Thursday @ 7 p.m.
“We’re not doing anything social this Sunday, okay?” Meghan said to me, her seafoam-colored eyes desperate, like a small child patiently awaiting a lollipop after a painful injection.
“I couldn’t agree more.” I ran my fingers through my 23-inch weave (which was no easy feat as it was starting to resemble more of a bird’s nest than actual hair).
“Like, our lives. They’re too…”
“High-stake to be hungover on a Monday?” I offered. My hand was now trapped inside the underbelly of my hair.
“Same,” I vocal-fried, because despite being a published author, I still talk like a Long Island teenager.
11 a.m. Sunday
“We just have to promise ourselves that we’ll be home by 5 p.m.” We were in our car now, driving to drag queen brunch.
“Babe. It’s 11 a.m. We’re fine. We’ll be home by 2 p.m.”
My lungs released a great sigh of release. I believe that Meghan is an oracle. If she says we’ll be home at a specific time, there’s no way we’re in danger of surpassing our curfew.
Sunday @ 10:30 p.m.
“I have an idea!” I bellowed, my eyes full of stars.
“Oh tell us! Tell us!” My friend Luke squealed. He gestured to the bartender. “Get us a round of shots!”
I took a theatrical pause feeling glamorous and movie-star like in my gauzy glittery dress. “Let’s go swimming.” I stage whispered like I was spilling the juiciest secret to an undercover gossip reporter. (I would’ve added a nice eyebrow raise in there for good measure, but I’d recently had botox and my forehead was pretty frozen).
“I don’t have a BATHING SUIT.” Sam, who’d been weeping over his childhood best friend’s conservative politics for the entire night, whinged. Tears stained his pink cheeks.
“Who needs a bathing suit?” Meghan asked. She had that look in her eye. It can be described in two words: Savage Seduction. I fall prey to it every time. I mean…have you seen the girl?
Sunday @ 1 a.m.
We’re all completely naked in my parent’s pool. I’ve popped open a bottle of champagne I’ve swiped like a teenager out of my dad’s liquor cabinet.
“WOULD YOU GUYS KEEP IT BLOODY DOWN!” My mom shouts. I can see her silhouette through the screen door. She’s in a lavender silk robe and is wearing Ugg slippers. Her blonde hair is down, like usual and her loyal spaniel is at her feet, like usual.
“Sorrrry!” I shout back. I feel like I’m seventeen. And for a moment I am seventeen. No book sales to fret over. No bills to pay. No bikini needed. I’m nude and rude and young and having fun!
Monday @ 6:00 A.M.
I wake up to my heart pounding outside of my chest. My mouth and skull feel like they’ve been stuffed with cotton balls. My eyes scan desperately around my room for a glass of water.
All I see is a white claw.
I fall back asleep to avoid the dehydration and the trauma of seeing a white claw first thing in the morning with an apocalyptic hangover.
Monday @ 7:30 A.M.
“BABE!” I spring out of bed.
“WHAAT!” Meghan spits, sounding like an old Bronx lady responding to her lazy ass husband in the next room. (In many ways I’m a lazy ass husband).
“It’s MONDAY! It’s 7:30! WHAT THE FUCK IS WRONG WITH US!” I’m spiraling down the rabbit hole so quickly there’s no turning upwards from here. I give into the spiral. “I have work! I have a career! I let myself down! I was supposed to be fresh today! This is why I’m not as far along IN LIFE as I should be.”
“SHIT,” Meghan says scrolling through her phone.
“What?” My heart is racing and I’ve already decided that her “shit” means she’s just been notified that we’ve both been evicted or fired or both.
“I have a meeting at 8 a.m.”
“At least you don’t have to be on camera!” I sneer.
“At least you don’t have to lead a team!” She sneers back.
This is what happens when we’re hungover. We get competitive about who has it worse.
Monday @ 4 p.m.
Meghan has successfully made it through her meetings. I’ve faked my way through an on-camera interview, pretending to be fresh as a daisy in a tampon ad whilst feeling like an old menstrual pad from the 70s tossed in the gutter.
I skulk over to the mirror. I don’t look vile. I just like a puffier version of myself. In fact, that’s the common denominator of drinking, in a nutshell. It makes you a puffier version of yourself. Your brain is puffy. Your hair is puffy. Your face is puffy. Your soul is puffy.
Even your vision is puffy. Nothing looks as crisp and clear as it could be.
I gazed at myself in the mirror. That’s when the wise woman who lives inside of me, Sharon, appeared. Her impeccable bob haircut was glossier than usual. She smelled like soap and cigarettes. She stood in the doorway of the bathroom staring at me, blink-lessly.
“Hi, Sharon.” I yawned.
She crossed her arms. “I’m not happy with you kiddo.”
Shit. I hate disappointing Sharon. It’s like disappointing your mother, your best friend, and your boss all at once.
“You’re out of your mind! How many articles have you written about how BRUNCH IS THE DEMISE OF YOUR SUCCESS? HOW BOTTOMLESS MIMOSAS ARE THE PATRIARCHY’S WAY OF KEEPING WOMEN DOWN? IF I RECALL YOU WROTE A BOOK CALLED GIRL, STOP PASSING OUT IN YOUR MAKEUP?” Sharon was shouting now, her face tomato red.
