Own your basicness and be best-in-show
By Leslie Phelan
Photo credit: Jude Liana
Everywhere I go, I keep hearing people say, “What a basic bitch. Yep, she is sooo basic.” It’s all over the place. As I understand it, “basic bitch” is meant to be both an insult and a commentary on a woman’s lack of originality. To call a chick “basic” is to say that she’s pretty run-of-the-mill, bland, vapid; the opposite of a luminary and just a boring lemming of a person overall.
I laugh now, because I’ll admit that when I first heard the term, the image that immediately came to mind was of an incredibly simple, normal, regular-ass, female mutt. She is the opposite of the dog who is the product of focused breeding or requires an all-raw kangaroo meat diet or needs her grooming done at a state-of-the-art doggy med-spa. The basic bitch will never be involved in dog modeling or win “Best in Show;” nope, she’s just your garden-variety, everyday bitch. Call me a consummate dog person, but that’s where my brain went. I totally thought the term was meant to describe a very average, unremarkable, non-exotic lady pooch. The dog next door, if you will.
The thing is, I think that this sort of “averageness” could and should be taken as a very positive description. To me, “basic” means exactly that – that the individual has all the basics of life sorted out and needs little beyond that to be happy. They are uncomplicated. What an admirable state to strive for!
I admire the dog-next-door types because, in their blessed basicness, they don’t sweat the small stuff: as long as there is a roof over their head, food in their dish and a loving human to give them pats and attention, life is good. Those are the basics. I mean, I work to keep the roof over my head but at least it’s there, I am never too broke or friendless to go without food in my dish (plate?), and I get lots of attention from loving humans. Or at least I’m getting plenty of attention these days, though there was a time not so long ago that the pats I so adore were a little more intermittent than I liked to admit. But it’s all good now – all smooth, all lovely. All basic needs are being met.
All that said, I propose an amendment to the usage of the term. I suppose people who like to insult others are going to work at keeping it as derogatory, so maybe we can’t entirely amend the usage, but we can certainly amend the way it is taken! Someone might call me “basic” ‘cause I like to shop at Joe Fresh and Winners sometimes, ‘cause I talk about my cleanses and detoxes that might seem dull to others, or ‘cause I throw Settlers of Catan parties on Friday nights like a total nerd. As far as I’m concerned, it’s totally fine by me. When I hear “basic,” it translates in my mind to “easy-going,” which I believe to be a compliment no matter how you slice it, for both human and canine bitches alike. Basic bitches are the sort who should be celebrated for their undemanding coolness in a world that is full of high-strung, high-maintenance people who like to call others basic and mean it offensively. It’s such an ambiguous and subjective term anyhow, even in its efforts to insult, because everyone’s idea of what could be considered basic is different. Anyway, forget them, they’re not basic, they’re boring, because there is nothing creative or exciting about being mean. Tell me I’m pretty effing basic and I’d say Aww shucks, thanks, I try! And with a wink and a smile I’d return the praise: I think you’re pretty effing basic yourself.