Mz. Mannerz: The Fauxpology Prodigy

It’s time for another exciting installment of Mz. Mannerz!  Go put on a codpiece and brace yourself.  Like you weren’t already wearing one anyway.

The fake apology, or as it is often called, the fauxpology.  One of the more entertaining things a person can receive.  You could write it out as “Faux pas-logy” but that’s just confusing, so just go along with me here.

As you know, I had many years of experience dating scumbag musicians because for some reason or another I used to think I was worthless, so I’ve probably received more fauxpologies than most people, including such golden hits as…

“Hey, you know what?  I’m sorry you had to pay to get the electric turned back on again, but do you even care that I finally beat Grand Theft Auto Vice City while you were at work today?”

“Sorry you’re all ‘boo-hoo sad’ with your trust issues because I haven’t told my parents about us.  I’m doing you a favor.  If my mother knew I was living at your house for the past two years she would think you were a tramp and weren’t good enough for me.”

“Well, sorry if you have to get up early for work, but I’m having a good time and I’m not ready to go home yet.  Go sleep in the car if you’re tired.”

And yes, I walked out to a bar parking lot alone at 1am to sleep in my car.  My car that I had driven him to the bar in, because he had no car and no job, yet he felt he was the person in charge of when we would be leaving the bar.  Feel free to mentally transport yourself to the past and punch him in the dick.

…so I consider myself to be somewhat of a connoisseur of the fauxpology.

Now that I’m away from that horrific horseshittery, I find these fauxpologies almost endearing in hindsight.  They really are the gift that pretends to keep on giving.

There’s really only one correct way to say that you’re sorry:

  • By clearly stating that you are sorry for doing the shitty thing.

That’s the formula, in case you’re taking notes.

My god, please tell me you’re taking notes.  This website could self-destruct at any moment and then where would you be?  How would you know that the preferred Sheen/Estevez is actually Judd Nelson?

Here’s what an apology is not:

“Sorry if there were hurt feelings.”

This is what I like to call a “non-ownership” fauxpology.  For one thing, you couldn’t even be sincere enough to add the “I’m” before the word “sorry”?  That’s red flag number one that you’re not even remotely sorry.

The usage of the word “if” is another good indicator.  When you’re apologizing to someone, that means that they DO have hurt feelings.  There’s no question as to “if” they have hurt feelings.

And who’s hurt feelings are we even talking about here?  Because you didn’t mention anything about them being mine!  What you’ve done is just semi-apologized to the air, on behalf of the air.  You somehow managed to remove both of us from the entire equation, and questioned the notion that there were any hurt feelings to begin with.  Try again, shitass.

“I’m sorry you got your feelings hurt.”

I said try again.  That means try something different.  Not try the same damn bullshit again.

“I’m sorry that you’re so sensitive!”

Here’s the thing.  Do you want to have friends?  Would you like for people to be genuinely happy to see you?  Then when you do something shitty to them and they say, “Hey, that was shitty,” whether you intended to be shitty or not, you freaking apologize to them.  This is not cause for a debate over whether or not you feel they had a right to be upset about something you said or did – something that has clearly upset them either way.  Just apologize.  It goes something like this:  “I’m sorry I hurt your feelings.”  <—— Don’t cost nothin’!  AND DON’T SNEAK AN “IF” IN THERE.

“I’m sorry you took it that way.”

This is most often said when someone has said or done something so egregious that it’s undeniable, and now they’re basically trolling you.  This is how someone fauxpologizes after you get upset when they tell you, “Wow, you’ve really packed on weight since the last time I saw you!” or “Unlike you, I actually clean my house.”  There’s only one “way” to take those statements.  They were meant to be insulting.

“I SAID I WAS SORRY, OKAY?!”

See, now you’re yelling.  You’re yelling at someone who you’ve already wronged once.

