back to the Black Table
  Haley Papageorge, Michelle Goodman, Kelly Mills, Claire Zulkey, Rebecca Berfanger, and Crystal Kash  

There are plenty of things about summer that make you feel completely invincible. The world seems brighter, more meaningful -- when else does gasoline smell so good? Or lawnmower grass? It's easy to run away from work at 2 p.m. on a Friday, find a bar with outside seating, and drink margaritas until your pants fall off. After that, you head over to Dairy Queen, grab a Peanut Butter Blizzard, smear it all over your body, and take the dog for a walk in the park. Then you take a seat, watch the gorgeous sunset, wait for the dog to finish licking the Blizzard off your body, and head home to catch up on CSI reruns. It's exhilarating.

But, of course, there are things about summer that aren't so great. Our wonderful Black Table ladies have graciously offered up some of the things that make the summer one big sweaty butt crack. Enjoy.


Haley Papageorge

Summer is a time to whip out your sexiest (and favorite) denim skirt, your sexiest sandals and get a little carefree with your outfits. Summer is not about wearing the tackiest ensemble your money will buy at the local Bang Bang in the mall. You know who you are.

As if some of these ridiculous get ups (think too tight spandex mini skirt and overly bedazzled halter) didn't annoy me enough, nothing -- NOTHING -- kills me more than what some of these girls put on their feet to top off this classy outfit. The white 4-inch platform flip-flop. What's even better than this particular flip-flop? When it is covered in fucking dirt.

Call me hostile but I hate, hate, hate them. I hate them so much I practically well up and bawl when I see them 'cause it's just that painful. Do some of these girls have mirrors that cut off at the knees? Newsflash bitches -- teetering on big white moon slippers looks soooooooo Jersey Shore that even the Jersey Shore is embarrassed by this trend. They wear them with everything. Who decided that an alternative to a cute summer heel is a giant white foam shoe? That is always fucking grimy? Seriously. Not that a pristine pair would make me feel any different, but those don't exist. Every pair I see looks like they've been stomped on by some shirtless, sweating, boot wearing, horse's ass at Neptune's.

The first year I started to spot these "shoes" I rolled my eyes and thought that it's just another (really fucking stupid) fad. But year after year they make an appearance, off white and covered in mud splatters. Doorman at clubs need to consider them a dress code violation. Bartenders need to refuse to serve the offending wearers. Something has got to be done!! I don't think I could make it through another summer without hijacking a pair of those obnoxious things off the feet of some unsuspecting summer share holder and tossing them into the fucking ocean where they can float off into the sunset.

Haley Papageorge is currently serving a two year prison sentence for assaulting a shoe salesman at the local Bang Bang.


Michelle Goodman

When I look at my summer calendar, all I see is a potential minefield of wedding invitations. Joyous occasions, my ass. Maybe for you, beaming bride or groom to be, as you laugh all the way to the bank with the 30th $100 check I've given this decade to two people who may or may not still be on speaking terms in two years. But not for me. To this diehard stag, your Big Day is a snore-fest of crappy booze, cheesy toasts, cringe-inducing 80s rock ballads, and sweaty drunken uncles trying to grab my ass on the dance floor.

I turn thirty-fucking-eight this summer, which I thought for sure meant I wouldn't have to go to any more goddamn weddings. Everyone I know is either blissfully shacked up, divorced, dead, medicated or otherwise off the dating spin cycle for good. Or so I thought. Leave it to me though to get asked to be a bridesmaid for the first time in my life this year. I'm talking the whole deal, too. The dress fittings, the destination wedding shower, the destination bachelorette weekend, the destination wedding. Hell, there's probably a destination wedding reunion in the works for next year that I just don't know about yet. All I can say to the bride -- a dear friend from my bad old days -- is, I love you man and I'm so there for you, lavender dress and all, but my pumps will be Payless and you won't catch me dead or alive in fake nails, lip liner, one of those dreaded up-dos, or your stupid garter belt.

And while I'm shelling out all this cash for everyone else's new life I'd like to mention that I'm happily in love with a guy I don't live with, I just bought a house of my own and I am registered at Home Fucking Depot.

Michelle Goodman answers all wedding invitations by writing "Eat Me" instead of checking off whether or not she will attend.


Kelly Mills

For a rubbernecker like myself, the great pleasure of summer is all the skimpy clothing and sun baked body parts. However, alongside the wonderful nudity of shorts and tank tops, there is the horror of exposed feet. I fucking hate feet.

It all starts with the first warm breezes of June, when I see some gorgeous young thing bobbing along, then look down and witness the nastiest, skankiest feet imaginable, toes splaying out of strappy sandals like a diseased squid. Early summer is the worst, because people's feet have been crammed in boots and heavy shoes for six months, so they emerge pasty and gnarled, and I stare at their feet the way I'd stare at a gory car crash. Every year I have to sit in a meeting where someone takes advantage of the warm weather, and actually slips their shoes off under the table, allowing cheesy foot odor to permeate the room. Worse still is the barefoot person who stops by my corner liquor store on the way home from the beach, and whose calluses make a muffled scraping sound as they walk across the linoleum.

