Zara Lisbon
June 23, 2014 4:20 pm

One Saturday evening about a year ago I was with some friends trying to figure out what to do with our night. Everyone wanted to go to a fancy bar on Abbot Kinney in Venice, and, this seemed reasonable, so I went along. When we got there, however, I was bummed to see a long line to get in the door. I was even more bummed to see how calm my friends were about this situation. As I stood waiting in the chilly L.A. night, I began to feel bitter: We were standing in line so that we could get inside to stand in another line to buy overpriced drinks and then stand squished together and struggle to hear each other talk over music that we don’t like while deflecting unappealing men who actually thought this was a good setting to try and persuade someone to go home with them. I felt that surely, SURELY we must have something better to do than wait on this line. I felt my time was being wasted for no other reason than because we simply hadn’t taken the time to realize we didn’t need to be doing this.

I told my friends that I was tired and walked home. They probably thought I was a loser for going home at 10 on a Saturday. What they didn’t know is that I needed time to figure out what annoyed me so much about this whole standing-in-line-to-get-into-a-bar thing. And then I realized something: Standing in line to get into a packed expensive bar is for chumps. Simple as that. I don’t want to be a chump, so I’m not going to wait in line for a bar. Waiting in line is for things that are worth waiting in line for (Space Mountain, a Lana Del Rey Concert. . . I honestly can’t think of anything else)! But a bar? We weren’t trying to have sex with creepy strangers, so we might as well buy Coronas and talk in my backyard for a quarter of the price and ten times the pleasantness. Bars on Saturday night are trying to sell you on an experience of excitement and exclusivity and forced fun, which is ultimately a lie, and if you buy into it, you are a chump.

Don’t be a chump.

The official definition of “chump,” according to Merriam Webster, is: A person who is easy to trick, a stupid or foolish person. According to the Urban Dictionary, it is: Someone who does not understand the basics of life on earth. Confused easily. When I use this word, I’m also factoring in the layer of being tricked into doing something you don’t truly want to do just because other people (TV, magazines, your friends, society at large) tell you it’s right or cool or necessary. I’ve explained why I feel that waiting in line for bars is for chumps, and hopefully you understand. Here are some other things that are also, in my opinion, for chumps:

•Evian Mineral Water Spray

This is a spray bottle of mineral water that costs 12 dollars. You use it to spray water on your face. It just so happens that you can splash water on your face for free. If you’re the type that really likes spraying water on your face vs. splashing, you can get a spray bottle at Rite Aid (probably) and fill it with water for at most two dollars. I’m not going to lie, I have used Evian Mineral Water Spray (that didn’t belong to me) and it felt lovely, but I can also guarantee that the feeling was not worth twelve dollars. I get that it has minerals in it that tap water does not, and if you can afford it, then sure, why not. Rich people buy things they don’t need all the time and that is fine for them. The chump part of it comes in when you can’t afford it and don’t need it, but buy it anyway because you’ve been tricked into thinking somehow it is worth your money. Unless you are REALLY RICH please do not buy Evian Water Spray, you don’t need it, no matter how cool it might seem.

•Screen Protectors For Your Phone

I’ve never really understood these. They are a little filmy strip of some type of plastic that goes over your screen so that your screen doesn’t get dirty. The thing is, these strips get dirty and then you have to buy new ones and have a professional put them on otherwise you will definitely mess it up and there will be air bubbles on your screen and you will feel like an idiot. The big goal here is to not let your screen get dirty…but to what end? So that when it’s time to get a new phone you can proudly say, “My screen NEVER got dirty the whole time I owned that phone because I was good and always used screen covers”? They’re not condoms, you guys, all they do is keep oil off your screen, which is actually shockingly easy to remove by rubbing your phone against your pant leg once a week.

•Bras

This one is personal and may not apply to you, because you might feel a lot more comfortable with the support that a bra provides. The purpose of a bra is twofold: 1. It holds your breasts in place so that they don’t move around too much and 2. It hides the real shape of your breasts including your nipples because those are disgusting and nobody wants to see them. Neither of these reasons to wear a bra make sense to me. Even though my breasts are really big (not bragging), I’ve always felt more comfortable without a bra, and why it’s so important nobody be able to see the vague outline of my nipples through my shirt is beyond me. I see men’s nipples through their shirts all the time and it’s not a big deal. It’s only a big deal if we can see women’s nipples because. . .why? Because men might be turned on by it at a time that is inconvenient for them? Because women’s bodies are ultimately more shameful than men’s? Really I don’t get it. For a while people would tell me I have to wear a bra otherwise my breasts will be saggy when I’m older and that effectively scared me into making sure I wore a bra whenever I could. But recently I realized just how much of a chump I was to fall for that. [Ed note: There was also a recent French study that debunked the whole bras-keep-boobs from sagging and actually said that bras MAKE BOOBS SAG, so. . .] The truth is my breasts are not going to look like 24-year-old breasts when I’m 64 no matter how much bra wearing I did in my youth. So, unless bras really help you to feel more comfortable, you do not have to wear them and can consider them a conspiracy to control women that only benefits Victoria’s Secret, which is owned by a few women and a lot of men.

