The title of the 1992 thriller Single White Female always bothered me due to its lack of realism.
In the movie, an attractive New York chick played by Bridget Fonda needs a roommate, so she places this ad.
A less attractive chick played by Jennifer Jason Leigh moves in and starts copying Bridget’s entire life, right down to her cropped red hair.
I lived in New York with roommates in the early ’90s. Back then, people would place ads for roommates in a paper version of the Village Voice. Capacity wasn’t infinite like it is now on the Internet, so there would be relatively few ads. We’d have to run out the day the paper was published, scoop it up, run back home to our non-wireless phones and start calling like crazy. I think I cleverly called from pay phones a couple of times.
People also used to run sex ads in the newspaper. (In these Craigslist days, it’s difficult to imagine waiting a whole week to find the perv of your dreams.) The sex ads, not the roommate ads, were the place where you’d identify yourself as a “single white female.” As I recall, race couldn’t be mentioned in the equal-opportunity real-estate section (gender could be specified). Relationship status was irrelevant. Plus, you were charged by the letter. It would be stupid to waste money on “single,” “amicably separated” or “I don’t understand why he didn’t call me because I thought we had a good time after I answered his sex ad in the Village Voice” when you were desperately seeking anyone with $500 for a security deposit and a tolerance for cockroach-infested kitchens.
Of course, the fact that “single white female” is completely unrealistic for a roommate ad didn’t stop the expression from becoming a well-known synonym for “psycho bitch who bites your style and possibly tries to kill you with a shoe.” Even I can’t stop myself from using it, and it was on my mind this week when I went SWF on two gals in one day.
In December, my gorgeous designer friend Stacy of Taffeta Darlings wore a sex-ay menswear vest she made herself, and I declared I had to have one just like it. She finished it this week, so on Wednesday we dressed like twins for a jaunt down to my handsome friend Evan’s vintage store Frock. Evan is selling Linda Derector‘s collection of vintage sunglasses and I wanted to check them out before their official debut. I put on a pair that made me look like a lady from The Far Side, Stacy put on a cupid-adorned pair by Moschino and we posed in our matching vests.
I decided the Far Side look was a good one for me and tried on more cat’s-eye shades.
Evan and Stacy convinced me that a purple pair with rhinestone corners was the most flattering and the least crazy-looking.
In fact, I double-SWF’d Jennine, because I’ve already been wearing round sunglasses that Jennine herself gave me. I’m like her eyewear stalker. Shady! Literally.
Dang (as a Far Side character might say)! This post deserves a “where to buy” list and photo credits like a magazine.
WHERE TO BUY
Vintage sunglasses: If you’re in New York and want a pair (many styles available in addition to cat’s-eye), you should get to Frock fast. A very, very big designer’s team is already looking at the collection. Frock is always very popular with designers looking for inspiration, so this is your chance to get an original. And don’t leave a comment saying you don’t like those glasses on me so that you can snag them. I’m on to your little tricks.
Custom-made vest: For a made-to-measure vest like mine, you can contact Stacy via her blog.
Swear rings: At wendybrandes.com, of course!
Jennine’s cast-off stuff: You can ask her or snoop through her garbage, but I don’t know how thrilled she’s going to be about either of those. If you’re rummaging through her trash and she runs out brandishing a shotgun, don’t come crying to me.
1, 2 and 3: From the Single White Female trailer, via IMDB.
4, 6, 7 and 11: Stacy Lomman.
5: Gary Larson’s book is available at Amazon.
8, 10: Jennine Tamm Jacob.