I slowly backed away. Sharon’s only ever shouted at me once, and that’s when I fucked a narcissistic emotionally abusive psychopath on the first date. “Yes, I did write that book.” I squeaked.
“What did you do last night?”
“I slept in my makeup. But the book’s not about make-”
“I know the book isn’t about makeup you little twerp. It’s about getting your shit together. I understand metaphors! You, kid, apparently don’t understand how to have brunch like a mature adult.” Sharon lit up a cigarette in my bathroom.
“I thought you quit smoking?” I asked, smugly.
“I thought you quit getting naked wasted on Sundays?”
“I’ve broken up with brunch. From this point on. I know I’m not mature enough for brunch. I don’t know, Sharon. The Drag Queens. The glitter. The luscious-looking eggs. All the girls dressed up in their high waisted jeans with their oversized sunglasses and Goyard bags slung over their shoulders. It’s all too much for me! I get too jazzed! I drink too much and end up naked in pools.” I declared as I took in my increasingly puffy saggy-souled reflection.
“Or throwing up in the bathroom of the Standard Hotel at 1 a.m.” She reminded me.
“Or eating birthday candles right out of supermodel’s cakes.”
That one stung.
“Look, I’m not trying to be a raging bitch, kiddo. It’s just that you keep negotiating with yourself. ‘I’ll go home by this hour. I won’t have more than one mimosa. I care about my career more than the party. Blah, blah, blah.’ That’s what people who have problems do. They try and control the problem. But it wouldn’t be a problem if you had to work so hard to control it.”
“Do you think I have a drinking problem?” I asked, alarmed.
“I think you have a brunch problem.” She tossed her cigarette into the porcelain toilet bowl. Something about a stamped out Virginia Slim floating in toilet-water seemed poetic to me.
Sharon must’ve been reading my mind. “I see the art in it, too.” She observed, staring at the toilet bowl. One thing I love about Sharon is that she’s weird and artistic despite her stacked bob and Coach bag.
“You know what you gotta do, kiddo?”
“I need to break up with brunch like she’s a toxic lover taking me down and sucking my blood?”
“Exactly.” She said, proudly. My heart swelled. I love making Sharon proud more than I love gay ski week in Aspen.
“What about the holidays when I don’t have to work the next day.”
“You’re negotiating again.”
“I know, but like, if I don’t have to work, what’s the issue?”
“Let’s cross that bridge when we get to it. Now drink a gallon of water you look like a dying plant.”
And just like that, Sharon was gone.
My debut book GIRL, STOP PASSING OUT IN YOUR MAKEUP: THE BAD GIRL’S GUIDE TO GETTING YOUR SH*T TOGETHER is available NOW on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, IndieBound, and BAM! If you send me a screenshot of your order, I’ll send you swag!
Praises for GIRL, STOP PASSING OUT IN YOUR MAKEUP
“Zara has the rare talent of marching into the deepest, darkest moments of life—the mascara-teared and alcohol-soaked—scooping them up, and thrusting them into the light with amazing clarity, forgiveness, and compassion. As her editor at Elite Daily, I had the honor of watching Zara blossom into the emotionally raw and poetic writer she is now. Her gripping first-person narratives help every woman (including me) come to terms with her own demons or insecurities in a refreshingly comfortable way. There’s a reason she’s built up an army of ‘babes’ who are empowered by the words of their dear big sister, Z: Her candid honesty and no bullshit advice are simply addicting.”
– Faye Brennan, Sex & Relationships Director, Cosmopolitan
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– Kaitlyn Cawley, former Editor-At-Large, Bustle Media Group and former Editor-in-Chief, Elite Daily
“Reading Zara’s writing will make you feel like you’re at your cool-as-hell big sister’s sleepover party. You will be transfixed by her unflinching honesty and words of wisdom, and she’ll successfully convince you to not only ditch the shame you feel about the raw and messy parts of yourself, but to dare to see them as beautiful.”
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“Self-help meets memoir. Party girl meets wise sage. Beauty meets reality. Zara Barrie is the cool older sister you wish you had. The one that lets you borrow her designer dresses and ripped up fishnets, buys you champagne (she loves you too much to let you drink beer), and colors your lips with bright pink lipstick. She’ll take you to the coolest parties, and will stick by your side and she guides you through the glitter, pain, danger, laughter, and what it means to be a f*cked up girl in this f*cked up world (both of which are beautiful despite the darkness). Girl, Stop Passing Out in Your Makeup is for the girls that are too much of a beautiful contradiction to be contained. Zara is a gifted writer—one second she’ll have you laughing over rich girls agonizing over which Birkin bag to buy, the next second she’ll shatter your heart in one sentence about losing one’s innocence. Zara is the nuanced girl she writes for—light, irreverent, snarky, bitchy, funny; and aching, perceptive, deep, flawed, wise, poised, honest—all at once. Perhaps the only thing that can match Zara’s unparalleled wit and big sister advice is her candid humor and undeniable talent for the written word. Zara is one of the most prolific and entertaining honest voices on the internet—and her talent is only multiplied in book form. Girl, Stop Passing Out in Your Makeup is for the bad girls, honey.”
– Danya Troisi, Executive Editor, GO Magazine