Another week, another heavily exaggerated trend story from the NY Times that seems to exist only to dig under the skin and raise red bumps of irritation that can only be soothed with the cool calming balm of mockery. This time, it's about wearing band-aids as accessories. No, really.
When Nicholas James Brown prepares to go out for cocktails at the Tribeca Grand or to a clambake in the Hamptons, he sticks on a few boldly patterned Band-Aids by the Brazilian fashion designer Alexandre Herchcovitch.
To Mr. Brown, 24, who works at Esquire magazine in New York, the colorful strips are an important accessory, and he's careful to coordinate them with his Kris Van Assche sweater or his Balenciaga bag. He generally wears one on his left hand or arm and balances it out with two or three on his right leg.
He doesn't put them on his face because, he said, "I don't want people thinking, 'What happened?' " And if anyone does ask what he's done to himself to need all of those bandages?
"I'll lie and say, 'I have a cut,' " he said.
A few months ago, the Times had another similarly infuriating trend piece about the non-existent trend of purposefully chipping one's nail polish. To look cool.
Sending the message that your life is much too complex, darling, to bother with maintaining a manicure is exactly the point, said Michelle Markowitz, an aspiring actress sporting artfully eroded blood-red nails.
"When I get my nails done, I like how it looks," she said. But she also likes less-than-perfect nails "because it shows you don't really care."
Besides the fact that no one actually does these things, these two trends have two common denominators: 1. The "trend" is rooted in carelessness (i.e. Girls who walk around with chipped nail polish didn't do it for the look, they're just lazy) 2. There is at least one jackass who is willing to step up and say that they're trying to look lazy/careless on purpose (See Nicholas James Brown, above).
So, free of charge, I've tracked down three such jackasses for the next three NY Times carelessness-disguised-as-trends pieces: Mysterious Bruises, Artfully Neglected Eyebrows, and Coffee Breath. You're welcome.
For some, like 25-year-old web producer Josephine Daniger, a well-placed, highly visible hematoma or two is an easy way to appear dangerous, mysterious, and charmingly unstable–in that you probably fall down a lot. "Having a bruise on my leg or wherever is like saying, 'Yeah, I fell down. So what?'" she explains. "It makes people think you're a little wild. If you have a big blue bruise on your leg, you probably got it from falling down hard, and if you fell hard you were probably drunk, and if you were drunk then that probably means you drink a lot, and drinking is, you know, wild."
So how does Ms. Daniger keep herself in bruises, some of which she even color-coordinates with her rotating roster of blue, green, and brown designer handbags? "Mostly I just walk into furniture: desks, heavy chairs, whatever's handy," she says.
Artfully Neglected Eyebrows
Loretta Harper's dark eyebrows are shaggy and overgrown, with a few artfully unplucked stray hairs creeping towards the middle of her brow. A few years ago, eyebrows like Ms. Harper's would have been an embarrassment—a blight to hide beneath a wide-brimmed hat until a threading appointment opens up. But increasingly, unkempt brows are becoming something else: a very fashionable badge of honor. "In between buying carbon offsets for my Land Rover, designing my line of recycled plastic water bottle friendship bracelets, and organizing all the details for my wedding reception, I am really, really busy," Ms. Harper says. "Who has time to sit there and pluck pluck pluck. I have better things to worry about, you know?"
Intentional Coffee Breath
"Mint?" For most, being asked a leading question like that is mildly embarrassing, but for 36-year-old hotelier James Tranvers it means he's won. "If someone offers me a mint, it's like I've gotten to them—my breath has gotten to them," he says. "Bad breath is power. People forget that."
Mr. Tranvers even scours local gourmet coffee shops looking for new roasts and regions to maximize the impact of his breath. He recently splurged on a bag of Kopi Luwak, a rare, expensive strain of coffee made from coffee berries that have been passed through the digestive system of a small Indonesian weasel. Mr. Tranvers will occasionally chew a few of the Kopi Luwak coffee beans before important meetings. "The other day, I was in the elevator with a business associate, and I was talking so close to his face the guy's eyes started to water," Mr. Tranvers recalls, chuckling. "He was like, 'What is that smell?'" And when I told him it was Kopi Luwak, he was like, 'Wow.' You could almost see the dollar signs reflected in his eyes."