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The Girls Issue

I Turned Normal for a Week

VICE recently asked me to become a normal girl for a week and document it. I guess a big reason they asked me to do it is because I take a lot of self-portraits and I can come across as a pretty disgusting person.
JW
Κείμενο Jaimie Warren
1.1.07

Ready to get some credit in the straight world.

Vice recently asked me to become a normal girl for a week and document it. I guess a big reason they asked me to do it is because I take a lot of self-portraits and I can come across as a pretty disgusting person. I have a horrible sense of style, and though it may be kind of funny, I think the pictures are probably of interest because I basically look gross and weird. So to start off, I had to decide what a normal girl is. I pictured the kind of chick who works a boring job during the day, is kind of quiet and opinionless, spends several hours getting ready to go out even though she looks virtually the same when she’s done, is fit and image-conscious, and when the weekend rolls around she’s a party girl wearing Bebe clothes who gets totally wasted with her girlfriends. That’s what first popped into my head and I ran with it. Just so you understand where I’m coming from, here’s me. I live in Kansas City, Missouri. And no, it’s not a cornfield town where we don’t know what email or sushi is. It’s just a plain old small-ish city. We still know where to go to dance to shitty Top 40 rap, we know what a martini is, we have bars with happy hours, and we have country clubs. So I was basically all set to be normal. YES! I guess you should also know about my actual life, too. My friends and I throw what I think are amazing parties with weird themes and we dress up a lot and do tons of weird stuff to entertain ourselves. Like we might all dress up really goth to crash a gross punk/ska night at a college bar or we might all decide to just walk the streets as zombies for fun or I might decide to be really punk while waiting tables or we may all decide to be Karen O at the local hillbilly karaoke dive or we might walk around town like we’re in a band and I’m the nasty lead singer in a nudie suit and spandex eating pizza or we might crash some bitch’s wedding-reception party dressed like a fucking fancy fish. Whatever!! Now this may sound hugely awesome, but the downside to not caring about looking good or acting cool is that you never meet anyone new to impress! I think that the “normal” in me was kind of in to the idea of acting like I was in a new city or acting like the girls who go out all the time acting like they don’t already know everybody they see at the same bars every week. When I need an accomplice, I always call my lovely friend Chloe. She was more than willing to dust off her oatmeal-colored hand-knit floor-length sweater-jacket and facial bronzer for the occasion, and this way she could snap some pics of me while I tried to “work it.” I started off by getting everything I needed to really immerse myself in this new persona. I took diet pills twice daily, I spent several hours fixing my hair and doing my makeup, I did my at-home aerobics-tape workouts, I whitened my teeth with those strip things, and I filed, plucked, tweezed, polished, smoothed, coated, lathered, lotioned, de-frizzed, and de-tangled. Though I’m not so used to getting up three and a half hours early to get ready to step outside, I will say that the diet pills gave me a massive energy boost, all while completely diminishing my hunger. I even lost seven pounds in one week! Woo-hoo! So are you ready for my week of being normal? Here we go! JAIMIE WARREN

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This is me pre-normalizing (I dressed up all punk to wait tables).

This is what normal girls wear.

At the spa.

Dressed up normal for a holiday dinner.

I had a mini panic attack in the room at the tanning place.

I even brought cookies to the dinner.

The heart glasses were a bit of flair that walked the edge between normal and quirky.

Gym time!

I got our waiter to feed me.

