Monday, 6 April 2009

Kamikaze Bachelor

I've recently stumbled across a new word. I always keep a good ear for these, since university, the arrogance of verbal superiority has become more difficult in it's upkeep so throwing in new terms, now and then, makes for a meritorious boost to one's speechcraft. The word in question:

Recessionista. Noun. A person who is able to stick to a tight budget while still managing to dress stylishly.

This is a portmanteau of, first, the word, '"Recession" - very popular amongst those who keep up on the news, General Motors [former] employees and anyone with a savings account in Iceland - And second, an old favourite, "Fashionista", a throwback to the flagrant, glamorous world of Dolce, Gabbana and small dogs as accessories. A Sex and the City style tribute the the turn of the millennia when whitegold was the new gold and Alberta was still considering the privatization of healthcare.

It seems to be, on the surface, a keen and conscious public reaction to - as the CBC puts it - "These tough economic times". Even before Madoff and sub-prime mortgages, Thrift stores have started becoming fashionable amongst the already well-to-do. I grew up in the 80s and 90s, attending the same public schools as the rest of you. I know for a fact that thrift store picks have not always been the fashionable choice amongst my peers and a childhood spent in the NorthEast Calgary (the poor people quadrant) is one of a tax bracket somewhat distant of the mandatory elementary school-wear, Nike shoes and Addidas tear-away trackpants. Let me take this opportunity to say, now, "I was shopping at Value Village before it was cool". Being a young male with disposable income and without three kids to put through school, I'm done with it. I'm not stretching my budget, I'm devastating it; student loans be damned, I'm the real recessionista; I am the Kamikaze Bachelor.

The bachelor life-style, icon of glamour and refinement, I have exercised to a precise and diligent artform. A major key in this process is to turn the accepted hierarchy of needs on it's head, putting Maslow's high-handed and presumptuous theories to embarrassing shame while simultaneously expanding your own way of life to capture the glorious extremes of the spectrum, destitution and hedonism; deprivation and debauchery. All at once, a new social-phenomenon has been recaptured from the pimps and junkies, returned to the common man in a slew of expensive shoes and bare cupboards, Cuban cigars and Kraft dinner, Three-figure bar tabs and one-bedrooms without electricity; who needs to bathe in hot water when Givenchy just came out with a new fragrance pour hommes. The real recessionista makes squalor look fashionable, not with trips to Value Village, but to the pawn shop. He's the only koshka in a soup-kitchen with gold jewelry and designer threads; He will proudly proclaim, "I am the prince, I am the pauper", "Do you have five bucks, I'm short for these snake-skins".

I now make berth on an island somewhere in the North Pacific, off the coast of Canada. Van Isle, the smell of patchouli and nag champa is near as palpable the smug self-righteous satisfaction that comes with it's inhabitants knowing that their economic and political decisions are not just right for themselves and the economy, but for the environment, as well. Perfect incubation conditions for today's contemporary fashionista but as I mentioned, I grew up in Calgary.

Calgary, Alberta. AKA, Rich City. City of assholes in baseball caps, and 2am streetfights. In Alberta, they vote Conservative, they put up skyscrapers in weeks, they are the Texas of Canada, holding firm to their two primary staples: Oil and Beef. Here's another new word I like, another portmanteau:
Oiligarchy, Alberta's unofficial system of government. Rich City, before the autumn of '08, was a city of new money, backed by old money. It was ripe for the development of kamikaze bachelors like myself and is rife with them still, I'm sure. On the island, I'm one of many refugees from the unfriendly East. I invite them to take up with me this mission of resplendent self-destruction. The taste of economic crisis is sweet, especially when you just spent $39/gram on dark chocolate from Madagascar. We'll see who survives this deathrace, me or the recession. I've still got calorie deposits near my kidneys and the 34 lbs I've lost since the crunch are nothing compared to GM's fourth-quarter loss of $9.6 Billion.

And besides, since I quit eating food, I can really taste my cigarettes.


  1. Reminds me of a joke.
    Q: What's the capital of Iceland?
    A: About $26

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