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Posts Tagged ‘dreadlocks’

21. Female Backpacker Type A

Sunday, August 16th, 2009

Female Backacker Type A is a proud species. She’s a major overcompensator who goes to great lengths to be cool. She tries to be one of the dudes, and in many cases, she is. So in her defence, at least she knows how to have a good time.

She’s a party animal. She’s crude. She’s promiscuous. She pretends to not give a shit about her appearance or she goes halfway with it. For example, her clothes are tattered but she makes enough of an effort to shave her armpits and wear eye make-up. She used to be hot in high school, but she has since developed a fat ass and cankles, which is why so many guys are on the fence about hooking up with her: Her face is cute, but her body is a train wreck, mostly because she parties too damn much (see 20. Getting “wubes”). She wears baggy cargo shorts, birks, hemp jewelry, wifebeaters and sometimes rocks the dreads. She has tattoos and a few piercings. Cute face, though.

female-backpacker-type-a2If I were to cast her in a movie, I’d choose somebody like Pink or Minnie Driver.

The thing that annoys me the most about Female Backpacker Type A is that she’s a blatant chameleon: She will self-transform to blend into any social situation and be accepted like everybody else. If The Gibbon Experience is perceived as the hip, edgy eco-tourism activity du jour, she is all over it. She’s out there promoting it like it’s the best thing since sliced bread, because  nobody knows about it (you find out later they’re booked solid for the next four months so, in actuality, everybody DOES know about it).

She’s so adventurous. If you want to know how adventurous, just ask her. She’ll cannonball off a cliff with reckless abandon, just like the fellas. She’d love to tell you about it because she’s a prolific feemou. She’s such a one-upper (see Kristen Wiig’s SNL character, Penelope), that regardless of the topic of conversation, she has something to add, relative to her own superior experience. But it’s all a facade. She’s bought into every cliche in the Backpacker’s Bible, not because she believes it, but because she thinks people will like her more if she does. A true chameleon.

I really shouldn’t complain because I’m all for women’s rights and Female Backpacker Type A is in many ways the prototype for the independent woman in 2009**. I think the bicep flexing WWII-era lady with the red polka-dot bandana was that generation’s Female Backpacker Type A. I’ve previously written that backpacking, like comic flatulence, is more of a guy’s thing, which is why hot chicks don’t do it (see 3. Where are the Hot Girls?). Well, Female Backpacker Type A is unafraid to rip a nasty fart. So, maybe I’m wrong and she actually doesn’t care what people think. If that’s the case, then you go girl.

“Some of us are becoming the men we wanted to marry.” - Gloria Steinem

“Man is defined as a human being and a woman as a female — whenever she behaves as a human being she is said to imitate the male.” - Simone de Beauvoir

“Men are not the enemy, but the fellow victims. The real enemy is women’s denigration of themselves.” - Betty Friedan

** My ESP must really be kickin’ in today: NY Times article about Female Soldiers.

18. Playing Guitar

Wednesday, July 15th, 2009

guitar

Say what you will about people who play guitar on a backpacking trip, but there is no denying: IT IS A PLOY*.

But wait, there are people that just really love music. Some of them can play guitar and they want to share their talent with the world. I don’t believe it for a second. Not while backpacking. Carrying a guitar around while traveling is a huge hassle. (My buddy, Jeff, writes: Who actually travels with a guitar? It immediately puts you into excess baggage everywhere.  They are fragile, and temperature/humidity sensitive.) And you’re telling me these altruistic troubadours are inconveniencing themselves for the sake of a simple love of music? Not a chance. They do it to get laid.

It works. I’ve seen it. So have you — admit it. Some dude whips out a guitar at a beach/campground fire or in a hostel common area and proceeds to strum some of the lamest shit detectable by the human ear. Nevertheless, because most girls love musicians and manage to overlook the ugliness (or fatness/dreadlocks/dirtiness/awful hipster style) of supposedly talented (or, in other cases, wealthy) men, these guitarists indeed kill women softly… with their song. It’s a classic case of guys batting out of their league (i.e. score chicks who would otherwise ignore them completely). It’s unlikely, but it happens. It’s similar to how underdogs pull off upsets at March Madness.

