When the term ‘basic’ entered the zeitgeist (which, if you recall from your 10th grade The Great Gatsby vocabulary quiz, means “spirit of the times”), I laughed. Hell yes, I laughed. Who didn’t? Bitches were basic. It was an epidemic. Eat or be eaten, ladies.
Much like pornography, basic was initially hard to define but you knew it when you saw it. PINK yoga pants, fucking Pumpkin Spice Lattes, goddamn Vera Bradley. I began to hurl the term like acid. To be labeled “basic” was an insult, not just to you but to the very notion that you had any taste. “But those mason jars I pinned are so cute!” the Basic cried, “They’re on both my ‘Here Comes the Bride’ and ‘Yum-O :)’ boards!”
Poor Basic. She was just so basic. It was tragic. She didn’t even realize she had become this way, but now there was no going back. How could she just unlearn all the things Cosmo taught her? It was like asking your standards chair to get off her goddamn high horse already. It wasn’t happening.
But luckily for me, I was just so not basic. I mean, I knew who The Smiths were! I owned a leather moto jacket. Allow me to repeat that: leather. I barely drank cranberry vodkas because, please. Not once had I Instagrammed a sunset. I didn’t have any misattributed inspirational quotes stenciled to my walls and I most certainly did not wear any Victoria’s Secret or Bath & Body Works scented products.
It was hard bearing the burden of coolness on my campus, but I somehow managed. Younger girls in my sorority were in awe of me, probably. “YaGalSal,” they most likely said, “she’s just like, the fucking coolest, you know?”
So like the cool-ass bitch that I was, I was so excited to intern at an uber-hip place over one summer and finally achieve my life goal of becoming Whitney Port. I was thinking bright lights, big city – all that shit.
But I wasn’t on campus anymore. At work, “cutting-edge” was key. As was wearing all black, having attended many sweaty, secret underground shows, and not being physically offended by a $17 cocktail. I certainly didn’t fit in – and not in a good way. Not in an endearing, Drew Barrymore way. The final death knell came when I wore my shiny, red Hunter boots. They were bright, they were not Scandinavian, and the came from Bloomingdale’s.
The eye rolls were palpable. I may as well have worn boot-cut jeans. To them, my ombre was the equivalent of a layer-less shoulder length cut with Adidas stripe highlights. My Kate Spade bag may as well have been a Coach logo, and I won’t even start on my monogram necklace. As far as they were concerned, I was the most basic bitch in the room. “But I know who The Smiths are!” I said to myself, like a real asshole. The realization that ‘basic’ is a relative term had pretty much bitch slapped me across the face.
But you know what? Fuck it. You could not pay me to wear John Lennon style sunglasses. For something to reach the status of ‘basic,’ it just means that a metric crap-ton of people like it. And that many people can’t be super wrong. You know what else a metric crap-ton of people like? Electricity, penicillin, Snapchat, Harry Styles, and Plan B, in no particular order (that’s a lie — it’s in ascending order). Being well-liked isn’t a crime. I would know because despite what some of my former colleagues think, I’m still head bitch – don’t mistake.
So the next time you mentally punch a girl in the throat by calling her basic, remember that somewhere out there – in a world outside your campus bubble – you could be just as bad as she is. As the saying goes: “It’s 5 o’clock somewhere and you’re basic AF there, too”. Feel free to stencil that above your bed. If that’s like, your thing or whatever. I wouldn’t know..