Sometimes you can do something so super shitty that no amount of apologizing is going to make it better.  Sometimes it’s a sting that will take time to fade.  Sometimes it’s something unforgivable.  If someone is still upset after you apologize, that is not your cue to yell at the person.  That is your cue to figure out what you can possibly do to make it right, if anything, or just leave them alone and respect their space.

And people don’t have to actually accept your apology.  It’s not just a given in the apology transaction.  When you apologize, you are asking someone for forgiveness.  You don’t get to demand it from them.

So!  To summarize:

Stop being a dick and just say you’re sorry.

“Well, when I was on the debate team in high school…”

I SAID STOP BEING A DICK.

Steel Maggie-nolias

I threw away my old Doc Martens combat boots after 27 years of ownership.  As I pitched them into the trash and they clunked towards the bottom of the can, they yelled, “Do they have a steel toooooooooooooooe?!” on their way down, because after so many years of excellent service, this was unfortunately the memory I associated most with them.  Because teenage boys.

Oh!  Do tell, Myrtle!

I remember the day I got my Doc Martens in 1992.  Grunge was now all the rage, and no teenage grunge queen was complete without a pair of Doc Martens to go with her sundress, tights, and flannel shirt.  They were all I wanted in life that year, and I begged my mother to buy them for me.

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Fine, these flowers aren’t magnolias, but spoiler alert, those are Doc Martens on my 16-year old feet.  And a cigarette in my hand, but that’s neither here nor there.

Things had finally started to turn around in our household, our roof had been fixed up after Hurricane Andrew (thanks to insurance) and Mom had landed a better-paying job.  Plus, it was just me and her left in the house since my sisters had both moved out.  We were no longer destitute and there was even a little left over for spending.

I told her I needed a new pair of shoes, so we hit the mall.  Just a few years before, besides my yearly pair of $15 sneakers from Fayva the discount shoe store, my two sisters and I shared a single pair of black flats that we fought over mercilessly.

Three teenage girls, one pair of dress shoes, you can imagine the carnage.  You could make ten full wigs out of the amount of hair we pulled out of each other’s heads over those black flats.

As Mom and I stood in the shoe store, she flipped the Doc Martens boot over to see the price tag and said, “Ha!  $120?!!  Not in your wildest dreams, kid!”

She started to walk away, so I had to jump on her to present my proposition.

“Okay, okay, I know this seems nuts, but just listen to me!  If you buy me these boots, I promise I will wear them every single day for the rest of high school.  For two years!”

She said, “You have almost another two years of high school, and you’re telling me, you’re promising me, that you will wear these stupid, ugly things every day?  EVERY day?”

I nodded my head like a maniac, “Yes!  I promise!  Every single day!”

The next day, I swaggered into school in my black sundress, red plaid tights, and my brand-new Doc Martens.  I felt like the coolest mofo on the planet – until the first teenage boy saw me.

“Nice Docs,” he said, pursing his lips and folding his arms.  “I bet you got them at the mall.  Do they have a steel toe?”

(Like he got his Doc Martens trying to fight the Krauts back from the border of Poland in World War II.)

I looked down and said, “No?  Why would I need a steel toe?”

He laughed, “Heh.  Well, mine have a steel toe, so…”

Soooooo…what?  What the hell did I care if his OR my Doc Martens had a steel toe?

“I’m just saying only poseurs wear Docs that don’t have a steel toe.”

He walked away, still laughing.

I had never spoken to this guy in my life, and we didn’t even know each other’s names – but he felt compelled to walk up and insult me.

Were we doing construction work there in the 11th grade, where steel-toed boots would be the only thing standing between me and a pile of broken toes?

As it would turn out, in the two years that I wore my Doc Martens to school EVERY DAY JUST LIKE I’D PROMISED, this was an unsolicited question I was asked by teenage boys on a weekly basis.  I got so tired of having the steel toe conversation, I considered just writing, “No Steel Toe” across the top of one boot in white-out and “Poseur” on top of the other to save myself the time and aggravation.

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Look who’s still wearing those Doc Martens a year later at 17!  Never mind the beer, it’s neither here nor there.

