So, it’s Black Friday! Many of you are still out there braving the throngs, enjoying your part in the nation’s most participatory sport – luckily, this isn’t for you. People that go out physically shopping on Black Friday are, essentially, taking part in this country’s running of the bulls – it’s not about deals (which are sometimes ok), it’s not about getting shopping done, it’s about being part of the event, having the experience, living to tell about it.
But for some of you, there is actual shopping to be done. And there to help is just about any even vaguely-lifestyle-oriented publication, offering their own picks for what dumb shit the people you “love” need to fill their houses with, at least until they fulfill their dream of finally landing you that coveted spot on an episode of Hoarders1. Some of them are even useful, in an “I didn’t know that product existed” sort of way.
And then there’s the high-end lifestyle branding publication Goop, often a source of unmitigated silliness on the part of an actress who, despite her charming unwillingness to realize that she’s a ridiculous prat, continues in the face of seemingly-impossible odds to be a paragon of unselfaware craziness.
Many a publication will point and laugh at this selection of batshit consumer items, but since we here at ONAT are a higher class of individual, let’s delve into why someone in your life would need one of these things, shall we?
So first up we havethis zipper pouch. It’s hard to tell how big it is – the GOOP website doesn’t offer any kind of scale, and the Smythson website doesn’t include product dimensions – but theoretically it’s the size of some of the larger world bills, right? It’s made of leather, and the one pictured also has the added benefit of being totally hideous.
SO WHO NEEDS IT: More like who doesn’t need it, right? It’s butt ugly, so obviously no thieves will be attracted to its stunning good looks enough to even figure out that it’s a “currency case” in the first place, and not some weird pencil bag. Not to mention it’s sold at Barney’s, and they make sure to chase icky poors and minorities who would be after your currency out as a matter of course. It’s win-win! Plus, at the low low price of $285, after two to three foiled muggings2 it pays for itself!
Everything any man needs for a hotel room stay! Now, obviously that’s some advertising hyperbole. It doesn’t take into account, for example, the fact that you might be HIV positive, and thus need a bunch of annoying pills, or that you might be in a wheelchair and therefore need a quantity of civet blood to keep your chair’s wheels lubricated. But of course we can make these allowances, because for $100 you get everything a man needs to stay in a hotel room, packed into those three little boxes! Combs, razors, soaps3, an ipod with Douglas Adams reading The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy for help falling asleep, a robe, comfortable jammies – in flannel for warmth and also in silk for the ladies – slippers, a snifter, a small quantity of armagnac, cologne, a pillow4, an eye mask, ear plugs, nose plugs, assorted plugs for other assorted purposes, a domino mask, a fancy hat, some spirit gum, epoxy, a quantity of liquid latex, an alarm clock, a voice disguiser, several feet of rope, a collapsible shovel, two chamois cloths, a roll of paper towels, several sturdy trash bags, a travel yoga mat, a box cutter (make sure to check these before you fly or your kit will be incomplete, and that would be a disaster no man could want!), a rubber clown nose, a spare toothbrush and travel toothpaste, and several provocative pictures of Emmy Rossum. All this for the bargain price of $100!
SO WHO NEEDS IT: Once again, everyone! I’ve stayed in a lot of hotels in my time, and, like everyone, have met up with the heartache of having to “wash” with regular “soap” or wear my customary breakfast disguise fashioned of regular household items instead of the high-quality ones I am used to. In fact, ladies, if you want to buy a couple of these for yourself, I sure wouldn’t tell!
What the picture doesn’t show is, obviously, that this completely thief-proof utterly hideous shade of blue is actually dyed vegan leather! That means the bag itself consumes no animal products. This is actually a must-own item, as anyone who has ever had their hand, small dog, or pocket rodent eaten by a carnivorous bag can attest. In addition to not placing any animal matter placed near it in danger, it also doubles as “a clutch (in a clutch),” meaning that if you pick up eggs on the way to your fancy society soiree, you can keep them in there with the surety that when you get home, your clutch will contain as many eggs as it did when you put them in there! With its unstealable ugliness and its utter safety to all of your bag cheeses, this bag is not just a gift, it’s a necessity.