•Top Sheets

This one is a matter of taste, maybe, and is debatable, but stay with me. I stopped using top bed sheets (I’m not talking about fitted sheets for your mattress, those are necessary) a while ago because they kept getting tangled while I slept and I got fed up with it. I started sleeping a lot better and realized that it is sort of ridiculous to have two layers of fabric on top of you while you sleep, especially if the weather doesn’t call for it. If you think about it, this is a relatively new item. Cave people for example, didn’t use sheets, they just used one animal skin or fur to cover themselves at night. To me, this is evidence that we actually don’t need them, but places like Bed Bath & Beyond like selling them to us and have convinced us that our beds would be incomplete without them. This is so ingrained in our psyches that we don’t even think about it! What I’m trying to understand is: why do we need both top sheets and blankets? Most blankets have a duvet cover, which gives you that nice luxurious feeling against your skin (although, duvet covers might also be for chumps. I have to consider this). Ultimately, top sheets are an example of something you might just want to ask yourself if you actually want before investing in a new one.

•Waiting in line for Free Cone Day at Ben and Jerry’s

I love Ben & Jerry’s. Its easily my favorite brand of ice cream. However, why people feel like they need to wait on a ginormous line to get a free ice cream cone one day out of the year is beyond me. You can buy a pint of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream at the supermarket for basically the same price that they charge you for a scoop + cone at their stores (about three dollars), then you can buy a whole box of cones and make it “free cone day” at your house every day without really ever having to wait in line (you most likely have to wait briefly in line at the supermarket but this is one of those instances where it is worth waiting in line because what you’re getting out of it is greater than the effort you put in). So, you can either wait in a long line for one free ice cream cone, or you can wait in a short line and pay for what would have been one ice cream cone at Ben & Jerry’s but then have more time to spare for the rest of the week, thus providing you with multiple free cones. Your choice. Don’t be a chump.

Buying Water Bottles

Unless you are somewhere where a plastic bottle is your only option for water, you can ask for tap water in a cup. This option is normally clean and healthy and safe enough to drink (in America and definitely England or Canada). If you believe that tap water is poisonous then you are falling for what water bottle companies want you to think and that’s called being a chump. In addition, let’s not forget how detrimental plastic water bottles are to the health of our planet. Every time you decide you just need to buy a water bottle when there is another option you are actually being a chump at the expense of Mother Nature.

•Beach Towels

People buy towels that are slightly wider and have beachy designs on them specifically for bringing to the beach. People think that it is somehow inappropriate to use your bath towels for the beach, and so they go out of their way to buy an extra one FOR THE BEACH. I don’t think this is necessary, and I can’t imagine how big of a disaster it could possibly be to bring just a basic bath towel to the beach. Someone suggested to me that perhaps people like beach towels because they are slightly bigger than bath towels and therefore they don’t have to touch the sand as much. In my personal opinion if you don’t want your skin touching sand then the beach might actually not be the place for you.

•Lime-Flavored Beer

This is just beer with lime flavoring added to it. The flavoring is artificial and tastes almost toxic and cannot possibly be a healthy addition to your beer. If you want your beer to have a lime taste, cut up some fresh limes and put them into your beer. It will be great, I promise.

How to not be a chump:

As I look back on my list, I’m amused to see that for the most part these things I consider to be for chumps either have to do with bottled water, unnecessary fabrics, or waiting on line for unnecessary things. These are the types of things that make ME feel like a chump when I buy into them (waiting on line for stupid reasons being the one I’m most passionately against). Ultimately, there isn’t going to be a universal chump code, and you’re going to have to make some calls for yourself. What feels chumpy to you might not FEEL chumpy to someone else. The truth is we all are probably doing very chumpy things all the time that we aren’t aware of, but basically if you feel good about what you’re doing, then don’t worry.

Just keep your head up and be alert about the things you do and ask if you are doing them because you really like to or because you have been conditioned to think you have to! True, there is a fine line between being careful not to be a chump and turning into a paranoid lunatic. If you start talking about conspiracies, as I have done at times in this piece, you are on the brink of lunatic territory. There is no need to go around like a maniac Chump Police, just question your motives, only make choices that feel right/good/cool/exciting/positive to YOU and you’ll be well on your way to being a Champ, not a Chump. #ChampsNotChumps.

*Shout out to Hannah, Natasha, Mira and Jason for helping to inspire this piece.

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