Day Five
After the daily morning routine, which was like second nature by this point, I went and did a bit more shopping at the mall for an outfit for my big date. Yes, it’s true! I scored a rendezvous through my recently acquired match.com profile! He cyber-winked at me, we exchanged awkward convo, and it was on! The date is the night after tomorrow and I am hella pumped. His username is musicman1063, mine’s 00mistletoe00, and he seems like the real thing! Ooooooh, yeah! He’s never been married, he’s not sure if he wants kids, he’s a cigar aficionado, he’s spiritual but not religious, and his profile says: “I stay busy, can you keep up? I also like time alone so I need someone that is secure and independent. No cling-ons. I love to do things outdoors—camping, Frisbee, discgolf, and above all, skydiving. Although I don’t possess a great deal of artistic ability, I have a deep appreciation, and passion for all forms of art—music, poetry, literature, comedy, theater, sculpture, architecture, paintings, and body art. I am a very happy person that just basically loves life. I’m excited about all the experiences that life has to offer, and can’t wait for the next new lesson. I learned early that life was too short to waste it being negative. There’s so much to do, and so much to be excited about. I’d like to have someone to share it with.” Yes! I’m so excited! He also says he thinks life should be set to music, which we all know is a total turn-on. We’re going to a bar called Martini Corner! I can’t wait. Later, we skipped out (after I made an attempt at the Gwen Stefani hairdo) to go gallery hopping. I would tell you more, but really it was gallery after gallery of crap, and they were all out of free booze! It was also crazy icy and my normal-girl high-heeled boots, which were very unfamiliar to me, were not helping. Day Six Today I temped at an office job and I shelved books and updated bibliographies and ran errands. A normal friend who has had lots of jobs like this advised me on how to behave: Like a total make-no-waves bootlicker. So I got everyone pizza for lunch and was very, “Hey guys, I’ve got pizza, pizza, pizza!” I kept a huge smile on my face and kissed ass and gave lots of compliments and made shitty conversation and did a lot of rolling my eyes when I was hovering over my computer. I actually didn’t think it would be bad at all, but there were a lot of bitter, single 40-year-old women who were total bitches and wouldn’t even look me in the eye when they talked to me. Would that be my future if I stayed normal? The ones who did talk went on and on about stuff like hairstyles, breeds of dogs, Pilates, and the death of the Atkins diet. I liked them. After work, we all went out to happy hour. We all drank Cape Cods and picked at “feta plates.” We got some appraising looks from guys and my coworker Kelly scored a number. A note: I’m definitely a drinker, but never before 9 PM. These normal people start early! Is that because they have to be at the office at 9 AM every morning? I don’t understand how you can drink a bunch of vodka at 4:30 PM every day and then go home and get shit done. But whatevs! Day Seven (Finish Line!)

Is this really going to end? I don’t know whether that’s good or not. Being normal is kind of making me get my shit together and all my friends that saw me in character preferred my new look!

So tonight’s my big date, and my buddy Chloe is prepared to go clubbing with me afterward if I decide to keep it short. Go Chloe! I got Michael coming over to super-straighten my hair and do my makeup. Michael was happy to do Chloe’s nasty makeup, too.

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My date showed up and it was an awkward start. We headed off to Martini Corner for drinks and dinner. I had my camera and told him it was my hobby—that I love to photograph nature and children. He thought it was cool, and the ice was broken by him asking me to take pictures of him “being a goofball.” He wanted me to take so many pictures of him being “zany” (seriously, I took like 40) that I started to get uncomfortable and told him the battery was almost dead. We talked about our jobs and about what we do for fun. We talked about house music, weed, my hair, skydiving, vampires… the usual! I lied about every single thing I told him. Actually, I think I found my new talent—I’m practically an expert improv comedian at this point. But overall it was kind of a dead date. It was hard for me to even find it funny. He was really nice, just boring and weird, and I got the feeling he probably lived with his parents or something.

When midnight came, I told him that I had to get up early. But I LIED!! WOO HOO! I really went and met my girl Chloe to do some clubbing!

To get some quick tips, I talked to other girls and told them I had just gotten out of a four-year relationship and had forgotten how to flirt. They told me that they judge dudes by their shoes and they flirt with them all night so all their friends can get free drinks. Lame! I felt like I was watching an after-school special.

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I danced a lot, and Chloe and I got hit on by some real winners. I got pretty wasted and had lots of the exact same conversation over and over. I think normal girls might have to go on autopilot when they go out clubbing. All in all, getting hit on at a normal club feels the same way it does when homeless men shout things at you outside a gas station. Not so hot.

I went home after last call, warmed by the knowledge that when the sun rose, I would be weird again.

But overall being normal wasn’t that hard, I guess. I had fun, but probably because it was temporary. I guess the main thing I learned is that I need to keep my new look because I keep being told I’m better now—even by my friends who purposely look like shit because it’s “in” or whatever. I must say, I enjoy being a girl—normal or not!

JAIMIE WARREN

This being Kansas City, the gym was like a morgue.

This was our hitting-the-clubs normal gear.

I temped for one whole day.

My date wouldn’t quit mugging for the camera. Is this what normal boys do?