SO WHO NEEDS IT: Once again, this is for everyone that needs to carry a laptop or a clutch full of interesting live bugs!
It’s notebooks? That look like passports? I suppose if you’re extra paranoid about someone stealing your real passport, and you feel they’re easily-fooled, it might come in handy as a decoy, but as it is this is, basically, the only misstep in the GOOP gift guide
SO WHO NEEDS IT: Maybe the work gift exchange? If you know any cavemen who still use notebooks, I suppose they might appreciate one that looks like something else.
At first you might think this is nothing more than an ordinary flask with some national park logos printed on it, but pay attention to the fine print: this flask not only can be filled with espresso5, but can be used to bottle the very concept of nostalgia itself. I’m sure if you were willing to color outside the lines, you could bottle all sorts of abstract concepts in here, from “love” to “warmth” to “identity”.
SO WHO NEEDS IT: Think of how convenient this would be for the emotion collector in your life, who has all of those complicated concept-harvesting machines but no easy way to bottle something like that up on the go and drink it with his espresso!
It’s impossible to overstate the importance of a mat, but there’s a wrinkle: while it’s still true that only the “passport” notebooks are a misstep, it does seem worth it to point out that, since you are a civilized and decent person, you have need of a travel mat in your hotel room, and, obviously, that means that if you spend the negligible extra sixty dollars for the entire travel kit for men, you’ll get one then. It would seem, then, that this item by itself is a bit like a nail puller – it’s the less directly-useful part of something you can also purchase from the same outlet.
SO WHO NEEDS IT: This is spared from uselessness because sometimes it can be useful to send your decoy out to another hotel to throw off your pursuers, and if they break in to see the mat down on the floor, they will assume that they still have the right place, and will stake out your decoy room and leave you in peace. For that reason, it can give added peace of mind to the paranoid or the heavily pursued.
At first blush, this would appear to be nothing more than a conventional watch, like many other watches you could buy on any market. It is attractive, certainly, with its steel face, but it has several negative features: first off, the knobs stick out too far, which mean that you’ll be knocking them against things and unsetting the watch all the time. Secondly, being polished steel, you’ll have to pay your manservant overtime to keep it looking nice. And thirdly, it’s made of regular fully-carnivours nappa leather, As such, it is not the simple, less-useful piece it appears to be…
SO WHO NEEDS IT: Obviously it is unseemly to let the holiday gift-giving season pass without presenting to your rival some token of your respect. This watch is perfect for such occasions, its endless parade of annoyances presenting a low-level drain on his time and attention, and the incessant gnawing on his wrist of the leather band presenting a constant source of pain and distraction. GOOP really has thought of everything!
At first, I thought the inclusion of another part of a travel kit was another mistake, but GOOP is ahead of me again, but this is an important piece, because it’s non-toxic. It’s been such a regular part of my routine that I forget that all face creams and lotions are not fortified with small quantities of toxins to help us build up a resistance! Obviously a standard travel-kit cannot be expected to meet every demand, so GOOP swooped in to fill that void!
SO WHO NEEDS IT: Someone with too delicate a constitution to pursue toxin immunity through their skincare regimen. Grandma has lived through enough, don’t you think she deserves to be able to take a break from the grind of always inuring herself to dangerous substances?
You know, one of the things we forget in this helter-skelter, topsy-turvy world of ours is that sometimes it’s nice to simply have the gift of permission. This bag, which would ordinarily be so bland as to invite disappointment, comes tacit with the permission to monogram it! Feel the thrill of slumming as you decorate your own items, as though you were a poor person with a jar of puffy paint or a paint pen! As gauche as it sounds, it can honestly be quite thrilling
SO WHO NEEDS IT: In addition to the wanton free spirit in your life, this is also handy for those folks who simply cannot remember their initials. In times of great durress, this bag can also be ordered and the monogram space used to send a secret message to someone important, provided that message is only three letters long.
Don’t be selfish! Make sure to provide any sexual partners, war criminals, refugees or fellow Real People with a sleep mask of their own while their share your space!