The worst part is, they made Juicy Fruit commercials mocking this type of behavior, yet the crime persists worldwide. While the perpetrators might not be wearing ski sweaters, they offend with covers of the usual suspects: Ben Harper, Jack Johnson, Bob Marley, Pearl Jam, Dave Matthews Band, RHCP, Nirvana, Radiohead, Oasis (esp. “Wonderwall”), James Blunt, etc. (Jeff adds: I left out John Mayer and John Butler because usually the douchebags can’t figure out the tuning.) After witnessing a scruffy, nondescript guy woo a group of gorgeous Swiss girls with his rendition of “High and Dry” and proceed to sleep with two of the girls on consecutive nights, one of my friends had seen enough. He bought a guitar upon returning home that fall.

The best part? The guys’ game faces as they belt out the lyrics, often with their eyes closed. Priceless.

Some of these guys, however, don’t even play well. For example, there’s that scene in Role Models where the one guy brings a guitar on the camping trip and starts playing a song, only to screw it up, stop and start over again repeatedly. (Jeff: In between each song is a healthy beenou about how “my band back home puts on one hell of a show.”  Well sir, I have news for you. It doesn’t. Your band back home sucks. That’s why no one’s heard of you, you’re playing powerchords poorly, and you resort to just tapping the guitar and bobbing your head to cover the parts you don’t know.)

It always made me wonder, though: How much ass could the real Jack Johnson get, if he actually went backpacking (consider, too, that he’s a former pro surfer)? It blows my mind.

*Ploy (noun): A display of fake talent, intelligence or compassion performed in order to impress members of the opposite sex, and ultimately, to get laid. Men, particularly those on major sex droughts, are more likely to resort to ploys. Common backpacker ploys include: volunteering for NGOs; speaking a foreign language; being good with children and animals; caring about art, religion, world politics, the environment, feminism, gay rights, local inhabitants, and people with disabilities; disapproving of wild partying, drug use and promiscuity; and playing guitar.

13. Vegetarians

Friday, June 19th, 2009

“I don’t go around promoting beef or poultry, shoving it in people’s faces. I don’t castigate people for eating steak sandwiches… I’ve seen some of you herbivores and if you wanna argue health, y’all need to eat some kinda supplement.” - Immortal Technique, “Beef and Broccoli” (Album: Revolutionary Vol. 1)

Eschew McDonalds if you want. I don’t care. But if you go traveling and some poor local family invites into their home and they offer you some food with meat in it, eat it. The head of the household works his/her fingers to the bone at some despicable multinational factory for that protein, so you better eat it. Their family doesn’t shop at Whole Foods and they certainly can’t afford GNC supplements. Besides, if you’re so open-minded, you should check your prejudice at the door and try something new, right?

Still, if you insist on being a vegetarian, don’t tell me it’s for the damn animals. Unless you’re a hard-core, badass vegetarian living in a treehouse in the middle of a forest somewhere waiting to eat the apple that falls off the tree, you’re using animal products. I saw you eating gummi bears the other day and last I checked, those shoes aren’t hemp. Your necklace is though.

But it’s the preachiness of it all that kills me. Backpackers are huge preachers. And most preachers are hypocrites. Even Martin Luther King had a fling on the side. Just do your thing. I won’t attack you. But don’t attack me when I’m elbow deep into a rotisserie chicken.

Part of being a backpacker is being broke. Making the most of a tight budget. You don’t sleep in hostels by choice; it’s out of necessity. Desperate times call for desperate measures: I’ve had to cut down my meat intake when I was traveling and strapped for cash. It sucked. As soon as I could eat meat again, dude, I was on it.

Maybe it’s a fashion statement. After all, it goes well with your whole backpacker motif: hemp necklace, cargo shorts, Birkenstocks, dreadlocks (or even worse, white girls with corn rows - they end up lookin’ like Sprewell), book about Buddhism in your bag and Ben Harper/Jack Johnson albums on your iPod.

Here’s a story for you:  A reformed vegetarian, Jack Johnson now serves as an important role model to backpackers everywhere. Apparently there is still hope for clued out hippies. “If anybody invites me over, I eat whatever they serve,” he said. See? He figured it out. It wasn’t worth all the pretending.