Wednesday, February 12, 2020

How To Be Less "Basic"

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With all the fun being poked at "Karens" and "Kyles" these days, it's hard not to wonder:  am I a basic bitch too?  While definitions differ, a basic bitch is generally defined as a cookie-cutter, dime-a-dozen man or woman who follows the herd like a hapless sheep.  They have no sense of style other than what's popular in their suburban or rural area.  Their home decor consists of "Live, Laugh, Love" and "Gather" signs; their hair is often chopped into a blond-streaked let-me-speak-to-your-manager 'do.  You know the one.  They can be spotted at Starbucks enjoying a Pumpkin Spice latte in the Autumn months or grabbing a Monster Energy drink before their morning classes after a night out with the bros.  Essentially, a basic bitch is someone who lacks soul, flavor or individuality.  In many places they're the overwhelming majority.

The personality of these folks is even more annoying than their appearance.  The basic female bitches tend to be persnickety & obnoxious, talking down to wait staff at restaurants or leaving negative Yelp reviews whenever possible.  Basic male bitches are coddled fuckboys who drink to excess & act like frat boys, rarely leaving their home towns after graduation.  Of course this is just a generalization; there are many variations on this theme.  "Basics" are often portrayed as white WASP-y types but I can attest that they come from all races, ages & backgrounds.  It's a mindset.  We all have some basic traits; it's a matter of degrees.

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Some basic bros culled from The Bachelorette

I've actually seen insecure people--usually young women--worrying to excess about whether they're coming across as too "basic".  Almost to the point of paranoia.  This makes me sad.  While it's good to be an individual & not follow the stream like a dead fish, nobody should feel ashamed for liking the things they genuinely like.  That said, here are some tips for jazzing up your life & style if you want to bring more in more excitement:

- Clothes/fashion:  Do your own thing.  Don't follow fashion trends like "Ed Hardy T-shirts" or "Ugg boots".  Choose items that complement your body type & features, picking up some unique pieces from thrift or vintage stores for added flair.  If you're going to follow the crowd, look to fashion meccas like New York, Paris or Los Angeles rather than what's going on in the Midwest or South, as these regions lag behind the others.  Way behind.

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Examples of "basic" items for women.

- Home:  Stop shopping for home decor in Ross & other chain stores with mass-produced "art".  Instead, check out Etsy for unique one-of-a-kind pieces or at least get some better decorating ideas from Pinterest or art magazines.  You don't need to spend a bundle to make your home look funky fresh.  You can even decorate with chic (and cheap) film or music posters from auction sites like eBay.  Or draw/paint your own pieces!
- Hobbies:  If your hobbies consist of "basic" things like watching college sports or shopping at Target (and pronouncing it "Tarjay"), spice up your agenda by going outside your comfort zone.  Check something off your bucket list or learn a new skill:  bungee jumping, Zorbing, Scuba diving, try magic mushrooms w/ a close group of friends, grow a personal herb garden, learn to home-brew beer, take a karate class, study DJing or gongoozling (yeah, look it up).  Find a new hobby, whatever it may be.

- Travel:  Mark Twain said it best--travel is fatal to prejudice.  It's also fatal to basic-ness.  Even if you can't jetset around the world, you CAN travel to cool local places with loved ones or alone, meeting new people & enriching your life in the process.  People who spend their money on experiences rather than things have also been shown to be happier on average.  Bonus.

- People/friends:  Join a local MeetUp & find friends with similar interests.  Be open to making new friends who are outside your usual demographic (age, political leanings, etc).  Challenge yourself by surrounding yourself with new ideas rather than an echo chamber of like-minds.  This is how growth happens.

- Food:  Try a new exotic food every month.  Make a date of it with friends or your partner.  Keep a list of the ones you like & learn to prepare them so you can make them for others.  Support local farmers & small businesses rather than big chains like Starbucks or Wal-Mart...the most "basic" of all the corporate bitches.

- Art/music/culture:  This is key to defeating basic bitchness.  The more art you take in, the more basicness you push out.  Search out new musicians & build a playlist on your music platform of choice, but make sure the songs are NOT from the Top 40.  Better yet, go to an actual record shop & dig through the crates.  Take a pottery or photography class at your local college; join a book club or attend a play with your friends.  Make art in some form a more central part of your life.  (Netflix & popular Blockbuster movies do NOT count as art).

- Learn:  If basic bitches are one thing, it's boring & dim-witted.  (Okay, that's 2 things).  Knowledge is also fatal to basicness so get to learning.  Watch documentaries, read non-fiction books.  Learn a language.  Take a class on a subject that interests you.  Learn a new word every day.  Always be hungry for knowledge & it will show in your personality.

- Stop caring that others might think you're basic.  Seems counter-intuitive to the other points in this list, I know.  But not really.  Because not giving a fuck what onlookers think is the most badass thing you can do.

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Embrace your basic bitch!

If, after all this, you still find yourself falling into the "basic" category, it's time to accept yourself as the lovely vanilla person you are.  Vanilla is a plain but rich & delicious flavor.  Not everyone can be Triple Chocolate Mocha Chip w/ sprinkles.  People who go too far in the latter direction may find themselves being labeled "hipster," "hippie" or "trustafarian"...or may come off as trying too hard to fit in with the cool kids which is in no way unique either. 

The moral of the story is that you'll be labeled no matter WHAT you do in this life--the goal is to strive for balance & accept yourself for who you really are.  But the only way to know who you truly are in the first place is to get out of your comfort zone & experience a variety of things.

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