to my neighbor. I won’t even go into how weird that is. Then I went totally ape shit on a pedestrian who was literally moving at a glacial pace across the crosswalk and yelled “ARE YOU PHYSICALLY IMPAIRED, FUCKING WALK. SOME OF US HAVE JOBS TO GET TO.” Not nice. I will repent for this next Yom Kippur. Then, this happened…

Haute Mess Lesson – Be cautious when making rape jokes. Anyone who says this is a non-informative blog clearly is not a faithful reader. Listen, I get it rape jokes are “never funny”. That is only true if you are actually a rapist or Oprah. Too much? Sorry. Whilst in my office elevator I always try to make small talk with other office building patrons because let’s face it – nothing is more awkward then an elevator ride. I have had multiple offenses during my elevator rides. Last week my not so trusty iPhone got rambled in my purse and started playing “Dancing Queen” sung by Meryl Streep circa 2009’s Mamma Mia adaption (which was fabulous). Being in an elevator with a blasian (a blonde Asian – basically a modern day unicorn)and a man in a polyester suit who probably thinks Mamma Mia is a chain Italian food restaurant in Riverside is not ideal to begin with. My purse is like a black hole so for the longest 26 seconds of my life “Dancing Queen” played at full volume while Blasian and 56 year old accountant pretended not to notice and stared aimlessly at the floor buttons waiting to get the fuck out of the elevator carriage. “You gotta love ABBA right?” Silence. Needless to say, my elevator reputation is not fabulous. Back to rape (sorry I can get SO side tracked). This morning I picked up my usual Friday Pop tart (frosted strawberry – obvi) and headed into the silent elevator. It’s so fucking weird NOBODY talks, not even a friendly hi hello, weather commentary, NOTHING. Happy to break the silence my phone rang. My best friend called me and told me she was going for a jog (ew) and needed to be on the phone with someone because she saw a big white van parked on her street with no windows and a creepy man inside.

To paint a picture, the elevator was filled with about 4 young and old professionals in suits and then there is me in rhinestoned flats, leather pants and a shirt that says HAUTE SHIT (plug) all listening to the following one sided conversation.

 “OMG – ew. That’s a total rape van. Does it have windows with curtains or no windows at all?”

“Walk with a purpose. Pretend you’re on the phone with your martial arts instructor. Actually maybe don’t. That may turn him on. I heard rapists get off on the fight. Those fuckers love the struggle”

“Well if he does lure you into his rape cave, just act like you are super into him and maybe he will let you go?”

“ Okay well call me if you end up getting raped, you could definitely get on a talk show if you did and you could wear one of my Haute Mess shirts cause that would be great publicity for me. I could lie and say we would donate 50% of the sales to some women’s rape counseling charity but really we could just use the money and go to Bali or something. Love you!”


 Clearly I need to start being more self-aware – especially in public. If you could see the look on these people’s faces you would understand how badly I wanted to shank myself. Oops. The eye rolls, disgusted throat clearing and just full on death glares were in full force and all I could do was wait patiently until I reached the 9th floor trying to regain some form of social decency in the last 5 seconds of my trip. I am usually painfully unaware of how inappropriate I can be but this may have pushed things too far. As I exited the elevator I gave a nervous “Bye!” to the remaining 2 people, which is even more awkward because the only words/ pleasantries exchanged during the entire ride were my thought provoking rape philosophies.