You can’t effortlessly scale the heights of culture if you aren’t tapped as deeply into the latest wave of the pop zeitgeist as Jennifer Blowdryer, who dispenses wisdom and advice to those in need of hipster points. If you or a ‘friend’ or are in such need, drop an electronic note of desperation to and we’ll make sure she gets it. Who knows -- she may even answer your plea in the next edition of…

Jennifer Blowdryer: Agony Aunt to the Would-be Trendy

I just turned 42, which means I've been trendy well over half my life -- since the age of 16, when I started to feel punk rock. Actually, since I was named Jennifer well before everybody else, I've been trendy as hell since birth. I thought I was a witch in 3rd grade, socially ostracized, bad at gym - I had all the makings of a lifetime artistic type early on.

After my punk band, The Blowdryers, and before starting the band White Trash Debutantes, I wrote a book called Modern English, a photo-illustrated slang dictionary. In 1985 I moved to NYC, where I started to run anarchic burlesque Smut Fests in 1988, at a lapdancing parlor. The sex worker/performance artist as starlet, and the attendant flourishing of neo-burlesque, were phenomena I unknowingly predicted by a decade.

I have these organic trend antenna, which work even when I spend years in bed, leaving the house only at midnight. Just a few months ago I started playing my Buzzcocks tape constantly, only to pop out to the Bowery Poetry Club and hear Lucky Dave playing the very same album. Now I learn the Buzzcocks have a great new CD, and are about to tour. Not to mention “Jew Cool,” recently on the cover of Time Out, and predicted by me in this very magazine, if not at my Bat Mitzvah. I could go on, and I think I will. So here's some of my Good Advice to would-be trendy young people of all ages:

If you're getting evicted, do nothing for 24 hours. That's Vlad Pogorelov's secret tip, from me to you. When I'm getting evicted, I dress casually for my date with Housing Court, and whine to the management company. You cannot fight with people who don't mean well; they will fight back meaner, longer, and harder. Whining delays everything -- it can buy you that crucial minute. A street fighter once told me a good trick is to say "OWWW" really early in the fight, then they'll think you're already hurt bad and might go lighter on you. A friend suggests saying you're Billy Idol's drummer. Hard to disprove.

If a lover starts putting you down, get away. If you are a girl in Manhattan, you will not get my sympathetic ear, because there are very few straight men/butch dykes to go around and it is very easy to get a report on their relationship/one night stand behavior - this one hooks you in and then criticizes your appearance, that one treated Gabby shabbily, etc. This leads to my next topic:

I am in favor of making your life an open book. If everybody knows you are considering going out with BLANK, they can give you the dirt on this not so mysterious individual. The only other option is to misstep and suffer silently. If everybody knows you just smoked crack, they will excuse you from the consequences of your behavior - we're all supposed to be understanding now. But you have to tell us first to give us a chance to understand what you’ve been through. When information becomes a weapon, as it is on the East Coast and perhaps Japan, normal social behavior is no longer appropriate. The best reaction is to form a noise band and just scream and scream - see Sick of It All, Masona, the Boredoms. I mean it, go see them.

The minute you start to care what a group of other aspiring artists think of you, it is all over. You are trapped. That group is probably not bigger than 25 people, max, and you have no freedom now, because you just gave it to them. So what if there is one fabulous girl at every event, doing things you might like to do. So what. Why, I bet that all through history there has to be one fabulouser person at any art event, or it is not even an event. To resent them is the purest folly. When that group of 25, or any individual in that group, starts to give you shade, just remember that life is not that unfair - their shade is not bigger than reality. If you write an amusing book, paint a comely painting, perform in a way that is not a total snore, rewards will come - chuckles, an exhibit in some cafe in Burlingame, future attendees. If you are young, it will all seem to matter so very much, but take it from me, Jennifer Blowdryer, it does not. Do you want me to come over right now and tell you that? Because I will. I can think of no better use of my time.

If you or a ‘friend’ are scared that Jennifer Blowdryer might just come around to your neat, cosy apartment and tell you how little it all matters, but want to ask her a question nevertheless, please get in touch at and we’ll make sure she gets it.

Jennifer Blowdryer has written three books: Modern English: A Trendy Slang Dictionary, The Laziest Secretary In The World, an illustrated novel, and White Trash Debutante, an autobiography. She does a lot of spoken word, attended The Graduate Writing Program at Columbia, and has taught Satire at Marymount Manhattan College. Currently she writes a column for NY Press.
Image: Mica Scalin

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From previous issues:

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