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Singled Out: Chronicles of a Nobody Out and About in Los Angeles!

Singled Out: Chronicles of a Nobody Out and About in Los Angeles!

Entertainment publicist and all-around gay girl Mona Elyafi regales us with the not-so glamorous life in Los Angeles. This week she's given to rant about unspoken customs and bad manners. Just remember to say 'thank you' if she ever holds the door for you...

Let me set the record straight: I am not from Texas! If one more person drops the question, I will go Dirty Harry on them. Not that I have anything against the bigger, better State of Texas – after all, my little puppy is from Dallas -- but I can’t go through one more repetitive delivery of my robotic answer. So for the last time, here it is: the only reason I wear my long-sleeve Texas Longhorn t-shirt is because I like orange!

What is it about people that compel them to urgently find some social or cultural common thread to feel an instant bond with others? Just like when I go running up in Runyon Canyon and I am forced to acknowledge every other damned runner that crosses my path with that silent head nodding sign symbolic of some sort of joggers’ solidarity.

I want to know who came up with that protocol because honestly I was not informed I had joined a gang and was required to flash its secret sign every time another member was spotted. I’m not being rude, but do you know how many people run in the canyon? It’s exhausting to salute each and every one of them, not to mention that it totally disrupts my concentration and the rhythm of my breathing pattern -- need I remind you that I am a smoker and keeping up with my asphyxiated lungs is enough of a workout as it is!

Surely you don’t see people in the meat section at the grocery store winking at other shoppers who likewise go for the value pack of sirloin steaks or pork chops -- because there’s no such thing as a fellowship of carnivores. Better yet, you don’t see us women shopping at Victoria Secret giving each other the thumbs up via that cocky know-it-all approving smile -- the one that discreetly says “You go girl! I know what’s on your dirty mind” -- as if we belong to some sort of invisible sisterhood of the lingerie.

There are so many idiosyncrasies in life that are so benignly unimportant and fundamentally innocent yet manage to aggravate the hell out of me.

On that note, a special sentimental thought goes to my dear friend George all the way in Martinique. Years ago, while still residing in LA, George -- in one of his customary comical mindless philosophical sessions -- managed to highly entertain me and a couple of other friends by randomly engaging in a long-ass tirade about the things that irrefutably rubbed him the wrong way. While I was laughing my ass off, I was more laughing at him than with him, thinking he had absolutely lost his mind and was borderline socially challenged. Now, in retrospect and with a lot more “irritating things that people do” mileage under my belt, I do see the value in mentally compiling my list of pet peeves and do thank him for spearheading the development of this self-help method.

As I said before, it’s not so much important to know what you want as much as knowing what you don’t want. And to quote my friend Francisco: “BE SPECIFIC.” I hate to admit it but he is absolutely right and of course, while I do usually apply myself with military precision, it’s infallibly that one detail I somehow always omit to consider that gets me.

Perfect example: this year when I proclaimed 2008 as a year of national geographic adventures and meticulously penned down my destination list, I wrote: New Orleans, Seattle, Dallas, Hawaii, New York and Washington DC. Well, I am happy to report that out of the six targets, four successfully materialized and only within six months of my launching my “make a wish” endeavor. The only thing I was not specific about was obviously not the “where” and “when” I would get there, but “how.” I’ll leave the details of the trials and tribulations of my pilgrimages for another time.

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But let’s go back to our subject at hand, or what I fancily call the “10 things I hate about you.” And for my own therapeutic enrichment, I will document, in perfect random order, a sample of the major detestable habit-formed faux pas and social challenges that immensely torture and debilitate my daily quest for peace of mind. As for the rest of them, it’s up for grabs. I am merely laying out a basic template in hopes that those of you who flagrantly recognize yourself as a perpetrator of any of those behavioral crimes would immediately seek professional assistance or lessons in etiquette.

Table manners: Let me be blatant and tell you right now that I am not a food sharer. Unless you present me with a bowl of guacamole, chips and salsa or hummus and pita bread, I do not practice the musical dish game nor do I enjoy people dipping, picking, or digging in my plate. Whatever I order at a restaurant, rest assured that I intend to eat it all and do not need any fork rescuing from my entourage. Please do not underestimate my ability to pig out because of my petite frame. And bottom line, if my food looks yummier than yours, then order the damn dish for you!

The Doorman Phobia: Seriously is it so hard to hold open the door for the person following right behind you? I stopped counting how many times I’ve had the door slammed at my face because I’ve already passed the threshold of what’s acceptably permissible. Granted I should be laughing at it by now -- and believe me, it’s not for lack of trying -- but I just can’t muster any enthusiasm or find any comic relief not being respectfully acknowledged. Equally annoying are people who can’t say “thank you.” How does it not automatically come out of their mouths is beyond me. It should be an instinctive reflex like flushing the toilet. This might sound outrageously preposterous but saying “thank you” won’t kill you!

The Elevator Protocol: It drives me ballistic when people rush to get into the elevator before allowing the people inside to step out. That is common sense 101, period!

Space Invaders: There is absolutely nothing more intrusive than having someone walk on the street right next to you at the same pace in synchronized leg motion. I never joined a marching band in my youth nor do I foresee that happening in my future. It is an insensitive lack of consideration of my private public universe as a pedestrian.

Bad Education: Hands down, that has got to be the summum of the abominable.

This is what I call the FBS disorder -- and by “FBS” I don’t mean “fucking bull shit,” although it would be apropos. The acronym stands for Fart, Burp and Spit, all of which, in my book, qualify as criminally unacceptable public display of vulgarity. Have some manners for God’s Sake!

The irony here is that at one point in my life, I let one of my ex- girlfriends convince me that I was not human for not allowing myself to unabashedly discharge in public and was essentially depriving myself from the greatest manifestation of our rights to exercise freedom of expression. That’s rich! Although I still couldn’t resign myself to indulging in these so-called therapeutic liberties, I totally bought that load of crap -- thank God it was only for a minute and that was enough time for me to still exercise my return policy privileges.

As the saying goes “common sense is not common.” The amount of stupidity that is out there is priceless. You certainly can’t make that shit up -- really, it just can’t be written! Wait a minute…I just did!


Mona E is the author of “DisCOKEnnected” - a memoir, available at

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