Wednesday, October 31, 2007

The Masculinity Quiz

I think modern men don’t really know the difference between masculine and meathead. So they either swing too far toward the meathead end of the spectrum, or they grow up into wussy silly girly-men. So, guys, have you gone too far one way or the other? Take this quiz and find out. If you are off the market, many of these questions will require you to pretend that you’re single. Go with it.

1. An attractive female friend calls and asks you to bring a drill to help her install some shelving. Do you:
a. Show up with a drill and a condom, because the “drill” thing HAS to be a double entendre.
b. Show up with a drill and the cheerful thought that handyman work might be a prelude to removing her underpants.
c. I don’t own a drill.

2. A cursory glance of your closet shows:
a. Five t-shirts and two pairs of jeans.
b. An assortment of jeans, slacks and shirts, predominately in shades of blue and green, plus one or two suits.
c. A bunch of stuff your last girlfriend picked out for you.

3. You’re at a bar. Another dude, approximately the same size as you, attempts to grab your date’s ass. Do you:
a. Ask the guy to meet you outside so you can punch him.
b. Fix him with a steely glare, tell him to back off, then walk on.
c. It’s the girl’s problem, not yours. Let her deal with it.

4. True or false: You have purchased tampons.
a. False. Hell no.
b. True, but only for a serious girlfriend.
c. True, what's the big deal?

5. You’re a college student. You’re taking a women’s studies class. Why?
a. I figure I’ll be the only guy there, and these hairy feminist chicks just need some good lovin’.
b. My GPA needs the help, and why not? I might learn something.
c. I want to understand how centuries of oppression have hurt women, who are the most amazing creatures on Earth.

6. Your girlfriend or wife makes more money than you. Your reaction?
a. Feel threatened and make sideways slams about her potentially having man-parts.
b. Feel a little weirded out sometimes, but support her ambitions.
c. Quit your job as soon as possible to stay home and learn how to make a perfect soufflé.

7. You are on a first date. Who pays the check?
a. Me. Always.
b. Whoever asks, pays. But I’d feel more comfortable paying.
c. We split the check, down to the penny. I brought a calculator.

8. I open doors for women because:
a. It’s a great way to check out her ass.
b. It’s the polite thing to do.
c. I don’t open doors, it’s chauvinistic.

9. You spot an attractive woman on the Metro. She’s wearing sweats and appears to be on her way home from the gym. What do you do?
a. Compliment her on having a great body and inquire about her workout routine.
b. Smile and say hello, but back off if she doesn’t make eye contact or seems uncomfortable.
c. Have an entire imaginary relationship with her over the course of four stops and a transfer, but don’t actually approach her.

10. In your serious relationships, who is the first to say, “I love you”?
a. Her. Almost always.
b. About 50/50 split.
c. Me. Almost always.

11. Quick! What’s the difference between a BMW 318 and a BMW 325?
a. None. Both are total chick magnets.
b. One has a four cylinder engine, the other has six.
c. Seven?

12. Your girl had a bad day at work and starts crying. Do you:
a. Suggest she look for a new job.
b. Feel a bit helpless and embarrassed, but ask her how you can help.
c. Make her some tea and try not to cry yourself.

13. You are going to a fairly upscale restaurant with a date. You hope she’ll wear:
a. A cleavage-baring top and high heels.
b. A little black dress.
c. A t-shirt and jeans.

14. You once got in a fistfight because:
a. A guy looked at me funny.
b. I was defending myself.
c. I’ve never been in a fight.

15. When you think about marriage, your biggest fear is:
a. All those hot chicks you’ll miss out on banging.
b. Marrying the wrong person.
c. That she’ll cheat on you.

Now, tally up your scores.

If you scored mostly a’s, you are a Macho Meathead:
Meatheads embrace that swaggering, ass-kicking alpha male form of masculinity. You’ll punch a guy, then buy him a Scotch. You eat nails for breakfast, and you nail chicks for dinner. You think you’re hot stuff.

Thing is, you’re not. It’s all bluster and overcompensation. True masculinity is a whole lot less showy. Plus, you treat women like dirt. Certain types of women will be attracted to you, but they will mostly be clingy, brainless and neurotic.

The remedy: dial down the testosterone. Develop listening skills, a bit of sensitivity, and don’t get in stupid barfights.

