The Trendiest Guy in New York City
I slept with 30 pillows, wore my hair in a “man bun,” and waxed my pubic hair, all thanks to New York Times trend stories.
"No, no, it's all to cock!"
"It's. All. To. Cock!" I said again, gesturing emphatically.
"I don't get it," she said.
My friend Dan came downstairs, looking particularly pleased with himself. "Well, you're a regular Jack the Lad," I informed him.
"You're no Joe Soap, sir. You're Jack the Lad!"
Dan paused. “Greaat …” he said.
"Numpty," I said under my breath. “What’s a numpty?” my wife asked. “That’s exactly the sort of thing a numpty woud say,” I snapped.
Later, in need of some light, I resolved to hammer a candle into an empty Coke can to make an impromptu candleabra. But I needed the right tools. "Do we have a Birmingham screwdriver?" I asked. My wife paused before answering: "Well, I'm sure there are some tools around here."
"Yes, but do we have a Birmingham screwdriver?"
"I don't know how to answer your weird question!" she wailed.
I had discovered one of the main problems with being trendy: If you don’t hang out with other trendy people, then what’s the use?
“A Nation Lulled to Sleep”: A true trendsetter is trendy even when he rests his head. I sleep on an inexpensive Ikea bed frame, with a flower-print comforter, sheets purchased by my mother, and four sweat-stained pillows. Four pillows always seemed like a good amount to me—one for each limb. Oh, how wrong I was. “How did we go from a country that longed for a chicken in every pot to one that requires 14 pillows on every bed?” the Times asked earlier this year. I didn’t know the answer, but I wanted in. After all, there are 14 pillows on every bed.
Juliana Jiménez Jaramillo for Slate.
Just to be safe, I scrounged up about 30 pillows of all shapes and sizes, and threw them on my bed until you couldn't see my bed. When night fell, I realized that there is no good way to sleep on a bed containing 30 pillows. Either you sleep on top of them and spend the night writhing like the poor insomniac in The Princess and the Pea, or you sleep under them as if buried in the world's softest avalanche. I eventually arranged them so my body was touching the mattress while being walled in by pillows on all sides, like the victim in some lesser-known Edgar Allan Poe story.
And yet I slept surprisingly well, so much such so that I spent the entire next day bragging about my pillow-y bed and looking forward to sleeping there again. Unfortunately, the second night's sleep was horrible, perhaps because it was really hot in my apartment. I tossed, turned, and thrashed, and ended up flinging most of the pillows to the floor so I could sleep without being awakened by the rising tide of my own sweat. Still, it was worth it. You can't spell "painfully trendy" without "pain."
“Would You Like a Cocktail With That Workout?”: Physical fitness is undeniably trendy. Nobody wants to associate with someone who is large and flabby, unless that person is Martin Lawrence filming another sequel to Big Momma's House, in which case everybody wants to associate with him—everybody who loves to laugh, that is!
When I exercise, which is not often, I like to lift weights and play basketball. Lame! “Plenty of people forgo happy hour to fit in exercise, but now gyms are making it so that clients don’t have to choose,” the Times reports. “They’re offering evening workouts—some as late as midnight—featuring bubble machines, party favors and chances to mingle, platonically or otherwise.” It’s the “gym-as-nightclub.”
I cleared my Saturday night and headed to Barry's Bootcamp, a gym in Chelsea where Barry himself was leading an hourlong "Dance Party" workout session. Disco balls and balloons decorated the darkened gym; a DJ spun up-tempo Michael Jackson tunes; Barry wore novelty sunglasses and sparkle-glitter cowboy boots. "Before the night is over, I will fucking moonwalk," he howled as the class got started. Eat your heart out, Columbia University's Dodge Fitness Center.
Justin Peters is Slate’s crime correspondent.