Faking it right

Some may call it A manual on how to become a world-class ignorant, and they wouldn’t be too far from the truth. However, in between the above-showcased covers lie a little more than 100 pages filled with good humor and some good piece of advice on how to overcome embarrassing moments, which sums up into a relaxing 2h reading.

I’ve first stumbled upon this book by doing some research on type interfaces and calligraphy and so Jessica Hische‘s website popped into my eyes. (btw, she’s the book’s cover designer) The title itself does trigger some attention so I began my scouting; it seemed promising – I was really looking for a JK Jerome-sque-kind-of-writing after stuffing myself with only white-papers and year’s end reports so the 9,99 EUR turned out to be a worthy investment.

For those in dire need of impressing the audience with their general knowledge this little book does the trick. Information is being delivered in small takes so that your brain-cells can cope with the amount of information and not get disoriented after few doses of carefully selected words of wisdom. You can choose from various topics: Drinking, Eating, Making it out with men, Making it out with women, Hip-Hop, Movies, Books, Travel, Architecture, Horticulture, Getting in shape, Yoga, Tennis, Computers, Psychiatry/Psychology and my all-time-favorite – Astrology. We’ll get to that part later.

For starters, here are some useful pieces of advice on how to deal with ‘Scotch’: “[…]For years, drinking Scotch whisky neat, i.e. without anything in it, was the only way. Researchers at the Drinkological Institute at Leaphroigh-upon-Nutting have, however, recently debunked that old wives’ tale. Current wisdom has it that a splash of ice water (or add an ice cube or two and wait) releases some yummy chemicals and brings out whatever it is that’s supposed to be brought out, flavor-wise.

Unblended Scotches (aka Single Malt) still reign supreme; stick with the Highland or Islay regions. The Highland Scotches are sweeter and more honeyed, and the Islay Scotch is more peaty and smoky. The Macallan is the Highland Scotch to order –  the eighteen-year-old is glorious, but the twenty-five-year-old is better, though unfortunately the latter is almost beyond financial reach. If, however you’re looking for peat and smoke – and who isn’t? – Lagavulin is the Scotch for you. Though there’s still nothing wrong with the snob-appealing, dense, malty scotches such as Laphroaig, Glenlivet, and Glenfiddich, you can one-up your tablemates who have ordered one of them with the epic pretension that comes with a little bit of knowledge. Those folks think they’ve got taste, but a simple “Lagavulin, one ice cube,” from you will put an end to the question of who’s schooling whom.”

From a personal experience I would add here the Suntory Yamazaki (12 Year Aged Single Malt Whisky), my favorite (until now) – Japanese stuff.

And now that we’ve already established ourselves as real booze-connaisseurs let’s move onwards to cooking. Here are some pieces of bluffs and attitude to make you sound like a mini Jamie Oliver:

– When you are served your salad with a fancy dressing, announce your preference for the ‘perfect vinaigrette’ , which only you and a few restaurants in the south of France know how to make. It consists of (you are graciously willing to share the secret) extra-virgin Spanish (not Italian, as everyone else thinks) olive oil, expensive vinegar (if Balsamic, a thirty-dollar-a-bottle brand) […] and a dab of Dijon or other French mustard. Period.

– Say something like “Coriander is the most misunderstood of spices’

– Praise small, underdecorated Chinese restaurants that are cheap

– Undercook all vegetables

– Only want Mexican of Indian food occasionally. The former “dead-ens the palate”; the latter “is never prepared properly in this country – they simply can’t seem to get the right spices here.”

And when it comes to eastern-asian treats – especially sushi, there’s something that needs to be taken into account. Sushi – you’re either with the sushi lovers and liked, or you’re against them – like me, and looked down upon. Sushi consumption plays a pivotal role in modern-day society. What was once considered an eccentric and foreign quirk is now considered a hip and necessary affectation. […] In order to fake that you like sushi and appear as if you consume aquatic vertebrates other than frozen fish sticks and their invertebrate and unidentifiable tater tot counterparts, you must first learn a few tidbits of information that you can drop during the dining experience.

– Omega-3s fatty acids (rampant in sushi) may ward off Alzheimer’s disease – this will make you look both entertaining and interesting, also showing that you read newspapers

– don’t joke about how this stuff would be fine if they just cooked it a little


After drinking and eating it’s time for a little bit of flirting, then moving the experience in other places, bringing other topics into discussions, digressing, talking about music, movies, latest gossip, fashion trends, computers (there’s a funny take on Mac vs. PC) and if these topics have failed in getting you to know your counterpart better, then there’s always another option to rely on – and that’s Astrology. That’s right.

“Never mind about what moon is in whose house. Leave that to the hard-core and the faintly loony – the people with charts. What you want to do here is either dismiss the whole thing (i.e. When asked what your sign is, answer, “The best”) or make a bit of sense, if humanly possible. Here are the proper clichés, sign by sign:

Aquarius – Creative and modern-thinking. Often mistaken for not too bright. Does not learn from experience

Pisces – Emotionally powerful, if a bit paranoid. Makes up for a lack of real bravery by being a bully. Has no pets.

Aries – Outdoorsy and independent. Walks away rather than has a decent discussion.

Taurus – Great stick-with-it-ness. Often wealthy later in life, usually through crooked means.

Gemini – Intelligent, if schizophrenic. Neither aspect or personality admirable. Fast at making deals, fast at losing friends.

Cancer – A good listener, easy to take advantage of. Wildly emotional, barely able to function in adult environment.

Leo – Stubborn and forceful. Seems to listen but doesn’t really care. Makes a good cop.

Virgo – Weighs facts carefully. often resulting in complete inaction. Obsessively clean and hard to be with because of it.

Libra – Sensitive to music, art, and literature. Happy completely alone, making everyone grateful for it.

Scorpio – One-way sensitivity. Easily hurt, but unconscious of others’ feelings. Makes excellent file-clerk.

Sagittarius – Loves to gamble, often loses. Sees the bright side of everything, however senseless.

Capricorn – Tends to be private and as a result, learns little. Is best as a child.

If all else fails, when pushed by a pentagram-dangling obsessive, just say “I don’t believe in astrology. I realize that’s very Leo of me, but what can I say?”

Happy reading 🙂


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