[March, 1995] Little Fonzies No More
I don’t really feel like dealing with anyone today. I’m not in a bad mood or anything, just the opposite, actually but I just want the day to flow.
Right now I really wish I was a senior so I could join the walkout these next two periods.
I want to write a poem about poseurs, it will definitely have “pseudo” in it somewhere. Poseurs are so annoying, sometimes they even fool everyone into thinking they are actually cool. How sad. I’d rather be uncool than pretend to be something I’m not (as horribly clichéd as that sounds). Being yourself is truly cool, however non-trendy or interesting or boring that is.
My friendship with Claudia was getting strained, at least on my end. While I had an open fascination with alternative lifestyles and cultures, as cool as I thought punks were, I knew that I wasn’t one and didn’t try to be one. There were certain associations with it that turned me off entirely, like the vandalism and drugs. And while I liked the aesthetic, I didn’t love the music, and I didn’t have enough of a sneering nihilism to be a proper punk.
Neither did Claudia, but she still tried. Her favorite band was Green Day, which might have been punk for five minutes back in their early pre-Dookie days, but whose commercialism and accessibility quickly became its antithesis. Claudia also loved Hole, which was apt, because I always found Courtney Love calculating and phony in her efforts to co-opt angry youth—and the “alternative” pop culture movement in general—for her own gains. And while Claudia did seem interested in discovering the more authentic musical side of punk, there was something I found disingenuous about her efforts to be punk. From where I stood, she had nothing to rebel against. She came from privilege but with the freedom to do as she pleased. She was an Upper West Side kid pretending to be from the gutter and trying too hard. I couldn’t put my finger on exactly how she was a poseur, it was just a feeling that her efforts weren’t sincere and weren’t really her.
Claudia and I often referred to ourselves as “little Fonzies” and I did write a poem about how we were evolving in different directions, which I oh-so-poignantly entitled “Little Fonzies No More.” She wasn’t in my creative writing class, so she never saw it, but here’s how it ended:
you’ve moved beyond me now
doing cooler things
evolving into a pseudo-you
ignoring (or not seeing) my disgusted smiles.
so what’s wrong here?
everything is too polite and strained…
i guess you’re just too cool for me.
In retrospect, I may have been too harsh in my judgment of her, because by the end of the year I’d be all-goth-all-the-time, which comes with its own special set of pretensions. At the same time, I resisted the goth trappings as much as I could because I didn’t want to be perceived the way I did Claudia (though for all I know, I still was). But who is to say I was being true to myself and she wasn’t? My arrogant/insecure teenage self felt justified making such claims, but she may not have been the most reliable narrator…