Friday, June 23, 2006


I found a gorgeous vintage tablecloth for my friend La Yen’s birthday the other week. It was at the bottom of a pile of ancient linens in a Florida antique store when I saw it peeking at me. Fine off-white linen with a red hand-done cross-stitching with a taupe finished border, it was simple and beautiful.

When I gifted the linen to La Yen, I explained the provenance of the piece and how I figured it must have been at least fifty to sixty years old. We discussed the hand-stitching and the lovely contrast of colors. That is when Cachi, La Yen’s Other Half, started laughing. He said, “Azucar, if I didn’t know you, you’d be so pretentious, don’t change, but you’re so pretentious.”

The thing is I fear he is right. Here is the evidence:

1. A couple years ago I was complaining to J that these people, with whom we had been associating that evening, were so low brow. He started laughing (much in the same manner as Cachi, come to think of it.) J said, “You know, when you call those people low brow it’s because you think of yourself as high brow. But what you don’t get is, those people don’t care that they’re low brow, you’re the only one that cares. No one else cares.” Humph, I thought, how could they not care? I would care if I were low brow.

2. I used the word provenance in the first paragraph of this entry, and I meant it.

3. Sometimes I attempt to pronounce foreign words with the designated accent. Now come on, that’s pretentious and obnoxious. I don’t think I can stop (help.)

4. Once, when I lived near Vienna, the Lipizzaner horses nearly killed me.

5. The very sight of platform flip-flops gives me the heebie-jeebies.

6. I am always slightly depressed with the level of informality in our culture: both in dress and speech. Thing is, I’ve been steeping myself in out-dated fiction for the better part of 25 years. When you read old books you begin to pick up the patois (see, I did it again) and just fold it into your every day speech and habits. It’s not a conscious affectation (well, not until I started ruminating on it tonight.)

7. J would like me to mention that I dress him for parties and other events when he will be in public. I would like to point out that this is not pretentious; it is simply preventing the inevitable assault on the senses and sensibility of our chosen companions. He says, "Exactly."

8. When I write the numeral seven, I write it with the squiggle in the middle.

9. When traveling I will totally pretend that I am a local, not a tourist, and roll my eyes with my other 'countrymen' at the loud Americans.

10. I only buy organic milk and I won't eat Hershey's Chocolate.

11. I subscribe to The New Yorker.

12. I guess I should just admit I’m a pretentious snob and then move on with my life.


tiff-fay-fay said...

geez. don't even get me started here. Yes, I agree full cboard with your post. Unfortunately, I totally love you anyway. (Can I say "totally" in a post as pretentious as this one??)

Speak said...

all pretension aside, I linked to you through redlaw, and just wanted to say that I enjoy your writing. You have a great sense of style, and you like to cook (at least so it seems) which will win a man over in a hurry. Keep up the good work. :-D

Kiki said...

I also put the squiggly through my sevens and I write my ones in the style of the French. Sure, I can write a regular ol' one, but that is so common.

This was a fun post to read.

La Yen said...

That is why I love you. You make me want to be flashier. I need that in my life. After you left I went out and bought some amazing line green metallic wedges, and I thought "Azucar would like these. I must be fabulous."
Not pretentious--just my fabulous meter.

Azúcar said...

See, and I need people like J and Cachi to remind me that I need to dial it down several, generous notches. If it weren't for J, I would be insufferable. OK, more insufferable than I am now.

Speak- I hope that I can keep the man I already have, cooking might be my only hope.

Krnka- I do the numeral one thing as well, but more sporadically, depending on mood and type of pen. That's another story.

T- I respect that you laugh at me :) Now, who is supposed to keep me in line at work these days??

Emmie said...

If you weren't pretentious, I don't think Steve would want to be your friend. His pretension of choice? Fancy vocabulary. Yesterday, he used the word "paucity" in a sentence. "Are you sure that's a real word?" I asked. I looked it up. It was. I just asked him to use it in a sentence, and he said:

"There is a paucity of power in the Plymouth Prowler."

Wow. Alliteration as well.