I'd like to set up a few ground rules to make summer bearable. First, it goes without saying that anything remotely resembling a Birkenstock should be illegal. If you allow your toenails to grow long, you ought to be kidnapped by the special police force and have your feet lopped off at the ankle. No sandals for anyone with hammer toes, bunions, or thick ankles. In fact, while I'd mandate daily pedicures for the women who qualify for flip flops, I'd actually forbid men to ever wear sandals (mandals, whatever). Man feet are across-the-board disgusting, in a way that no paraffin dip and buffing could ever fix. The toes are hairy, the nails are always yellow, and men can't be trusted to select summer footwear that looks anything but idiotic. I include gay men in this. I don't care if your feet are sweltering in your sneakers, you keep those things in socks, you hear me? Nasty-ass foot flasher.

As a child, Kelly Mills was once sexually assaulted by a neighbor's foot late one night at a summer sleepover party. Her resentment runs deep, just like her scars.


Claire Zulkey

In the summer, I don't care about me looking fat. Why? Because I know what to cover up. (Plus, I already have a boyfriend, so I don't have to actually care what anyone thinks. I won that race!) No, what bothers me are other women looking fat. We're in a very sketchy fashion era right now, one that seems to promote unflattering styles. I cringe each time I see a girl with claylike, dimply thighs flaunting a tiny ruffled skirt, a chick with a poofy stomach showing off a cropped top, somebody's sausage toes getting the circulation cut off by a toe ring as her feet are shoved into a pair of grimy white platform flip-flops. Oh, and by the way, girls, while we all look a little better with a bit of sunshine on us, many rounds in the Mystic Tan booth plus a coating of Banana Boat does not a size 6 make. In this vein, when your untoned upper arms have been baked a lovely shade of Nantucket red, it might not be the best time to wear a tight tank top (unless you're hoping to show off that awesome tribal arm band tattoo as well as how nicely your bra straps dig into your back fat.) Hey, I'm all about being proud of your body. As long as you're proud of the parts that aren't disgusting.

Claire Zulkey loves a sausage-toe McMuffin extra value meal every now and then, but she will not super size it.


Rebecca Berfanger

We've all seen them. They sit there with their colorful short/t-shirt combos and obnoxious Winnie the Pooh windbreakers. They take up extra space with strollers and every piece of camera or video equipment you could imagine short of a tripod. They look confused as they stare at maps as big as the Boston Common and talk about destinations that are in the opposite direction of the train you are riding with them. That's right: clueless tourists on the subway. In Boston, the students are replaced with tourists from early June to late August. But unlike students who wouldn't dream of waking up before 11, tourists get on the train in the morning just in time for me to dodge their two-to-four children going to the beach/aquarium/science museum/children's museum/site of the Boston massacre. Then, in the middle of the evening rush hour, they stop whatever they are doing so I can have the honor of dodging them again on my way home. As much as I could relate to these strangers as someone who once had to learn the subway on her own, I can't stand their confusion about which train to take and their lack of mental capacity when it comes to buying subway tokens (or, for that matter, ordering canolis in the North End and calling them cream puffs). Sometimes I would offer some help, but only when I could no longer stand the screaming kids and sad, forlorn looks at the subway maps that monkeys could navigate. (Boston only has four lines and they are color-coded. It couldn't be simpler.)

The only thing worse than the clueless tourists? The clueless Red Sox fans taking the subway in from the suburbs. At least the tourists don't sound like Kennedys or the dad on Family Guy when they ask me "which train goes to Fenway Pahk?" And tourists won't give you the finger if you happen to be the last person who can squeeze onto your already packed BO-smelling train.

Rebecca Berfanger sometimes steals Winne the Pooh windbreakers off of children's backs and sets them on fire in front of their family.


Crystal Kash

I really have no idea what people in other countries eat during summertime. I am sure they have the basics like hamburgers, watermelon, chips (or crisps for our friends the Brits). However, never have I experienced such a food travesty as summertime salads. Or what we as Americans call salads.

I mean, who the fuck thinks a salad has Jell-O in it? Or marshmallows? Or mayonnaise for that matter? Aren't salads primarily greenery? Ya know, vegetables and stuff? And why can't we just have normal singular foods? Corn on the cob. Potatoes. Apples. But, oh no, we feel the need to mix potatoes with 3 pounds of mayonnaise and add a handful of seasoning and then call it good. Or mix an equally hideous combination of fruit, nuts and mayonnaise and call it something we think sounds fancy like "Waldorf Salad".

It's revolting. I could do without spending my entire summer going to people's houses and not only having to decide what sick-o salad my roommates and I will bring, but then going through the line of food and divvying out different shades of mayonnaise mush on my little paper plate....

However, after a moment of pause, I feel the need to perhaps amend my dislike of the summer salad. I think I actually hate summer for the overzealous use of mayonnaise. I hate mayonnaise anyway. It takes like nothing, it's made from eggs and Germans eat it on french fries. And don't try and sway me with some lecture on the deliciousness of Miracle Whip or another fake knock-off version of mayo. It's gross, I hate it and it makes every summer eating event a nightmare for me.

Crystal Kash actually just hates Germans, not summertime salads at all.


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