I’m staying with my friend in DC, and I walked over to the National Zoo – a few blocks from her home – today.
En route, no less than five men screamed at me from their car windows (varying versions of ‘Hey baby’ or ‘How YOU doin’?), while another seven or eight did so from the sidewalk. Sometimes I would quietly say, “Hey,” back, but mostly I pretended to be deaf.
It’s a funny thing about unwanted attention: there’s a fine line between flattery and harassment.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m as capricious as the next woman. Sometimes I go for a six or seven mile run and not one car honks at me and absolutely no one behaves inappropriately and – let’s me frank here – it’s a little bit discouraging. Am I losing it? Is it something I ate?
Chinese restaurant. I love the Peking Peeps.
On the other hand, when I stop into a grocery store for two minutes in order to quickly procure a cake for my friend’s birthday (ultimately settling on an Entenmann’s cheese coffee cake when it they don’t have much of a bakery section. Coffee cake is still cake. It has the word ‘cake’ in it, thus making it cake, albeit not a traditional birthday cake) and hear an unfamiliar booming voice announce, “I love white girls. I’m going to take care of you tonight. I love you, White Girl,” I wish I had lost some of it.
The same man recommended I look some stuff up on the internet (the names of which I promptly forgot, but by and large suspect was porn) and return the next day to the Safeway in order to be ‘taken care of”, and I considered pretending I didn’t speak English. In the end, I was able to wriggle free without too much trouble and – glancing behind me to make sure I wasn’t being followed – I headed back through the maze of leering and commenting strangers to the apartment.
Unrelated – or maybe it is related? – it is so humid out here, and my hair has gone absolutely nuts. It’s like a frizzy cross between Howard Stern and a Standard Poodle, and it makes me crazy. I invest a lot of time, energy, and money into fighting my naturally curly hair and seeing it break free of my efforts and shake its groove thing is neither desired nor appreciated (nor attractive). On the other hand, perhaps this is somehow related to my sudden popularity on the streets of Washington D.C.? Lecherous men love frizzy curly hair?
(Note to self: Possible PhD candidacy thesis idea…)
The grand prize winner. As it should be. Super cool.
In closing, it turns out that every year the Washington Post holds a Peeps diorama contest, and you can see the finalists and winners at Artomatic. If somehow you’ve been living or a cave, or a country that doesn’t celebrate Easter, or a country that doesn’t celebrate Easter with the consumption of gross quantities of packaged sugar products, Peeps are marshmallow candies in the shape of little ducks (or sometimes rabbits and other stuff) and covered with colored sugar. In other words, complete junk.
Anyway, as part of the annual contest, people arrange the peeps in varying dioramas (kind of like a project you’d do in elementary school) and the best ones – as previously mentioned, the best as judged by the Washington Post – win. Having examined the offerings in this year’s collection I was impressed, but I also struck upon a common trend – come up with a clever idea, execute it enough to be recognizable, and you’ll probably win.
Since I do not live in D.C. and will probably not be participating any time soon, I offer up some of my own thoughts, yours for the taking:
American Gothic (maybe call it ‘American Peepic’ or ‘APeepican Gothic’?) – Take two Peeps and stretch them long and thin. Outfit them in a farmer outfit and long dress, respectively; make sure the man has a pitchfork, and provide a bucolic background.
Jabba the Peep – Smoosh an entire package of yellow Peeps together into a singular ‘Jabba the Hutt’ shape. Consider involving a blow torch or glue – whatever it takes. Next to him, place a shapely Peep wearing a gold bikini with a chain around her neck. Watch the movie and provide whatever background is appropriate. Voila! You have recreated an iconic piece of American filmmaking
Land of the Peeps (the TV show, not the movie. The movie looks awful. Actually, the show was awful, but the damage is already done – I’ve seen it – so I may as well work with it) – Take three Peeps and outfit them in plaid shirts and jeans. If you can, stick some yellow braids on one of them. Take a fourth Peep, lick it all over, and roll it around in dog hair or bark or whatever you can find. Set them in a spartan and poorly rendered cave home and provide a poorly written script for context, and you’re a shoo-in!
You’re welcome, and good luck.