If you scored mostly b’s, you are Masculine:
You’re comfortable being a guy. You don’t itch for a fight, but will defend yourself if attacked. You treat women honorably, but don’t engage in fawning adoration and you don’t idealize them. You can do typical "guy stuff" like change a tire, unclog a drain, or operate a grill. You're a guy's guy who can also pick out a bottle of wine. In short, you are what you should be and therefore appealing to many kinds of women.

Congratulations! You require no remedy.

If you scored mostly c’s, you are a Mouse:
You spent your formative years getting your butt kicked. You pull sensitive wounded artist routines to obtain a pity screw. You’re also the guy whose chief breakup routine is a complete disappearing act. You call AAA for the most minor of problems, you can't grill a steak, and you cry during long distance phone commercials. You really and truly need to grow a pair.

The remedy: You need to go to Man School. Buy a toolkit. Get in a barfight. Toughen up. Sheesh.

DISCLAIMER: This quiz is all in good fun. If you are upset about your results, chill. Freaking because a random chick on the Internet assailed your masculinity is SO not masculine.

And I dare my male readers to post their results, and for readers of both genders to post their analyses.

Men of Style

I admit that most Washington fashion crimes are committed by women. Ugly chunky clodhopper shoes? White stockings? Sweatpants with words across the fanny? All things that only women inflict upon the landscape.

However, let's focus on straight men. Guys, if you do any of the following things, please cease and desist. Then meet me at Pentagon City and we'll sort out a new wardrobe for you. Gays, keep on doing your thing.

1. Mandals. Men in sandals, unless your feet are clean, relatively furless and extremely well taken care of. If your toenails are yellow, cover them up!
2. Ties which are too short. A tie should touch the tip of your belt. If it is shorter, it makes you look like a dork. A dork with a potbelly.
3. White sneakers anywhere except for the gym. For that matter, any workout clothes when you're not at the gym.
4. Manties. As in, man panties (thanks, Rowena). Formally known as briefs. Tighty whities among the teen set. Don't wear 'em, your girlfriends and wives hate them. Though, of course, the nadir of male undergarment is and always will be the man-thong. Seriously, guys, leave the lingerie to the girls.
5. Extremely tight shirts. I do not want to see your nipples. This category also includes tank tops.
6. Dress shoes with white socks. C'mon guys, your moms told you this one 20 years ago.
7. Those chunky nerdy hipster glasses. They were played out three years ago.
8. Jeans with pre-fading, tapers, extra zippers, whiskering, or really any sort of frippery.
9. T-shirts with brand names on them. You just paid for the privelege of being a Nike billboard, sucker.
10. Anything stained, torn, battered, or otherwise gross.
11. Last, but not least, tan suits. Khaki is not a suit fabric. If you are Southern, and have the accent and manners to prove it, you have my permission to wear seersucker from Memorial to Labor Day. Otherwise, please stick to suits in black, gray, or navy.

So, men of Washington: Look neat and clean, wear things that fit properly, and don't look like you slept in what you're wearing. A basic jeans and tee outfit is always good. And ditch the metrosexual thing, please. Let the girls be the pretty ones.

Monday, October 29, 2007

A Very Trashy Halloween to You, Too

Hey Pretty said it much better than me, but...when did Halloween become a fleshfest?

Granted, I went as a dominatrix for Halloween many years ago, but at least that was funny (I'm so not the physical type for that kind of outfit). I went to a Halloween party on Saturday in which there were only two women in their 30s: me, and the friend that I went with. Everyone else was very young and perhaps a little underdressed. Why be a plain old fairy or nurse, when you can be the scantily dressed version?

In other news, go see the 3-D version of The Nightmare Before Christmas. And, in other other news, I still need a job.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Fear of Russia Film Festival

Last night I watched Red Dawn, that 80s tribute to isolationism, guerrila warfare, and the prospect of a badass C. Thomas Howell. (For another badass C. Thomas Howell film, check out my July 2003 review of him cavorting with Brian Austin Green.) And why on Earth would I watch this flick? Well, because I wasn't allowed to back to the 80s, because my mom declared it was paranoid American pro-gun silliness. As usual, Mom was right.

I'll admit a few things: I now have the wild urge to call out, "Wolverines!" as I make my way around the office. Patrick Swayze was sort of cute when he was young. And, yes, I flinched a few times during the endless killings.

