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Burnett's Urban Etiquette

Saturday, March 25, 2006

It's Hard out Here For a Simp

If you didn't get the joke in the title, it's a play on the recent Oscar winning song by rap group Three 6 Mafia, titled It's Hard Out Here For a Pimp.

Without getting onto a soap box and rattling off my beefs with that song and with it winning an Oscar, I'll just say that I have seen a lot more simps of late than I have pimps.

And in order to understand that, you have to understand modern notions of pimping. Pimping in the most literal sense is bad, criminal, immoral, etc. Happy?

Now, understand that in recent years, when young people and allegedly hip people talk pimping they're doing it in a complimentary way. I have no judgement on that. Some think it's strange. Some say it's nuts. Some say different strokes. I say whatever's clever. Either way, there's no denying that these days young guys who admire their buddies' outfits tell those buddies that the clothes are "pimp," or "pimped out," or "pimpish." On MTV, cars that get souped up in a major way are "pimped." On ESPN SportsCenter, the jocks on the embarrassing end of highlight reels are "pimp slapped." I have a couple of buddies who have supplanted hip hip hooray with "pimp pimp hooray!"

Some people just use the word. But there is another element of "cool" people out there that believes "pimpish" is a status symbol to strive for.

I think it's funny though, because these are usually the people who spend all week preparing for Friday night in the club by starving themselves and neglecting bills so they can buy a going out outfit. These are the people who try to walk in slow motion the way Baywatch lifeguards used to run to rescue scenes (and still make it to the victims in surprisingly fast time - go figure). These are the people who look expensive, if that makes any sense.

Even funnier is even if you use the modern alt. definition of "pimp" being a cool, hip, in-the-mix, dressed-to-the-nines, holding wads of cash person, most of these folks still don't qualify.

So Thursday night, after attending a pool party in South Beach in connection with the Winter Music Conference, I attended a fashion show a few blocks away with a few buddies.

My first reaction was to be in awe at all the glam I saw around the runway. Bling and expensive looking clothing everywhere. And that was just among the people there to watch. But then the Angel of Good Sense - first cousin to the Angel of Death, I think - pimp-slapped me back to reality. And I focused on the show - Sean John, nice stuff, especially the light-weight single breasted suits with side-vented jackets.

Still, before I snapped out of it I asked one of my guys who has lived here longer than me "Who's that?" and "Who's that?" and "Isn't she on that show?" and "Is that somebody?" and "Why are all the photographers crowding that woman?"

One by one, my well-connected buddy answered "nobody," "nobody," "no," "(a singer who will go unnamed)," and "she's (a designer who will go unnamed)."

We watched the show and afterward stepped outside to a bar/reception area where we saw two of the most glammed up cats from the audience. I still wasn't convinced they were not famous or rich or both. They had such an air about them. So again I asked my guy if he was sure about their status. He laughed, nodded, and motioned for me to move a little closer to the suspects. We sidled over until we were within earshot.

Funniest thing I've seen and heard in a few weeks? These two guys, decked out in $250 jeans, $200 shirts, $500 jackets (all prices are guestimates, you understand), and loaded up with more electronics than Robocop, were digging through their pockets like paupers trying to scrape up enough change so each could buy drinks. And when I say change, I literally mean they were fumbling with coins and $1 bills for the increasingly impatient bartender.


Second funniest thing I've seen in the past few weeks? One of the guys was wearing a big-faced watch that at a distance appeared to be a Rolex. By the time my guy and I were just a few feet a way it became clear the watch was a knockoff. The second hand was ticking - not continuous - and slower than the wind-up I used to sport when I was 10-years-old. And I swear I think there was a "G" were the "R" should've been. That dude was wearing a Golex!

So here's my call. These guys were fakers, frauds, fronters, posers, whatever you want to call them.

Wearing knockoffs and off brand clothes is just fine. If we're smart, we buy what we can afford and present it proudly and with dignity. But wearing knockoffs and off brands and pretending you're a celeb and that glam-LOOKING gear makes you hot stuff? Well, that just makes you a "simp," defined in some circles as a wannabe pimp.

And simpin' makes for poor Burnettiquette.


  • C'mon, James. It wouldn't be Miami without the simps.

    Kenneth Cole shirts and shoes, Blue Cults and Prada eyeware...and having to hit up a friend or family member for toll money to get from your Kendall duplex that's 30 days away from being foreclosed on to the beach in your Escalade with 24" DaVincis. It's all about the illusion.

    By Anonymous Rick, at 12:03 PM  

  • Pimps, simps and wimps ... poor James, you just got a crash course! Please, take Miami Beach in small doses. It's not lethal, but definitely adverse to good health!

    By Blogger Manola Blablablanik, at 4:58 PM  

  • I lived off Españiola back in the early to mid nineties when South beach was just becoming South Beach. (It wasnt SoBe yet.) That was back in the day when there wasnt a new club every other door. And while there were some simps, most of the younger folks that lived there at that time were pretty cool.

    But then came the transformation of South Beach to Sobe and all the ritz and pomp and circumstance we have today. I cant even force myself to go down there anymore.

    One thing is certain, despite the fact that SoBe boasts all the fashion shows and galas and balls, it is not representative of real life in South Florida.

    By Blogger Val Prieto, at 2:25 PM  

  • What Val said.

    By Blogger Robert, at 5:55 PM  

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