SO WHO NEEDS IT: Anyone who habitually shares their sleeping space with strangers.
The real human condition, truly, is the ceaseless fight against boredom. When all of your other options have run out, there is always backgammon, the sport of kings. And while, much like with decorated bags, it is sometimes fun to “slum it” and consume the backgammon of the plebian, it will never not be necessary to be able to furnish, on demand, a proper, duly appointed backgammon set for a quick game, preferably over a flask of espresso. This one rolls up smartly, and, due to its solid, tubular nature, can double as a short cudgel in case your backgammon-assisted diplomatic proceedings are interrupted by invasion.
SO WHO NEEDS IT: A proper backgammon set is simply essential to a well-lived life, but not everyone needs a travel set, as playing backgammon outside of your home territory is essentially borrowing trouble. Still and all, they can be quite useful for people who conduct a lot of closed-door meetings, or who have particularly boistrous dogs, which have, of course, been known to disrupt the stationary backgammon games of many a gentleman.
Who among us has not found ourselves seated at a table, ready to indulge in our favorite food6 only to remember that we have no means of protecting ourselves against common plates? Even the highest-end of food-dispersal establishments, in a woeful and inevitable attempt to cut costs, have begun to wash their tableware with common “soap” such that you’d find in a retail establishment. Luckily for most of us, we’ve been building up our immunity to toxins, and so are unable to be affected by the deleterious effects of such cleaning sludge, but such is not the case for all!
SO WHO NEEDS IT: Just as there must be lotions and preparations for those who are no longer able to build up their toxic immunity, so must provisions be made for those who have yet to begin their regimen, and that includes, annoyingly enough, travelling with their own plates.
A largish bag of the softest, hungriest carnivorous leather we can find! It is a noteworth truth in this economy that the more easily-weaponized the gift, the higher the price, but this bag has a dual function – it can be presented to your nemeses as a gift guaranteed to destroy any belongings they apply to it7, but think of its utility as an evidence-disposal mechanism! Just wrap the object(s) to be disposed of in meat (or, if you’re particularly old-school, bake them into a custard) and you’re off to the races!
SO WHO NEEDS IT: Anyone with a need for portable evidence destruction, or anyone who has a business rival with a large amount of loose objects that are made of, or encased in, meat.
Another weaponized gift, this would make it easy to destroy your rivals’ passports, obviously.
SO WHO NEEDS IT: Therein lies the problem. If your rival is such a minor presence as to still need to use their passport for international travel, they probably are not worth the giving of a gift anyway. That said, if you take the time to train the leather to wait, it might be a good way to strand a potential rival in a far-flung country.
For those of us with the ultimate luxury – the ability to travel amongst the common folk without the need for constant preparedness and vigilance, there is this whimsical bag. Designed to be invisible in the out of doors, it’s sure to make anyone who sees it roar with laughter. Imagine any of us outdoors!
SO WHO NEEDS IT: Your favorite traveling cut-up, clown, jackanape or jester.
How are you supposed to keep all DNA evidence of your stay safe, as well as keeping your material away from the cloning-pirates? With this stylish and hilarious bag, of course! Just collect all discarded DNA-bearing material within, and dispose of it properly when you’re able.
SO WHO NEEDS IT: People who shave, and appreciate hilarity.
Tired of having to adapt as you travel? Let these four-in-one adaptors do it for you! Each can do all of the necessary adaptation for four commonly-needed areas, leaving you free to concentrate on your normal business, without having to fuss with things like “time zones”, “meal customs” or “languages.” Truly, these are a life-saver.
SO WHO NEEDS IT: These are absolutely perfect stocking-stuffers, and since no one ever has as many as they need, you can feel free to fill that sock all the way to the top with them!
Sometimes the simplest gifts are best. This is a hideous set of Lovecraftian embeded zipper pouches to keep your jewels safe and unstealable, priced to make sure that you can easily acquire as many as you need.
SO WHO NEEDS IT: Anyone who traditionally travels with jewelry, but is pragmatic enough to not mind such a utilitarian Christmas present.