But, the overall film was so ridiculous that I couldn't get into it. Since when are high schools strategic points worthy of a full-scale invasion? Why did their horses disappear for almost four months? Why couldn't I keep track of who anyone was? And, most importantly, why did Toni receive the same mortal wound twice?

But this has given me an inspiration. I would like my Netflix queue to reflect a white-knuckle fear of the Soviets. So I'm following up Red Dawn with The Day After (nuclear strikes on Lawrence, Kansas). I tried to get Amerika (the Soviets machine-gun Congress), but it's not available on DVD. Any other ideas for a Cold War Film Fest?

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Adventures in Retail

Have you ever wodnered where creepy knicknacks come from? Sunday I made a stop at Marshall's to look for some throw pillows. To find the pillows, however, I had to wade through several aisles of discount dregs, mismatched pots and pans, and leopard print ottomans. Then I found the Repository of Creepy Knicknacks.

In the tchotchke aisle (between the bath mats and the photo frames), I was assaulted by the sight of dozens of eyes upon me. These eyes belonged to a veritable zoo of animal statuettes. There was a hot pink wiener dog, all dressed up in a ceramic hot dog bun. The wiener dog even had a boyfriend: a pastel blue ceramic wiener dog wearing a tie. While I didn't spot any spooky owls, I did see a few eerie little angry crystal roosters and a cow that looked like it wanted to murder my family.

Worst of all were the penguins. Menacing penguins, leering penguins, smirking penguins. An entire selection of penguins! Really, does anyone like penguins that much? Did anyone consider how bizarre it is to confront an entire shelf of emotionally disturbed penguins?

It was just too weird for words. Moral of the story: next time you're at Grandma's house, and she shows you her collection of appalling ceramics, you'll know she bought them at Marshall's.

Monday, October 22, 2007

How was YOUR Weekend?

Mine was so full it's going to take several posts to cover it all. I'll start with Friday's oddball evening.

Friday night I planned on stopping by the DC Bloggers Happy Hour at Chi-Cha. Logistical hiccup #1: due to other engagements, I could only be there right as it started at 8:00, and only for one drink. Logistical hiccup #2: I only know one of the bloggers and she wasn't expected to get there at the beginning. Therefore, I was attending an event where I had absolutely no idea what anyone looked like. My instructions were to look for a guy who is 6'4". Logistical hiccup, #3: every single person in the bar was slouched down onto sofas, meaning I had no way of figuring out anyone's height.

Hrm. Problematic, no? So, I had two options. 1. Go from group to group, ask people if they had blogs. Look like weirdo. 2. Sit at bar, get beer, eavesdrop until I could figure out which group to join. Feeling lazy and out of sorts, I chose Option 2.

Option 2 completely changed the course of my evening. The bar scene looks out for people who smile, so I made new friends within minutes. My most interesting new friend was a bipolar recovering alcoholic who was coming down off a four-day manic phase. He'd told me this in the course of attempting to pick me up. I explained that I was taken, and that he may want to reconsider his overall marketing strategy.

I tend to like people a whole lot better once they stop trying to impress me. This goes double for men who are hitting on me. So, once this guy realized I had no pickup potential, he turned out to be pretty nice, interesting and fun to chat with. Anyone who will say they're bipolar and stopped in to a bar to get out of the rain on their way to an AA meeting is someone worth getting acquainted with.

By the time I extricated myself from the conversation, I was vaguely aware that I was sitting smack in the middle of a bunch of bloggers. But unfortunately I had to leave and meet up with some folks at Velvet Lounge. I was already running a bit late, and tardiness stresses me out.

So, the moral of the story: DC bloggers, I'm really, really sorry I didn't get to meet you. If you noticed a chick at the bar in a black dress and Chuck Taylors, looking both enthusiastic yet perplexed, that was me. I'll catch you next time.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Settling for Second Best

Now that we have scientific proof, why do so many women still settle for second best?;_ylt=AoxVhc8e.go0rygK238A80UPLBIF

Feminism isn't the stereotype of burning bras, hairy armpits and seething anger. It's always easy to demonize those that try to upset the status quo. The key tenet of feminism is to have a healthy regard for your own value. Not surprisingly, people with healthy self-esteem have healthier relationships. You can't love someone else until you can love yourself. (One day I want a job where I get pots and pots of grant money to restate the obvious.)

