Clichés: from tartare to true love and points in between with piña coladas and getting caught in the rain

I had a really excellent dinner at one of my favorite restaurants last night. I go to Garçon a lot because it is super close and the food is really good – especially the soups that Arthur makes. [Also the staff is really, really, good-looking. Good looking French guys, what a cliché.]

I have been giving Arthur a bad time about taking his tuna tartare off the menu because it was one of the most yummy things ever. It’s sort of a joke because there is plenty of other great stuff on the menu, but it has become kind of a running commentary at this point. Last night he said that he hasn’t felt like putting it back on the menu because it is such a cliché.


I told him that lots of things become cliché for a good reason. He chuckled. But then he walked away.

Interestingly, I have been thinking about clichés a lot lately. [Though, if it were really a cliché, I suppose logic would dictate that it is not that interesting. But, nevermind.] The point is I have been considering the clichéd nature of so many elements of my life.

I want to be a writer/photographer/traveler. *yawn*
I am a single woman who teaches high school and has cats. *yawn*
I am an only child with entitlement and perfectionism issues. *yawn*
I routinely make predictably bad decisions regarding relationships. *yawn*


I came up with the latest version of my unwritten bestseller this week. It was like an AK-47 packed with all things trite: I visualized it looking like some sort of Palahniuk-styled paperback (think Diary), self-deprecating and humorous account of the foibles and follies of my life (hello Sedaris and Fielding), with braggadocio thinly veiled as “experience” (consider every travel author you have ever read, but Bryson and Gilbert in particular.) I wanted to call it Cliché. For real. I thought how each chapter could start like:

“You don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone.” I imagined this chapter being an ode to my long-lost tuna tartare.

Another chapter could begin:

“They say when you are in love you want to shout it from the mountaintops” and then go into some sort of humiliating anecdote about how that cliché has played out in my life. [No yelling from mountain tops, I can assure you. Not that the clichéd nature of the concept has deterred me from wanting it.]

And perhaps:

“Those who do not study history are bound to repeat it.” The myriad levels of cliché that line offers me is astounding.

There would have to be a chapter simply called “Crème brûlée” or “Tiramisù”. I think “Happy Hour” or “So, I got a tattoo” could certainly merit individual chapters. Along with “Cat Ladies”, “Burning Man”, “Yoga is my mantra”, “I know a guy”, “The Grateful Dead” [any genre of music really… I remember trying so hard to not be cliché in my music choices back in high school that I actually bought Hüsker Dü albums. Hüsker Dü was never cliché. You know why? They were not very good.]

There is a reason that things become cliché. They have some sort of merit. At least initially… and maybe that is good enough.

True love is a cliché. Does that make it lame? And crème brûlée and tiramisù are fucking delicious. Deal with it. Cats are legitimately good company. No one is going to think it sucks to have someone tell them they are better than a summer’s day. And you know every word to the goddamned Piña Colada song – although you may not know it is called Escape – and even while you hate it, you don’t turn it down. Because what comes around goes around and you can’t pass the buck forever and you probably pierced something one time that you pretend you never did and no matter how cynical the times dictate we must be, you’re still hopeful that practice makes perfect, even though you know nobody is…

You like Piña Coladas.
And getting caught in the rain.

Don’t worry. I won’t tell.

photo: Signs in chalk. October 9, 2011. 18th Street near Sanchez.


About Amanda

I am repatriating expatriate trying to work it all out. Well, to work some of it out anyhow. I am writing here for sanity, focus and general over-sharing.
This entry was posted in Chasing the Life I was Supposed to Want, Life, Perception, San Francisco, Silliness, true stories and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Clichés: from tartare to true love and points in between with piña coladas and getting caught in the rain

  1. Kelly says:

    I want to be a writer/photographer/traveler. *yawn*
    I am a single woman who teaches high school and has cats. *yawn*

    Two of my own myriad cliches. Plus (hello Sedaris – not so much the Fielding.)
    Another gem.
    And thanks for the ear worm.

  2. Debby says:

    Nice foray into cliché-dom. Enjoyed the link to Gilbert’s TEDxSF talk, too. I’d keep the tuna tartare on the menu for the pleasure of its alliteration.

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