This is certainly a bag, for putting things in. It’s not made of anything that will eat anything else, and it’s far too attractive to use for anything important, but who among us doesn’t have a few uses for a bag for putting things in?
SO WHO NEEDS IT: Anyone who has things that are not in a bag, who would like to have a bag in which to put those things.
Finally we move out of the travel items and into the items that are handy for around the home. One of the hardest groups to provide for these days is the help. With this smart and remarkably soaplike collection of sanitization products, that’s one group of people you can check off your list en masse!
SO WHO NEEDS IT: The kitchen staff, probably, although anyone member of the household staff would benefit from its use.
Allow your meals to be consumed off the mighty dahlia – symbol of inner strength and tranquility, and reminder of your eventual mastery of bodily poisons because of your constant ingestion of them.
SO WHO NEEDS IT: It’s perfect for the short-term thinkers among you, or anyone else who needs a passive-aggressive nudge in the right direction. Just remind them how innerly strong they aren’t, and you’ll have them buying their own dahlia plates for people they feel need the help come next holiday season!
Sometimes even the best-off of us feel the urge to occasionally prepare our own meals. Luckily, GOOP is here to provide you with the cooking vessels necessary to prepare the only meals worth cooking by one’s self: cocottes for cassoulet, and frying pans for steaks. Other providers try to sell you pots for dishes you would never be so gauche as to cook at home, but GOOP’s mark of quality ensures that you never need make space for such base things in your own kitchen.
SO WHO NEEDS IT: It’s perfect for young people just striking out on their own, as well as for the recently-uncoupled!
Alas, in these troubled times, it is necessary even in our own homes to be prepared to thwart ne’er do wells and tragedy at many turns. Luckily, they will be easy enough to thwart with this seemingly innocuous tin clearly labelled “bread.” They’ll never suspect it’s anything different!
SO WHO NEEDS IT: Those of us whose sanctuaries are, sadly, on inhabited land, as well as people that don’t eat any actual bread, as that would grow needlessly confusing (plus could end up with you eating any number of priceless valuables!)
We do everything we can for house staff, certainly. But we all know that one whose staff needs a little extra management, or perhaps who just enjoys the simple pleasures of making someone perform tedious, brain-numbing labor on their account. Enter this manual spice grinder, two pieces of sliding, heavy stone, and enjoy keeping it around either as a threat piece, or as the means to force the less-effective to literally grind their time away.
SO WHO NEEDS IT: Anyone who needs to be able to provide a little functional kitchen discipline, or who can only fall asleep to the sounds of grinding stone.
Doctors8 recommend that you drink a full carafe of alfredo every day, and this stylish and attractive vessel makes that much easier by being so attractive that you just can’t keep your hands off it!
SO WHO NEEDS IT: Anyone who has trouble meeting their daily recommended dose of alfredo, as well as anyone who finds themselves regularly running out of places to keep all of their excess alfredo.
Some may object to having such a nonfunctional, whimsical item in their home, but no Clue re-enactment can be complete without a proper brass candlestick!
SO WHO NEEDS IT: Your favorite Clue re-enactor, or even someone who is interested in the live-action real-time version of the game itself.
When Thaddeus F. Blightwater caught and juiced his first angel, the result of his messy consumption was the realization that there had to be a better way. For generations, angel juicing was left to messy, inefficient pulp-extraction methods. So invented the dedicated angel juicer. Now, all these years later, a home-model arrives, and for such a low price, how can you not consider who in your life would benefit the most from ready access to freshly-juiced angels?
SO WHO NEEDS IT: Obviously, angel juice isn’t for everyone, but surely we all know someone who takes that DIY impulse to its extreme, and for them, the juice of an angel that they can press themselves (rather than the angel juice they would ordinarily be getting from an expeller) is a gift beyond value.
For those times when you can’t get to your espresso, this countertop-dominating monster is designed to be like the coffee it makes: strong, intense, downright aggressive in its taking up of space and time for itself. Clearly state to anyone in your kitchen “look upon where coffee is made and tremble.”