But I still encounter women who settle for second best. Why date the guy who already has a girlfriend? You can't make a meal out of another woman's leftovers. Why are you making less money than the guy two cubicles over? Your groceries cost the same as his, you work just as hard as he does, and you don't do that annoying snorting thing all day like he does.

Of course, there are consequences. The guy with the girlfriend will almost certainly dump you. Your boss may very well turn you down for that raise. A person with low self-esteem will see themselves as single and trapped in a low-paid job. A person with healthy self-esteem will set off in search of a new boyfriend and a new job. Nothing's the end of the world.

And it's a process. It took years for me, and decades for others. Self-worth, like anything worth having, is something you achieve. It doesn't just appear because you want it.

Once you start taking care of yourself, life gets a whole lot easier. Trust me.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Another Bizarre Meal with Bob

Bob and I took a trip to the Eastern Shore over the weekend, and had a disappointing and thoroughly baffling restaurant experience. We had decided to have a stroll around town and have dinner wherever looked interesting. We settled on Scossa.

Once we walked in the door, though, I totally ceased to understand what was happening. Seriously, I felt like we'd wandered through some sort of restaurant world Looking Glass. I've never eaten anywhere so weird (and that includes the place with the Turkish toilet).

There seemed to be three hosts, none of whom could agree as to whether we could have a table. We asked to peruse a menu to see if we wanted to eat there (no menus were posted outside) and this simple request required two different people to fulfill it, along with a flurry of activity.

Before we had a chance to slip out unnoticed, we were emphatically ushered to a table. The food, which should have been a highlight, was a disappointment. Each entree was priced over 25 dollars, and the portions were skimpy. I'm a small person who usually only eats half of her entree, and I left the restaurant absolutely starving.

The food itself? My salmon tasted like it had been soaked for hours in margarine, and the endive was slimy in texture. Ugh.

Oh, and did I mention that we appeared to have two different waitresses, a waiter, AND a random woman who dashed off with Bob's coat without really checking with us first (and therefore swiping his wallet)?

Once my initial confusion had subsided, I noticed we were in Married Couple Date Night Hell. We were surrounded by ladies with pastel turtlenecks, big hair and sour expressions, and their embittered, desperately bored husbands.

And, last and most annoying of all, we were seated next to two very drunk couples who had brought along a small child. The child was being ignored in favor of pouring more wine, and proceeded to get cranky and howl intermittently throughout the meal. No effort was made to take him outside until he could calm down. I don't really mind kids in restaurants, I think it's good to expose children to different environments and cuisines. But proceeding to get tanked while your child howls in misery is beyond ridiculous. Especially since it was well after that kid's bedtime.

Restaurant experiences shouldn't be so hectic and confusing. And if they're going to charge $25 for mediocre food, can I at least have something that fills me up? Eesh. We went to a pub afterwards and split an order of inexpensive peel and eat shrimp. And it was about a hundred times better than the offerings of Scossa. Seriously, stay away.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007


I am a complete and total coward when it comes to illness. This is most likely due to my bizarre and checkered health history. I once caught May. I had an emergency appendectomy, including a gift-with-purchase case of peritonitis. Last year was a revolving door of recurrent kidney infections. There was the Summer of Epstein-Barr. Food poisoning. And so on. I am a repository of angry, fussy, uncommon germs.

Sunday evening I found myself with a bit of the sniffles and a feeling of complete exhaustion. I decided this meant I was most likely going to die. Or, at the very least, be carted off to a hospital and experimented upon with red-hot tongs by white-fanged nurses. So I did what any sane person would do: I went to bed. And, boy howdy, did I sleep.

At 7 pm, I crawled into bed. I woke up at 8 the next morning, groggy and woozy and snuffly. I called in sick to work, crawled back into bed, and slept until after 11. I spent the rest of the day cradling glasses of ginger ale and huddled in front of DVDs, a backlog of newspapers, and this month's issue of Elle Decor. I figure the best thing to do when sick is to get better. And getting better means rest, fluids, and the films of Wes Anderson.

Amazingly, the office carried on without me, the world did not spin off its axis, and I am now back at work. Nothing like 16 hours of sleep and a 2-liter bottle of Schweppes to cure what ails you.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Cruise Director Julie?

I'm a planner. An anticipator. A logistical freak. A Type A cliche.

Those are all very handy things to be on the job. I'm a professional secretary, so those traits are my bread and butter. Are you attending a conference in Vancouver on 10 days notice, with no hotel, no rental car, a flight reimbursement cap of $750, and a meeting back in DC the following morning? I'm your girl. I can throw the whole thing togther for you in 30 minutes.

