Big or Rich? 

Unreal takes matters into our own hands (tee hee!) and re-enters the wonderful world of note-passing with the opposite sex. Plus, we settle the age-old debate: Which is better, Clayton or Ladue?

Clayton is bigger but less well-off than Ladue, its tony little neighbor to the west. But highfalutin rivalries aren't settled with census data, at least not according to Jacob Laws.

To Laws, an aspiring fashion designer who cements his coif each morning with pomade before heading to work at the boutique Splash in the Galleria, the feud is a fashion phenomenon. Laws designed a limited-edition line of "It's Better in Clayton" and "It's Better in Ladue" T-shirts, sold exclusively at Splash's locations in Richmond Heights and Chesterfield, for the appropriately exorbitant price of $38.

The 22-year-old Laws created the Ladue shirt, which sold out last year in a very limited run (thus inspiring the Clayton entry), by accident.

"I was going out one night and didn't have anything to wear," says the Parkway West grad (who has also come up with a line of "What High School Did You Go To?" T-shirts). "So I got some letter stencils, fabric paint and an old T-shirt. The whole idea is so pretentious, it's funny. That's what a lot of people either get or love about it, or don't get and hate about it."

What Unreal wants to know is: Where is it actually better?

VITAL STATISTICS

Ladue: Median household income $141,720; population 8,645; 96 percent Caucasian

Clayton: Median household income $64,184; population 12,825; 84 percent Caucasian

Unreal Verdict: We value diversity, but not in west county. Ladue is better.

REFUSE COLLECTION

Ladue: Residents must individually contract with licensed trash collectors

Clayton: Like any normal municipality, has trash pickup

Unreal Verdict: Peculiar quirks in civil services are normally huge pluses when comparing snotty suburbs. But not here. Clayton is better.

PICKUP JOINT

Ladue: Truffles

Clayton: J. Buck's

Unreal Verdict: J. Buck's and Ritz-Carlton bar are notorious ecosystems for Daddy Warbuckses willing to lay their wallets on the line for hot young tail. Clayton is better.

LAWN ORNAMENTATION

Ladue: Permanent black lawn jockeys provide cast-iron wink to Confederate glory days

Clayton: Portable passed-out Paris Hilton look-alikes who spent the previous evening snorting coke and getting gangbanged by college and/or professional football players

Unreal Verdict: One night in Paris? Hello! Clayton is better.

NETWORK BROADCASTER

IN RESIDENCE

Ladue: Joe Buck

Clayton: Bob Costas

Unreal Verdict: Buck understands what no announcer before him has managed to understand: The best way to deal with Tim McCarver is to ignore him. Way to go, Joe! Ladue is better.

FORM AND FUNCTION

Ladue: Keeps to itself as an insular alternative for the very, very well-heeled. This is how suburbs are supposed to act toward their urban neighbors.

Clayton: Sports a domineering downtown near St. Louis' western border; willfully cannibalizes commercial and retail dollars from urban sire.

Unreal Verdict: The theme is respect. Clayton has no sense thereof. Ladue is better.

Oh no, a 3-3 tie! On to the tiebreaker:

SEX APPEAL

Jacob Laws: "It's got to be Ladue. You can't get enough of those preppy Chips. Clayton kids are a little more artsy and liberal."

Final Unreal Verdict: It's better in Ladue! Represent!

Silent Night

Here we are at the U Lounge at 609, sipping our $5 Sex @ Sunset martini, all liquored up and no one to talk to.

Welcome to Silent Happy Hour, where everyone communicates via the international language of chat rooms. "Silence -- the new way to party!" is the motto of Zipit (get it?) Events (www.zipitevents.com), an organization recently formed by Stefani Pine, a 28-year-old local software trainer at Sara Lee. Having heard about a similar event that took place in New York, Pine accurately predicted that twenty- and thirtysomethings would enjoy a note-passing nostalgia-for-junior-high trip. The U Lounge deal is Zipit's second event.

You show up, pay a $6 entry fee to cover costs (unless you're a highly regarded journalist whose very name-drop assures a lifetime of financial and personal success) and are given a pad and a pen. Then you're turned loose, under the condition that you not utter a word.

And when the night is over, if you're Unreal, you collect a bunch of discarded notes and retroactively eavesdrop. A smattering of the best soundless bites, verbatim:

  • "You sound better than you look!"
  • "Don't know....never put it there. Have you? My bedpost has other purposes."
  • "You know, in Vegas? You can smoke in grocery stores -- where there are slot machines -- no kidding. I opened a Bread Co. there."
  • "Nice guy but controlling, some weird things, poor, lazy, lack ambition, & sometimes not intellectual (but sometimes yes), very worldly, love everyone."
  • "ah, but you probably don't have dealers 2 doors down. or maybe you do."
  • "Are you the voice police? You look a little intimidating!"
  • "I think Oprah is a Bush supporter."
  • "You pretty quick on the draw for allegedly being 'so drunk.' Must have a rapier wit when sober."
  • "Are you with the beer-smelling woman?"
  • "(This is kind of creepy.)"
  • Beat It

    In an effort to reverse the bad mojo that the St. Louis Cardinals have incurred against the Red Sox during the 2004 World Series, Laclede's Landing is encouraging members of Cardinal Nation to take matters into their own hands -- it's time to burn our red socks.
    Laclede's Landing Merchants Association press release
    October 25, 2004

    On a related note, fans in Boston are being urged to "take matters into our own hands -- it's time to club our cardinals."

    Sox manager Terry Francona has been spotted "cudgeling the curse," while Redbirds skipper Tony La Russa "pets the puppy." FOX sports commentator Tim McCarver "exhorts the masses," Joe Buck "gives it to the old man" (Jack Buck "bucked the trend") and sidelined NBC sports guy Bob Costas "roots for the little guy."

    Meantime, Anaheim "spanks the rally monkey." And Chicago Cubs fans are, as always, "choking furiously."

    Pet Corner

    Halloween can be festive and fun for children and families, but for pets, it can be stressful and dangerous.

    Notwithstanding the Charles Bearkowski flap of a few months back, Unreal loves pets even more than the Pope loves cheese. So when the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals asked us to reprint a list of tips to keep pups and kitties safe, we didn't hesitate. Here they are -- annotated courtesy of Unreal's extensive pet-loving experience!

    Don't leave your pet out in the yard on Halloween. Chained dogs are easy prey for hungry legions of the undead. Unfortunately Unreal learned this lesson the hard way.

    Trick-or-treat candies are not for pets. An Unreal exception to this rule: candy corn. Feeding this bilge to the dog is better than letting it go to waste!

    Be careful of pets around a lit pumpkin. Kittens -- especially fluffy ones -- burn like the goddamn Hindenburg. Don't be fooled by their damp, pleading eyes.

    Don't dress the dog or cat in a costume unless you know he or she loves it. Last year Unreal asked Spot for his opinion of the firefighter outfit before stapling it to his body.

    If you do dress up your pet, make sure the costume isn't annoying or unsafe. See above.

    Be careful not to obstruct your pet's vision. Even the sweetest companion can get snippy when he can't see. For more on this, cf. Ray, the newly released Ray Charles biopic.

    Too many strangers can be scary for a dog or cat. A hearty dose of Xanax or Valium (or both) mixed in with the Fancy Feast usually does the trick.

    When opening the door for trick-or-treaters, be very careful your cat or dog doesn't dart outside. If you happen to see a Dalmatian wearing a fireman's hat, please shoot us an e-mail.

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