From the monthly archives: April 2012

 

Just when you think you’ve got Tiffany & Co’s Table Manners for Teenagers committed deep to the vault of your mind, you get a thumped on the head by your sushi chef. For those who don’t know, sushi bars are like water along Ventura Boulevard, as common as a traffic light. If you live in L.A., chances are you frequent a few.

My husband and I were recently eating at our favorite spot in the San Fernando Valley, a place where we always sit at the bar and know all the chefs by name. To say we’re connoisseurs would be overstating it, but suffice to say, we know the difference between sashimi and sushi. After sitting, we removed the wooden chopsticks from the paper sleeve, separated them and proceeded to scrape the splinters by rubbing the sticks together. Just then, our sushi chef, one who we’ve always received good nature from and truth in choosing the best fish, leaned over the bar and whispered, as if imparting expected etiquette to children in a house of worship. He told us that the particular act of tapping or rolling the sticks together is considered unrefined. At the best places, it can be deemed insulting, as the superior restaurants only use quality chopsticks. “Because you are high class people,” he said, nodding and smiling.

How long had we been doing this? Well, I don’t know, forever, maybe. We were the vulgar Americans in our own backyard, all proud of ourselves that we’d discovered the joys of mint leaf under Halibit Fin. Paint me mortified.

Thanks, Guro (or however he spells it — I’m sure I’ve typed an incredibly obscene Japanese word instead of his actual name), for caring enough to share. Consider us enlightened.

Pam Alster, former stand-up comedienne, Lifetime TV writer & suburban mom brings a decade of living on the dark side to light in her forthcoming debut novel Robin’s Blue. www.pamalster.com

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I was at a kid’s party and Teenage Dream came on the Sirius XM pop station. Surveying the room, the seven years olds were singing let you put your hands on me in my skin-tight jeans as free and easy as the Spongebob Squarepants theme. One of the mom’s was outraged by the overt sexual nature of the lyrics. “This music is entirely inappropriate,” she said, her face contorted with judgment, as if the kids not only understood the machinations of baby-making and the implications of pubescent lust, they were colluding with Katy Perry’s fantasy to have the same happen to them.

Have no fear all you terrified moms out there who are trying to dissuade your children from becoming prematurely worldly, your child has no idea the conotation of those words, seemingly blurted all over the airwaves. It’s just a tune.

Think back to the songs you were bopping to when you were eight, even twelve –seriously, listen to the lyrics on the old school or classic rock stations, you’ll be OMG! That’s what he was saying? What a perv. I’m just now getting what Robert Plant was grinding about and it’s been forty years on loop. And what of the urbane themes — Michael Jackson or Prince anyone? My point is, put a beat to it and the truth of their poetry is lost on the general populace.

Rest assure, you’re kids will figure “it” all out in the same time you did, when they’re on the other side of paying a mortgage. In the meantime, as we say in the writer’s room, don’t hang a lantern on it. There’s enough to torment yourself with: running with scissors or setting the house on fire to start. If you’re visibly shocked over a Maroon 5 ditty, they will only demand an explanation. I can already picture their glazed over faces as you try to explain yourself out of that one.

Pam Alster, former stand-up comedienne, Lifetime TV writer & suburban mom brings a decade of living on the dark side to light in her forthcoming debut novel Robin’s Blue. www.pamalster.com

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I can’t tell you how many times a week I say did you go to the bathroom? before I leave the house with my child. Not because my daughter is incapable of monitoring her bodiliy functions, but because public restrooms are, in general, disgusting. So much, in fact, that I’m shocked when I come across one where there’s an unclogged seat, actual toilet tissue, and the sink doesn’t look like I’d just skirted a plumbing accident. I’m extra floored when paper towels are available instead of the miserable short-circuiting hand-dryer — of course, the updated version of that being the Dyson hurricane blower that’s enough to rip the rings off fingers — neither, in reality, able to perform the act of drying.

The thing that literally bugs the crap out of me, pun not intended, is the perpetual ladies room line. I could be almost anywhere — where I hear crickets from the silence — and end up waiting for a stall. Architects, contractors, our society have not quite figured out that more women go to the bathroom on average, more times than men. Come on. I want that study, please!! But it’s not rocket science people, is it?

While I’m at it, I’d like to instruct the general misinformed on the correct use of the “handicap” stall. To those who think the seat is only for someone in a wheelchair: it’s not a parking space. Personally, I refuse to leave that slot open when I need to pee on the off-chance someone with a scooter might arrive. As far as I’m concerned, “whoever” can schedule her potty visit like the rest of the adult world. Get in the queue like everyone else ladies! It’s maddening, when after waiting an eternity, you realize an idiot at the front of the long line has taken it upon herself not to do the due diligence to check if there’s a pair of feet under each door, holding up the works for the rest. Believe me, when the frustrated crowd figures it out with the “courtroom murmer” of is anyone even in there, the collective rage is palpable.

And, lastly, the hipsters who came up with the brilliant design idea of coed washrooms need to have their heads examined. Really, is this a glimpse into our dystopian future or merely a flimsy attempt to save space? Frankly, I don’t appreciate having to share the primp zone with some other girl’s date at the communial sink. Not to mention inevitable emergencies –it shouldn’t take much to stretch your imagination — menstrual cycles, IBS, men’s sloppy aim. Still think it’s a hot trend? Anyone? Seriously. Anyone? I didn’t think so.

Pam Alster, former stand-up comedienne, Lifetime TV writer & suburban mom brings a decade of living on the dark side to light in her forthcoming debut novel Robin’s Blue. www.pamalster.com

 

 

 

 

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