If your office is a mess, I'll fix it. I'll inflict my organizational systems on you, along with a heavy dose of Secretarial Zen philosophy. You'll love every minute of it. I truly enjoy scheduling, organizing, and coordinating.

I've noticed, however, that these traits are far less appealing in my personal life. Friends hesitate to invite me over, in case I secretly optimize their closet space while they're off answering the phone. (Of course, some friends invite me over in the secret hope that I'll reorganize their closets for them.)

I spend a lot of my free time cruise directing happy hours, home-cooked dinners, and museum outings. My calendar is booked well in advance. Not RSVPing, no-showing, and last-minute flakeouts can give me an insurmountable case of the crankies.

So I'm always left with the same dilemma. I gotta be me, but how do I avoid freaking people out? Do I have to tamp down the control freak aspects of my personality, or should I just continue my hyperscheduling and allow people to fall in line if they want to? Who knows?

Friday, October 05, 2007

Vacation, All I Ever Wanted...

I have a 5-day weekend coming up, and I couldn't be happier about it. The last time I had any sort of real break, it was Christmas. I've been getting a bit burned out, truth be told, and need a few days to recharge.

No, I'm not going anywhere. No, I'm not doing anything in particular. I'm staying in town, mostly because I'm too broke to go anywhere, and partially because going anywhere is too much of a hassle to be relaxing.

So far I'm having a friend over for dinner, going to a party, and having lunch with a former coworker. I'm also getting my hair cut, which has become a stark necessity. If I were a superhero, I'd be The Human Kudzu. My hair and nails grow at an alarming rate. My bangs have gone from cute forehead decor to bizarre growths covering most of my face.

Beyond that, I might redecorate the bathroom, sleep in, and get rid of random junk. I couldn't be more thrilled.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Keep Your Catharsis in a Nightstand Drawer

There appears to be a theme this week. Anonymous blogging, standing up for yourself, but not being blunt. Here's what they all add up to: free speech is not a free pass. This post is adapted from some comments I left on I Now Pronounce You. (

Years ago, I briefly dated a guy. Who was, incidentally, wrong for me in so many ways that it boggles the mind. We got in an argument, and he posted something truly cutting about me on his blog (basically, calling me a nutjob). His name wasn’t on it, and my name wasn’t on it, but it still hurt like hell. Anyone who knew either of us could have figured it out.

When I emailed him about it, he refused to apologize. There was a whole Internet out there for the taking, and I could just read something else. It was anonymous. The blog was his own personal catharsis, and he could do with it what he wished.

Personal catharsis is a diary kept in your nightstand drawer. A blog is out there for all the world to see. It isn't personal. If you wouldn’t, couldn't or shouldn't say it, then it doesn't belong on your blog. It was bad enough getting bashed by a boy whose name I've since forgotten, I can’t even imagine how I’d feel if a close friend or family member did it.

Public catharsis is a new thing in our society (thank you, Internet and reality TV!) and it’s something to be very carefully considered. People are so connected to one another that true anonymity is impossible. Privacy is over. An anonymous blog is never anonymous, ever. Someone will find you. If you really want to say whatever you want however you want, keep a diary.

Sometimes I inadvertently offend people I care about (my blog isn’t anonymous, after all, and never has been), and I try to make amends. I don’t brush off the person I hurt by telling them to look elsewhere. I blog about what it's like to be divorced, but I don’t discuss my ex or our relationship. That’s between me, my girlfriends, and a tasty glass of beer. I also don't discuss employers or my work except in very general terms.

I think the key thing to remember about a blog post is that it's there for the whole world to read, forever and ever. It’s a permanent thing, and it’s a responsibility. Some people just don’t want to read about themselves, and they don’t want their issues out there for everyone to see. Sometimes, if someone is hurt, the honorable thing to do is to see their side of it, delete the post, and apologize. Some people choose to be open, others choose to be private. I don't have the right to make that choice for anyone but myself.

But not always. It’s a tough call to make, but I usually err on the side of protecting the people I care about. I simply don’t have the right to hurt people, and free speech is not a free pass: there are always consequences to everything you write.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

You Aren't Being Honest When You're Just Being Rude!

Yesterday's post about "nonconfrontational" cowardice left out a really important thing. Standing up for yourself doesn't give you a license to be cruel or a bully.

