In the basement of Lower East Side dive bar Lolita last night, a capacity crowd gathered to hear Kunkel-feuding debut novelist Katherine Taylor and elven-eared omnipresence The Reverend Jen debate each other. It was a lot like debate team in high school! Actually, no, it wasn't. But you know what high school thing it was exactly like, and what certain gatherings of the poor, artsy thirtysomethings who are managing to remain Lower East Siders so often resemble? That group of goth nerd drama geeks who always ate lunch together in that one certain corner of the courtyard. You know. The heavyset girls with black lipstick and ripped fishnets who would occasionally burst into Sondheim and the pasty boys who had just recently discovered that dark sunglasses and long hair can make acne scars seem sort of mysterious and romantic? Like that, but plus 20 years. Also plus Moby.
"Hi Moby," said a downtown art star who, when she's wearing a fruit headdress, is known as Carmen Mofongo. She was in civilian mufti last night so maybe that's why Moby was like "Mph." He and his posse were headed out; they had only stayed for the meat of the debate, which was on the topic of "Is It Better To Be Dumped or To Dump Someone?" It is interesting to think about what side of this issue Moby falls on; maybe "better to be dumped because then you don't have to feel obligated to underwrite the dumpee's vegan teahouse business," but that's just a wild guess.
Reverend Jen opened the debate by explaining why it's worse to be the dumpee. Her main contention was that it's worse because while you're being dumped, this is what the dumper is essentially saying to you: "Remember that awesome blow job you gave me last week? I never want that again." Point Reverend Jen.
Then Katherine Taylor, who once won us over by calling out Indecision for being "simple," took the floor. She was wearing shiny, possibly leather, pants and pointy nude heels. She was tasked with arguing that dumping someone is worse than being dumped, which seems counterintuitive but is actually sort of correct. "Being dumped is out of your hands, like being hit by a bus is out of your hands," she explained.
Unfortunately, this was pretty much the only funny thing she said. The rest of the time she was just sort of studiedly earnest and a little too enamored of her own cleverness. And these problems seem extend to the small part of her book we've managed to read so far, but we're trying hard to reserve judgment till we've read more! After all, the Kunkel thing is still priceless. She went on to talk about guilt and how a little sliver of doubt haunts you for the rest of your life. But Reverend Jen had the last word: "Most relationships boil down to a choice: sex or self-respect."