Dear Uptight Seattleite,What does it mean when a woman wears a Utilikilt?Honestly Puzzled
Dear Honestly,Is this a case of gender-bending so far it returns to its original position? Only if you think there's something unmanly about Utilikilts. I used to have one, but that doesn't mean I'm somehow defensive about this subject. No one should read anything into my decision to never, ever wear one again. It's not as if comments shouted out of a passing school bus could have affected me. Water off a duck's back. Dust in the wind—that once passed so refreshingly between my Utilikilted thighs.Dear Uptight Seattleite,I'm waiting with some other people at a crosswalk when some guy totally jaywalks, leaving the rest of us feeling like dorks for standing there even though there are no cars coming. Should we feel like dorks?Sherry Sheep
Dear Sherry,The myth about Seattleites is that we're stridently anti-jaywalking. That's about as ridiculous as the idea that we listen to grunge on our houseboats all day while drinking Starbucks and using Windows OS. The truth is much more nuanced. For example, in the situation you describe, feeling like a dork is certainly an option, but there are three others. One: Waiting for the light while looking nobly into the distance and taking no notice of the jaywalker. This is the safest and most popular choice. Two: Jaywalking yourself. You have to do this almost instantaneously if you want to make it look as though you happened to have the same idea as him, and are not just a mindless follower. Three: Pretending that the jaywalker has awoken you from some philosophical reverie, and then crossing the street with an air of, "Huh, wouldja look at that? I guess there aren't any cars coming after all!" This doesn't require the same reaction time as Option Two, but still must be executed within three seconds to make it look plausible. After that, you're pretty much stuck with Option One or Option Dork Feel.Dear Uptight Seattleite,I know a guy who wears a keffiyeh. Does that mean something?Dee "Diddle" Dorsmouth
Dear Dee "Diddle,"Of course not. Remember when the right-wingnuts freaked out about Rachael Ray wearing one in that Dunkin' Donuts online ad? That was pretty darn silly, and typical of the American fear of anything vaguely foreign. So don't hesitate to compliment this guy on his keffiyeh. Just don't forget to make that throat-clearing sound on the "k" to show your awareness of the word's ethnic origins: "Hey, nice kkkkccchhhkkka-FEE-ya!" Don't worry about overdoing it, though it's not necessary actually to break into a coughing fit.But hang on a minute. Is the person in question actually from the Middle East? It's just terrible what's happening over there; so much misunderstanding and hatred. If you don't mind, I'd rather not get into the specifics too much. It's pretty complex, after all. What's that? Why does every candidate for president feel compelled to reaffirm their strong support for Israel? And how is it possible to negotiate with a group like Hamas? Um, excuse me, but those seem like loaded questions. Is there something offensive lurking behind those questions? If so, I am fully prepared to be offended. Don't even tempt me. In conclusion, I would also like to reaffirm my support for greater understanding between opposing groups.That pretty much settles that, but still leaves one other problem: What if you're not sure if this person is actually Middle Eastern or not? In that case, follow the rule you would with a woman who may or may not be pregnant: Don't say a word.Dear Uptight Seattleite,My laid-off friend has been spending her time knitting scarves for everyone she knows. But they're pretty bad scarves. Do we have to wear them?I Feel Silly About My Neck
Dear Silly About My Neck,I still have my job, thank Shiva, but I know a lot of people who've lost theirs. So far these people have managed to keep up their spirits pretty well. Along with a blow-softening severance package, there seems to be a certain giddiness that helps ease the shock of termination—an element of "Haha, imagine me getting laid off!" I endorse this giddiness, but worry that as we enter the dreary post-holiday months, it may be harder to maintain the proper spirit of levity. Everyone with a laid-off friend should do as much as possible to help that friend stay loose and positive. What this means for you, Silly About My Neck, is that you do indeed have to wear that lumpy green and orange scarf. It's going to get a lot colder before it warms up.Have a question for the Uptight Seattleite? Send it to firstname.lastname@example.org.