SO WHO NEEDS IT: People who need a little more help being intimidating, people who drink coffee instead of espresso (they do exist!)
A lot of you have asked me “how do I weaponize the kitchen gifts”? Well, that’s a little tricky, especially after roboknives were banned after the Stovington Incident. The now-trendy idea of Total Rivalry is attractive to a certain type of person, and clearly GOOP is sympathetic to your needs, as they have included this attractive and hard-to-ignore set of cookery books. Waste each nemesis’ time with these books full of tedious instructions and mind-numbing photographs.
SO WHO NEEDS IT: If you’re a “Total Rivalry” practitioner, the answer is obvious. Otherwise, give it to the TRer in your life, and watch their eyes light up with anticipatory evil genius.
I must confess to being baffled by this tchotchke. I believe the only place sea salt belongs is in the sea, and I can see no reason why anyone would want to keep smallish bags of it around. Nevertheless, if you find yourself in need of something to fill space or perhaps provide ballast, a smallish bag of salt will fill that need nicely
SO WHO NEEDS IT: Someone whose gift doesn’t weigh enough, or perhaps someone who is experimenting with making their own sea.
While it would be folly to make your own daily alfredo, it certainly never hurts to have in your possession the tools to hire somebody else to do so. And a milk pan is unquestionably the most necessary of those tools.
SO WHO NEEDS IT: People with a rotating or unreliable housing staff, the recently-on-one’s-own, the recently uncoupled, highly trained lesser primates.
Providing much the same function as the previous collection of cookbooks, but in a more compact, lighter, easier-to-maneuver package.
SO WHO NEEDS IT: Anyone for whom the full suite of cookbooks would be too space- or weight-intensive.
Long have our compatriots debated the best way to poison the food of their enemies, but many of them agree that the most elegant way is to sprinkle broken glass in their food. How, then, to get the broken glass into the food? The easiest way is with these ingenius and inconspicuous bottle grinder – simply place a bottle into the space and grind bits of it onto the food. No one will ever be the wiser, and with their innocuous shape, no one will ever know how you did it!
SO WHO NEEDS IT: The elegant murderer (or murderess) on your christmas list.
Occasionally it happens: it’s your turn to perform Doma duty, and you go from place to place and simply no one has the tools to serve you. The proactive, and polite, solution is to simply begin carrying your own Doma server set. This one is stylish and elegant, while not being so ostentatious that you’ll be putting anyone on their defense with its presentation.
SO WHO NEEDS IT: Anyone who’s Doma rotation includes a more-forgetful district would benefit, but they also make a nice backup server set for when you find yourself caught flat-footed.
Another highly functional gift idea, the practice of glass creaming is only recently entering the phase of its develpment where it can be done at home, without lots of specialized equipment. Help your close friends reach the cutting edge and cream their own glass in the comfort of their own home with this highly affordable beauty!
SO WHO NEEDS IT: The home glass-creamer in your life, or anyone who just likes the conversation that comes of prominently displaying such a curiosity in their home.
Everyone knows that the best service upon which to present your selection of fine cheeses9 is cold marble, so that the cheese doesn’t change its state. This makes it easy to spare everyone the indignity of placing the marble slab directly on the table!
SO WHO NEEDS IT: The person in your life who most likes to entertain with cheese, or people with insufficient finger strength to pry a slab of cold marble from directly off a tabletop.
Ah, the gift of anticipation! Some would call it the sweetest gift of all! What will this book-like object metamorphose into when it is no longer in progress, but a finished item? No one can tell! Make sure to feed it regular spatterings of olive oil and you and your giftee can find out together!
SO WHO NEEDS IT: Someone who likes surprises, and has both a lot of patience and a lot of olive oil.
While it may seem vulgar to the point of obscenity to offer something so indecent as a mushroom knife in this otherwise-tasteful gift guide, I must appeal to your sense of the modern and ask: who hasn’t occasionally had the need for such rambunctious revelry in their annual parade of gifts?
SO WHO NEEDS IT: Oh, you know just who needs it
My confusion at the presence of this item on the gift guide left me reeling, so I got in touch with my contact at GOOP central, and have been informed that, while I am not privy to the details, this is part of an elaborate coded message, and is merely there for its shape and its color on the page, and is not actually part of the gift guide itself.