It’s so funny, too, looking back on the whole thing and realizing what stupid ass hats those guys were.  My shoes bothered them so much that they felt the need to barge up to me, a stranger, to interrogate me about them and then try to make me feel like they were better than me?

I don’t think I’m better than anyone except Melissa’s mom, and everybody knows that.

They acted like they had somehow “earned” their combat boots as teenage boys and I was merely trying to game their system.  Like they were wearing them for actual combat when I was just wearing them for fashion, even though it was the 90s and we were all just wearing them for fashion.

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18 years old!  Still wearing those Docs!  I was SO HIGH IN THIS PICTURE, but that’s neither here nor there.

And what are we even talking about here?  Did they think I wasn’t cool enough to be into grunge?  Is there even such a thing as a person who isn’t cool enough to be into grunge?

I present this photograph of Jeff Ament and Mike McCready from Pearl Jam, as Exhibits A through Z in my case:

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These two look like what would happen if Gallagher had sex with a dreamcatcher on top of a deflated beach ball in the middle of a Spencer Gifts in Omaha.

If you’re reading this and realize you were one of these steel-toe jerks back in the day, I want to impress upon you how obnoxious I thought you were then, and still think you are today.

I hope your closet is filled with nothing but ill-fitting, moose-knuckle khakis, GREG.

I hope you have a neverending hangnail that catches on your pants every time you put your hand in your pocket, JASON.

I hope it burns just a little every time you stop peeing, like you had to cut the stream short even though you didn’t actually cut the stream short, MATT.

I hope you have the short stream burn, Matt.

The short.

Stream.

Burn.

Years later, I got a job at that same shoe store so I could get the employee discount on further Doc Martens purchases, but I had to quit after my first day because of herpes.

Stay tuned for that one next week.

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19 years old.  First office job and wearing Doc Martens at the reception desk.  Also sleeping on the job while clutching a stuffed animal, but that’s neither here nor there.

The Lord of The Dirty, Dirty Keychain

Once upon a time in 1988, there was a keychain.  A dirty, dirty keychain.

A keychain so dirty, so coveted by all of the middle schoolers in town, had this story taken place in Hobbitville or Dorkville or wherever those Lord of The Rings movies happened, any one of those damp, sexless nerds in cloaks would have tossed that ring off a cliff to get their hands on it.

That’s not fair.  Maybe they’re not all damp, sexless nerds.  I think maybe the Elves weren’t damp, sexless nerds, but I can never remember because I fell asleep during all three of those movies.  In the theater.

Know why?  Because those movies, like most movies these days, are:

  1.  TOO.
  2.  LONG.
  3. ALL MOVIES SHOULD BE 90 MINUTES.
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Photo of Golum or Yoda or something.

Come to think of it, I’m pretty sure the Elves were hot in that classy, useless way, like Gwyneth Paltrow, where they look beautiful in long, silk gowns but you have a really hard time imagining them humping.

Don’t send me weird emails about this.

Which brings me back to the keychain, or as I shall hereafter refer to it:

The Keychain.

I first heard about The Keychain from my friend Jenny, who’d taken a babysitting job for the then-current holder of The Keychain, Marlene.  Marlene was a divorced single mom to a well-behaved child named Justine.  Jenny loved babysitting for Justine because she was a cool kid and Marlene paid well.

Jenny was babysitting Justine one afternoon when she had to search through a kitchen drawer for some Scotch tape.  In the back of the drawer, under a few layers of miscellaneous stuff, resided The Keychain.

As the story goes, Jenny pulled it out of the drawer and said, “What the hell?” as she inspected it.

The Keychain was made of a bronze-colored metal, and featured two cartoonish people – a man and a woman – in profile.  The woman had huge boobs, and the man was standing across from her with his pants down and his…you know…ding-dong…sticking straight out.

Justine rolled up and said, “Oh, you found Mommy’s keychain.  We’re not supposed to play with that.”

She took it from Jenny and said, “Hang on.  I can show you how to make it move, but then we have to put it away.”

