Not only are we expected to tighten our collective belts these days (be they studded, biker-chic numbers or something with a snaffle bit motif), but we are expected to do so in a way that is eco-friendly. Green is the word. Our food must be green, our cars must be green, our houses must be green, our clothes must be green. Soon we will be a nation of leprechauns.
J.Cruel would like to endorse Soylent Green as an excellent alternative to traditional foods. Dystopias, after all, have gotten a bad rap. What is so horrible about living on an Earth covered entirely with water and populated by amphibious Kevin Costners? Or spending our days in a society where books are required to be burned (we prefer magazines, after all)? Or where children are conceived and born in hatcheries and we all must worship the T?
We, the Alpha Pluses of J.Cruel, decree that while you can never have too many belts (or accessories of any kind), it is possible to have too many people. And judging from the difficulty we had getting a table at Jean Georges the other night, this planet is full.
Heal the world. Eat Soylent Green.
Soylent Green. Cheap. Nutritious. People.
Imagine, if you will, a world without the sun. If there were no sun, what would we do with all our sunglasses? How would plants photosyntesize? What kind of logo would Louis XIV have come up with instead? What would happen to Cirque du Soleil without the Soleil? If we lived in perpetual darkness, how would anyone see our shoes?
We at J. Cruel hereby call for a Worldwide Sun Appreciation Day. In these troubled times, when everything seems to cost money and everyone wants o moan and groan about everything costing money, the Sun keeps on doing what its been doing, without complaint, without charging a dime, every day for the past 4.59 billion years: shining. Shining for you.
The Sun. 73.46% hydrogen. 24.85% helium. 100% there for you. Available in all outdoor locations between the hours of 6:00 am and 7:15 pm (hours may vary according to season and latitude). Excessive enjoyment of the sun may result in crow’s feet.
Lately we have been seeking out articles about scaling back our spending in the face of the recession (something one does not out of necessity but out of sympathy for the financial ruin of one’s friends), and again and again we’ve encountered a fascinating economic system: purchasing luxury goods for peanuts. We’ve read about sales (Marni for peanuts!), consignment shops (Chanel for peanuts!), and websites (domestic servants for peanuts!) that all offer aspirational goods in exchange for sacks of legumes. What a wonderful time we live in! What a delicious new global currency we have!
Elephant owners and/or Jimmy Carter, you’re likely ahead of the game with your stockpiles of peanuts in your detached, Tudor-style peanut warehouses, but the rest of us still have a chance to strike while the iron is hot. Send someone to Costco, and tell them to look for the monocled gentleman in the spats. He carries a cane. He has more peanuts than Croesus. He is the chosen one.
Peanuts. Available in dry-roasted, honey-roasted, in the shell, or Spanish. For the truly discerning, ask for the cup belonging to Mr. Reese.
The Hamptons? Yawn. Monte Carlo? Snore. Mustique? Been there, done that, bought the limited edition, sustainable cotton, skinny-fit t-shirt with Swarovski-encrusted portrait of pre-makover Marc Jacobs on the back. So, then, the question of the season is where to go for a quick getaway while the kids are on spring break with their nanny and their manny at hedge fund fantasy camp in Stamford.
Since poverty-chic is the new watchhyphenate, we suggest taking your vacay at one of the charming new villages springing up on the outskirts of many major metropolitan areas. What can a slumdog possibly know about rest and relaxation? Everything! Take a break from the responsibility of weekly Pilates and the pressure of possessions and relax into a simple life of have not, want not. Choose from hundreds of cozy shacks and enjoy fine amenities such as street urchins and nighttime robberies. As an added bonus, you’ll be amazed how easily the pounds fall away when you’re on a diet of boiled boot leather.
Sometimes less really is more. More fun, that is.
Shantytown. Available in corrugated, cardboard, or stolen lumber.
When budgets are stretched thin, we think it is especially important to pay attention to quality. Consider the longevity of the item you are purchasing, how much you really need it, how pretty it will look pinned onto your bathrobe, what you might name it (perhaps Madam Shiny), its clarity, its color, and the usefulness of any curse purported to have been attached to it. Obviously, then, diamonds are what you should be buying. Go on. Indulge. You deserve a little pick-me-up, especially one that will last forever.
Diamonds: hard, just like the times.
Compressed carbon. Available in girl’s best friend or blood.
The horse is an elegant beast of land and sea. But when times get tough, it just makes sense to rethink the way you use your horse. When we went to visit our accountant, Lottie Da Legionnaire’s Disease IV, she seemed despondent. The Dow was down 456 points and she didn’t know how to count past 17. Although math was clearly her strong suit, we considered other vocations for her. Horses are known to hunt foxes in the wild, sometimes tracking them from East Egg all the way to West Egg. This kind of determination will make your horse a perfect private detective. Find out how your wife has been spending her afternoons. You will be surprised how discreet a horse can be.
Horses are also wonderfully strong. The term “horse power” refers to the number of horses it takes boil one quart of water to 100 degrees centigrade. This means that low body fat, tight haunches, and an affinity for Buddhism make horses the perfect yoga instructor. Relax with your horse, share an espresso in the middle of the afternoon, a laugh by candlelight. Ah, how the worries melt away!
Horse, available in chestnut, bay, dapple, and mange.
A Paper Bag
Chic doesn’t cost money. Style is a natural resource, unlimited and free to everyone, like oil. Fashion is all around you. It is in your closet of couture gowns, your other closet of couture gowns, your shoe room, your jewelry safe, the smile of a child, the smile of your stylist, Philippe, and it is in a paper bag. You aren’t hyperventilating into that bag while watching CNBC. You are breathing fashion into it. Now pick yourself up off the floor, take a Xanax, look with fresh eyes at your new friend Mr. Bag, and make something fabulous from him. How much does a paper bag cost? We have no idea. What does a paper bag hold? Perhaps the world.
Paper Bag, available in brown