At work, I occasionally leave the Post's live chats up on my screen when I'm addressing envelopes, sitting on hold, or doing other repetitive tasks. Having something to look at is a great way to prevent burnout. Today's chat was by Tom Sietsema, the Post's food critic.

I read a post by a patron at Brasserie Beck claiming that a waitress bullied him, then used the excuse, "I'm a blunt person." I just HAD to weigh in on that one, and enjoyed the following exchange with Sietsema:

"I'm a blunt person...": Ha! A waitress described herself as blunt? That usually means, "I'm very rude and think tact is for suckers, but I frame it as being blunt so people think it's charming." Tact is essential to good service. If you're "blunt", get out of the restaurant business and go work at the DMV. Seriously, that's the best laugh I've had in weeks.

Tom Sietsema: "If you're blunt, get out of the restaurant business and go work at the DMV" --- or CVS, I would add!

It bugs me to no end when people describe themselves as blunt. These are the same people that trample your heart and then say, "Well, I was just being honest!" Honesty is telling your friend that the purple sweater has a cute shape, but the color washes her out. Cruelty is telling your friend that the purple sweater makes her look like a big fat grape crossed with a zombie soldier.

So, yes, stand up for yourself. Speak up. Just don't be blunt. Blunt is code for trying to get away with mistreating others, but framing it as a cute little personality quirk. Blunt people are little more than bullies. And bullies are never cute.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Are You Nonconfrontational or Just a Big Fat Wuss?

I took Intro to Psychology in college. In fact, it was one of the few A's I received in my college career. The handy thing about a little bit of knowledge is that you can spout utter BS and sound totally convincing.

In fact, I'm convinced many Americans received A's in Intro to Psychology. Because that would explain all the psychobabble tomfoolery that surrounds me everywhere I go.

My particular beef is with the term, "nonconfrontational." Back in my day, when Sinatra ruled the airwaves, coffee cost a nickel, and you hand-cranked your car, we had another word for nonconfrontational people. We called them cowards.

Think about it. That guy who just faded away instead of breaking up with you. The receptionist who never corrects you when you call her Mary instead of Marie (leaving you to find out her correct name by reading the cake at her going-away party). The friend who always seems to get bad service in restaurants, but never asks to speak to a manager.

These people are all "nonconfrontational." What that really means is that they're torturing themselves long-term to avoid momentary discomfort. These people are being ruled by their fears, avoiding all semblance of speaking up for what they want. They'd much rather stay quiet and leave the guesswork to us.

But, in a way, it's cruel to be nonconfrontational. It's selfish to leave other people guessing because you're not brave enough to say what's on your mind. I do get that speaking your mind can be a difficult thing. We all fear the drawbacks of speaking up. A scene, a shouting match, rejection, being ignord, or, in the case of bad restaurant service, a bit of waiter DNA in your pasta primavera. It often takes me a week or two to stand up for myself, because I worry about framing my concerns in the exact perfect way. Ugh.

The anticipation is always worse than the outcome. Always. So, next time your girlfriend wears that perfume that makes you sneeze, your boss leaves a moldy coffee mug on your desk, or your friend flakes on your birthday, speak up. I mean, really, what's the worst that can happen?

Monday, October 01, 2007

Hipsters of D.C., I Am Not Impressed

Sunday, I went to Crafty Bastards with Roxanne, Dave and Sean. Crafty Bastards, as the hipper-than-thou title suggests, is a CityPaper-sponsored craft fair in Adams Morgan.

Well, theoretically, I was there with Rox, Dave and Sean. But the hordes were so pushy, thick, and intense that we lost track of each other within ten minutes. It was hot, crowded and loud. You had to stand in line to look at any of the craft booths.

And, really, there wasn't much to look at. Hey, look! A hipster silkscreened t-shirt! And another! And another! Throw in a few overpriced handbags and some chunky jewelry, and you've covered the entire fair in just three booths.

I think there are a few things that could have been done better. I think they could have eliminated at least a third of the vendors, as they were all selling the same stuff anyway. This would have given the rest of us a little more room to walk around. There could also have been more refreshment stands, and fewer sport utility strollers (seriously, do you really need a stroller the size of a small car? How big is a baby, really?)

I'll definitely give it a pass next year. Give me Eastern Market anytime - even when it's mobbed, there's enough variety that you don't really mind.