by Kitty Yip Kee Wah
February means Valentine's Day. Thank God it's over. I got coerced into an "oh go on, it'll be fun" singles party by one of my soi-disant friends, who works in marketing department of my company and generally acts as if she has the mind of a fourteen year old. This may have been a mistake.
The shindig was at a bog standard Sanlitun bar with an excessively elaborate special offer scheme for its more lurid drinks. Out of some kind of perverse loyalty to my co-worker, or possibly an unwillingness to be viewed as one who leaves a party early, I resisted the urge to spin on my heel and walk right out again.
It was somewhere into my second margarita that I encountered Hailey Yao. Hailey is my archenemy and, indeed, my nemesis. I don't think there was any point where either she or I decided to commence hostilities on any conscious level. Nor was there any provocation save existence from either party - it just happened, and no one is to blame. Nevertheless, my dedication to her destruction is total and unwavering.
Hailey occupies a similar post to my own at a rival company. We both go to the same stylist at Toni & Guy, we both wear similar second-tier designer brand clothing, which are at the upper limit of our clothing budgets. I strongly suspect that she wears the same shade of Revlon Lipglide Sheer as me, though I can't prove it. Despite our near-identical beauty resources, it was to my chagrin that I realised she currently has a slightly better haircut than me.
"Oh, hello Kitty," she said as we met near the bar. She did that annoying quirky smile thing with one side of her mouth. Ooh, the Hello Kitty joke - ha ha ha. Please.
"Hi," I replied, "how are you?"
"Very well, thanks," said Hailey. "Just managed to land a big contract this week, so I'm in the mood for celebrating."
"Wow, great!" I said. "What's that you're drinking? Is that a Tequila Sunrise?" The outline of my disdain was clearly visible beneath my veneer of friendly sincerity.
"Oh God, no," said Hailey, "no one drinks them these days. This is a Rosy Dawn. Haven't you tried one?"
"Not really my thing," I said, idly wishing her death.
"You really have to be open to new experiences," she said, before asking me, seemingly a propos of nothing at all, what I thought of the Backstreet Boys.
"When 'N Sync usurped the Backstreet Boys' record of number of albums sold in a single week early in 2000, it had to hurt the Backstreets," I said, "since it was played in the press as if they had lost the teen pop throne. By the time the group released their third album, Black & Blue, in Thanksgiving week 2000, 'N Sync was still popular, but the arc of No Strings Attached illustrated that they were weak where the Backstreets were strong -- namely, they couldn't really deliver the seductive mid-tempo pop tunes and ballads that were the backbone of the Boys' crossover success."
That shut her up.