SO WHO NEEDS IT: Well, obviously the intended recipient of the coded message.
Ever notice how you never seem to have enough teapots? You buy them, you receive them as gifts, and you simply never know where they are. Give someone the gift of an easily-locatable transparent teapot! It’s as fragile as it is see-through!
SO WHO NEEDS IT: Simply everyone needs a spare teapot.
Gone are the days of dealing with those gallumphing, heat-retentive carafes! Enjoy these highly fragile, extremely conductive carafes in your home today!
SO WHO NEEDS IT: Well, obviously anyone whose wrists are worn out from trying to wield heavy, thick carafes
While consuming the flesh of the very famous is a useful and worthwhile way to gain the power of their essence, sometimes you have more respect for the star you’re consuming than to serve them on a regular old platter like one you already have.
SO WHO NEEDS IT: It’s durable enough for regular daily use, so any of the cannibalistic risers in your life could probably find a use for it.
Perfect for warding off evil spirits, banishing demons and squeezing over fish!
SO WHO NEEDS IT: Anyone whose kitchen could use a splash of color, who is enthusiastic about citrus, or who just can’t seem to get rid of that evil spirit infestation.
The real problem with candy is its ability to be accessed. Make a constructive statement about locking away your problems, or just taunt your guests with the inaccessible but tantalizing promise of delicious, delicious candy10
SO WHO NEEDS IT: In addition to the obvious recipients, it could also be quite useful to send a subtle message to someone who maybe should keep their candy less available.
Sometimes the best gift is humility. Remind yourself of everyone’s beginnings, of the tedious vicissitudes of life with these towels. They can also, with a little work, be repurposed to send secret messages.
SO WHO NEEDS IT: Anyone insufficiently humble, or whose message are insufficiently secret.
Sure there’s already a marble serving tray on the list, but what if you do have the hand strength to pick up a marble slab from directly on the table? Impress your guests by your ability to serve cheese properly, then intimidate them by being able to lift it up with nothing but your own brute force.
SO WHO NEEDS IT: The particularly strong person on your christmas list who also likes cheese.
Obviously anyone with even a bit of formality knows to only drink from carafes and flasks, but what about those times when you feel like letting your hair down, and being as louche as possible? These are glasses! Just like normal people drink! Fill them wtih espresso, milk, or even angel juice (if you’re feeling particularly brazen)!
SO WHO NEEDS IT: The rules-flaunting brawler in your family
It is, of course, always important to be able to mobilize your bar. Everyone knows that a good bar cart is worth its weight in gold. But how many of those bar carts have a name? With Arthur Umanoff, you get a bar cart with a birth certificate, a citizenship card, and documents to allow it to work legally in the USA! Arthur is also polite and respectful (so no more problems with surly, rebellious bar carts), and deferential to all of your orders.
SO WHO NEEDS IT: Someone who prefers that all of his household labor come from immigrants, or anyone that wants their bar cart to just be a touch more special than the average.
An upgrade on the cooler, certainly, but also the most stylish way to provide your cat with their necessary daily champagne bath!
SO WHO NEEDS IT: Any dedicated cat owner.
1 note to self: find out if Hoarders is still on the air.
2 that’s provided, of course, that you only carry around a couple of hundred dollars in walking-around money at a time. If you carry real amounts around with you, obviously it won’t even take that many!
3 real soap, not the “soap” they sell on the regular market.
4 a real pillow, not a “pillow” they sell on the regular market
5 and how often have you been out on a picnic and not wanted an entire flask of espresso? Honestly, after a five-mile hike around a national park, how can you not want to guzzle espresso like it was Chateau Latour?
6 real food, not the “food” they sell on the regular market
7 provided, of course, that they are unable to recognize the properties of carnivorous leather
8 real doctors, not the “doctors” they sell on the regular market
9 real cheeses, not the “cheeses” they sell on the regular market
10 provided you can figure out how to get it open to get the candy in in the first place.