My only comfort is that I always beat him at Scrabble.

This is me said...

Yeah, but do you eat your candy bars with a fork and knife? Or maybe you're too good for candy bars (or Seinfeld) all together.

Azúcar said...

a.) I am not too good for Seinfeld, I'm a bit of freak for the show. Maybe we need a trivia contest on that count.
b.) Your other assertion is correct, I don't eat most candy bars (unless it's an emergency.)

Emmie, I just knew Steve would understand. We are, on most counts, entirely congruous (I watched Persuasion tonight and I fear that my dialogue will be more fraught with pretension than at any other point these past weeks--see?!)
J always beats me at Scrabble, too. While I'm trying to come up with another 'n' to spell 'djinn' he's already four steps ahead in snatching up every triple word score on the board.
Stratagem beats pretension every time.

Emily said...

I heart Scrabble. If we ever meet, let's play.

April said...

I feel like I should curtsy. I even double-checked the spelling of "curtsy" so it wouldn't offend you. But I'm sure you already know that you can spell it as I did or with an "ey." This commenting business can be brutal.

The Scooter Lounge said...

You do remind me a bit of Frasier and Niles, but that show was a hit, even in low-brow middle America.

Azúcar said...

Oh April, I don't look down on others, despite what I said in the first example. The people in the first example were horrifying.

The mom refused to wear shoes ANYWHERE, including every store and public restroom that came her way. Her kitchen, although it theoretically had counterspace, was covered in weeks old wrappers, empty food boxes, heels of old bread, what I think may have been evaporated Tropicana, etc., etc. I have never seen the equal to that house, not even in a 3rd world country. She scared me and her house terrified me. So don't be scared of me, I would not judge you.

Unless, of course, you were wearing, in all seriousness and with no hint of irony, an "I'm not as think as you drunk I am" shirt, in which case, I might, pass a little, tiny judgement. But I'd probably be your friend anyway.

Oh Frasier and Niles, I'm so glad I'm not even approaching their level (or am I? I've lost perspective.)

spitzer said...

I almost enjoyed the comments as much as the post.
p.s. friends don’t let friends wear platform flip-flops (that should be on a t-shirt because it would be the quintessential paradox and make my day)

LuckyRedHen said...

Speaking of shirts, I should've bought you the one that said...


Minor detail, there was a comma after the L which turns it into "Salt Lake, Utah".

On your pretense... you make me think deeper than usual. I've been seeing vote for ??? for congress lately and asked my hubby what he thought of one of them. "Uh, don't really like him; but then again I don't really like any politicians." When he asked why I told him about what you did. ;o)

Azúcar said...

Sadly, I think I'm going to be voting for that guy...he's just two shades less ridiculous than the other one. I can't believe it. We get the government we deserve, I suppose.

I might wear the shirt because you gave it to me, but my mother would drop dead.

April said...

I guess you'd have the same response about a shirt that read "There's no blood in my alcohol, Occifer." hahaha No, I don't actually have that shirt, but I'm imagining a great deal of rednecks in my area who would kill for one.

Azúcar said...

If you were wearing it ironically, we'd be fast friends.

If you were wearing it with a girl mullet, pegged acid wash pants, with all seriousness and literal intent, I would be polite.

Then again, it's not the clothes that make the person, I find that almost everyone has something to offer if you bother to try to find out something about them. It's the rare individual who provokes no interest whatsoever. I don't think I'm necessarily a people snob; I find other people fascinating.

I think my pretention is an internal dialogue that is sometimes on display externally. I honestly try too never look down on anyone (unless they have offended a friend of mine, in which case, it's war--I will cop to a vicious tongue.)

So much of it is based on what I would or would not do: just because you're eating a Hershey bar doesn't mean that I'm going to be offended. I might buy you better chocolate in an effort to show to you the wonders of creation, but you're welcome to eat as much Hershey's as you like. That, however, would be J's point exactly: I'm buying chocolate for someone who is quite happy with what they have, it is no business of mine to assume that they need the "better" chocolate.