Thinking Inside the Box

People often refer to their mobile phones as an ex- tra limb. Mine is like a vital organ. Last week (in met- aphorical terms only, and for that I am grateful) I suffered a kidney failure. My trustworthy companion could not be re- vived: a moratorium was placed over all communications. How would I be able to tell the time? How would I be able to take impromptu photographs of fe- lines that resemble Top Cat or Berlioz? How would I be able to incessantly WhatsApp my friends using only aubergine and octopus emoticons? I have no shame, either. Living up to the mobile phone dependent stereotype is fun – so sue me. I save on the cost of having to buy
a watch, postage stamps and a camera, all through one little device.

The new US sitcom 2 Broke Girls is full of stereotypes. Blonde fallen-from-grace socialite, Ukranian cook, Asian- American restaurant owner, elderly African-American cashier and DJ. Each scripted to avoid being completely insulting, they’re based on exaggerated truths.But 2 Broke Girls also pinpoints the riskiest stereotype of them all: being ‘broke’.

The programme follows the blossoming friendship of Max and Caroline, working at a diner and living together whilst attempting to start a cupcake business. With opposing personalities, dress senses and physical appearances, the quip- py duo make next to no money from week to week. But still, they are not penniless. They live in a nice apartment, dodge a few bills and are annoyingly well dressed for two girls who are supposedly broke. Oh, and they are able to keep a horse.

I’d be a hypocrite if I pre- tended that I haven’t labelled myself as low on cash before. I’m a notorious skinflint, to the point that I resent going to the cinema on any other day than a Wednesday and my meals out are entirely governed by the availability of 2-4-1 vouchers.
One of my August 2011 high- lights was receiving a free drink at Caffé Nero having collected ten drink stamps. Which in all fairness, had taken me about three years of carrying around that little stamp card. But I’ve Googled the conversion rate: Max and Caroline charge £4.50 for a cupcake. Are they serious? I don’t care how good they are. I could buy three tubs of Sains- bury’s mini-cupcakes for that amount. Or ten little packs of Magic Stars with twenty pence to spare.

I suppose cupcake extor- tion is bound to be successful with an up-market clientele of ‘hipsters’ and Manhattan dwell- ers like Serena van der Wood- sen or Blair Waldorf. Max and Caroline’s mutual disdain for hipsters rivals my own contempt towards student club nights with a red carpet style photograph taken at the door, drawing the student equivalent of the £4.50 cupcake crowd like inebriated moths to a pure wool blend cardigan without a hint of irony.

Students aren’t rich, and they’re certainly not famous. (don’t even utter the word BNOC). Where is the logic in pretending that you’re channel- ling Brangelina, in absolute sincerity? As if anyone could hope to mirror her lips and his blond locks and dusky stubble.

But upon – due to a lack of other options on a Sunday night – finding myself with four friends ‘ironically’ pos- ing in front of that supersized SLR camera, I embraced the whole experience. Irony mor- phed into reality. I pouted as if I were trying to out-do Victoria Beckham, I over-exaggerated, and dare I note that I enjoyed myself whilst doing it.

My first seminar tutor told me I didn’t take myself seriously enough. Maybe he was right, but that stereotype I can live with. I still wouldn’t pay £4.50 for a cupcake. Give me a WhatsApp emoticon of one, and I’ll live vicariously through it. Unless there’s a 2-4-1 offer going… then there’s a whole new realm of possibilities to consider.

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