There was a mechanism in The Keychain where if you pulled on a lever at the bottom of it, the man’s hips moved forward and his…ding-dong…appeared to go into the woman’s…hoo-hah.

The Keychain was no ordinary keychain.  The Keychain was the dirtiest keychain in the world, or as I shall now hereafter refer to it:

The Humping Keychain.

Jenny was stunned. She had never seen anything so magnificent.

Obviously, Jenny had to have it, but despite the fact that she was a filthy-mouthed little thief (which is why we got along so well), she knew better than to take The Humping Keychain that day.  Justine had just seen her with it, so she would’ve been able to testify in a Court of Dirty Keychain Law that Jenny was the last person seen holding it.

Jenny told me about The Humping Keychain in vivid detail.  “You won’t believe it,” she said.  “It’s the coolest thing I’ve ever seen.”

I knew Jenny’s filth standards were high, so I took her at her word.  After all, she was the one who discovered a cornucopia of “marital aids” at our acquaintance Tricia’s house, hidden away in Tricia’s parents’ nightstand, and chased Tricia around the house with something that looked like a red zucchini (barehanded!) yelling, “Dude! Your mom’s teeth marks are on this!”

We were not invited back.

The next time Marlene called Jenny to ask her to babysit, she asked if she could bring me along.

We hit the kitchen as soon as we arrived.  Jenny pulled The Humping Keychain out of the drawer and it was everything she’d described and more.  The cartoon sex people even had these goofy expressions on their faces and the man’s eyes were all bugged out of his head, something Jenny had, surprisingly, neglected to mention.

The Humping Keychain wasn’t just sex.  It was sex and comedy.  The total package.  As far my dirtbag middle school comedy tastes were concerned, Andrew Dice Clay might as well have been standing right there in the kitchen.

We put it back in the drawer when we heard Justine coming out from her room.  That kid wouldn’t leave us alone for a single second for the rest of the evening.  That may have been the night I officially decided that I never wanted to have kids.

Jenny wasn’t available the next time Marlene needed a babysitter for Justine, so she directed her to me – and this was going to be an offsite, awesome babysitting job.  Marlene worked at a beach club a couple towns over, and since her boss wouldn’t be around that day, she was taking Justine to work with her.  She just needed someone to watch her in case something came up.  I was going to get paid to hang out at a beach club all day!  It was like one of the lesser orphans in “Annie” getting a spa day.  I was going to steal SO much food.

Marlene asked if she could come pick me up at my house, and then I remembered:

The Humping Keychain.

As much as a day at the beach club sounded like the best thing ever, it did lack a certain sex/comedy element that only The Humping Keychain could provide.

I told Marlene I would just walk over to her house instead of her picking me up, since it was only two blocks away from my house, and we could go from there.

Naturally, I stole The Humping Keychain within five minutes of my arrival at Marlene’s.

Also, naturally, someone must have hipped Marlene to the fact that I had stolen it, because even though we had a great time that day at the beach club, I was never called to babysit for Justine again.  That kid must have put two and two together, realized I was the last one in the house, and then went turncoat on me and told her mother.

Don’t care.  Worth it!  I was now in possession of The Humping Keychain.

But stealing is wrong!

Is it, when you really think about the circumstances?  If anything, I was saving poor, impressionable Justine from having to live in a house where something as disgusting (hilarious) and pornographic (double hilarious) as The Humping Keychain was just left in a drawer for anybody to find.  I stole The Humping Keychain because I was concerned about the welfare of that child!  How dare you question my morals as a thief?!

I later traded The Humping Keychain to another sixth grader after an excruciatingly complex and protracted negotiation.  I had recently watched both “Working Girl” and “Baby Boom”, and I fancied myself a tiger lady businesswoman.

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“Nobody appreciates your sense of humor, you know. As a matter of fact, everyone’s just about to puke from you. If you’ve got a hard-on for trash, don’t take care of it around us.” – Steff McKee, “Pretty in Pink”