Wednesday, March 08, 2006

J-Men


One thing that Mr. J and I share, other than our father’s truly unfortunate nose, and our mother’s cheery disposition—is an unhealthy passion for blockbuster movies based on comic books.

Ever on the alert, Mr. J spotted earlier in the week a new trailer for this summer’s X-Men III. We both immediately watched it, and we’ve since been engaged in a rapid-fire e-mail dialogue. We’ve debated the relative coolness of Angel, a mutant curiously blessed with a giant set of feathery wings. (In my book, any multimillionaire super hero is automatically cool. Mr. J argues that wings are lame, regardless of the dude’s day job.) We’ve pondered over who the bald kid in the preview is. (Leech.) And, we’ve come to unanimous agreement that the movie adaptation really screwed Rogue. (As Mr. J points out, in the comic books she could fly. In the movies, the only thing her super powers do is prevent her from getting any ass.)

We’ve also taken the time to consider some more serious theoretical questions, namely, what would we do if we were mutants? Would we feel compelled to fight crime? Or, would we be just as happy to use our telekinetic and flight ability to clean our apartments and beat the morning rush? How would we feel if one of us was mutant, but the other wasn’t? Would the non-mutant feel inadequate? I felt inadequate when Mr. J won the elementary school science fair, how much worse would it be if he could freeze things with his bare hands? Would the mutant sibling be understanding of the other one, or would they just shoot laser beams at him/her?

These are all important questions that will sadly have to go unanswered. Until one of us develops a super hero ability, we’re just going to have to resign ourselves to discussions in the abstract. In the meantime, we’re each crossing our fingers that we’ll be the one to discover the hitherto dormant abilities. Neither of us wants to be the one getting laser beamed.

Ms. J

Sunday, March 05, 2006

VIP Only

On some basic level, everyone wants to be a VIP. Somewhere deep down inside, all of us crave to be on the right side of the velvet rope.

The city’s night life feeds on this secret desire for superiority. Muscle bound bouncers block the doors to even the lamest of clubs. Gaggles of finance types pay into the triple digits for the privilege of sitting on a banquette alongside leggy models. Bridge and tunnel kids stand for hours in the freezing cold, all for the miniscule chance to drink overpriced cocktails with the likes of Paris Hilton.

Perhaps more than any other city, New York is literally flooded with these nocturnal meccas of elitism. In spite of the excess of scenes available, one thing about club land never changes. Club land is always dark. Although the rounded seating may change, the beautiful people will only ever be bathed in the dimmest of lights. Which leads one to the obvious question, why not flip the switch?

Once we give our eyes a minute to adjust, the answer stares straight at us like a cigarette burn on velour. Darkness facilitates our suspension of belief. Just like a five-year-old at Disney World, we nighttime revelers want to believe in magic. We want to feel the steady thrum of an urban life that is as sophisticated and bedazzled as our wildest suburban dreams. In the subtle blue glow of the dance floor, we can imagine that our evening’s compatriots are a glittering pantheon of stars, rather than a sweaty mass of office drones. The chrome is just a little shinier, the suede a little less stained, the carpet nowhere near as worn—and that’s exactly what we want. Without that air of mystery, we’re no longer tres chic. Instead, we’re just…us. We’re mere mortals in a windowless room, with a few tired couches, and a relatively decent stereo system—and really, who wants that?

It’s for this reason that we all make a tacit agreement, to lay low in the black. To light a few candles, turn up the tunes, and allow ourselves to be transported. We’re going to a place where everyone wants to be. A place where the people are prettier, the drinks are tastier, and the music’s always pumping. It’s a place where we belong, and it’s a place that makes it all worth it.

Ms. J