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Animals of the Wild: Your guide to the Gold Coast Safari

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By Fred Sasaki

Summer in the Gold Coast glistens with silicone and inches. It’s irresistible. It’s expensive. It’s excess at its best. The anthem is captured in the thrum of crotch-rocket engines, custom Harleys, and thumping Hummers; the palette is bright lacquered Italian roadsters, artificial flush, canned tans and Louis Vuitton; the fragrance a dank sweet mix of grease traps, bad taps, cigarettes, exhaust and eau de parfum. It’s overwhelming at times and in order to fully appreciate the animals on display it is important to not only find a nice café chair on which to sit and whiff the haute culture, but to embark on your people-watching primed to recognize the most distinguishing characteristics of the myriad species of the Côte d’Or. The following is an abridged anthropological guide to the neighborhood—perfect for the novice and initiated alike.

Androgynous Narcissist

These plasticized androgynes are asexual, poisonous to the touch, and easily recognized by their bright highlights and acrid perfumes. Streamlined with sharp noses and swollen lips and breasts, they are outfitted in LYCRA® and are highly flammable. They are expressionless and often mistaken for mannequins. Usually found smoking and gossiping in front of department stores and salons, one should never approach them for fear of botulism. Eye contact is to be avoided at all costs.

Barely Legal Suburbanite

A migratory breed, these starlings are the infant seeds of suburban mediocrity. Rosy-cheeked and candy-scented with asymmetrical hems, necklines and haircuts, they are seen sneaking into clubs and giving indiscriminate blowjobs. They are smiley and bejeweled and make eyes with any man over 5’8”. They constantly ask, “Why does every guy want to talk to me?” They spontaneously kiss each other in front of cell-phone cameras.

Bugaboo Baby Mamma
This is the nuclear mama 3000. Seen with the Bugaboo Baby Daddy only on the weekend, she enjoys her strolls, Starbucks and stopgap shopping with the utmost economy. She looks at no one, stops for nothing and can turn her stroller (equipped with mosquito netting and all-weather tarp) on a dime. During the first months of her baby’s infancy she nurses openly and power-walks her carriage (with optional parasol) while wearing tight-fitting tanks that say, “Got Milk?”

Chicago Girl
The native counterpart to the Mousse-Headed Guy-Guy [see Mousse-Headed Guy-Guy], the Chicago Girl is, like, the perennially prized conquest. Her blooms change annually whether it be bubblegum-pink skin-tight Ts, leg warmers, Chanel-like sunglasses, or metallic handbags and sandals. She is invariably blonde, thin or promiscuous, and has hair cut after the current it-girl. Her common calls are, like, “Whatever,” “Oh ma Gawd!” “Yea right” and “That is so interesting.” She loves beer and French fries and is easily coerced to down sugary shots.

Khaki Man-of-Kin
This well-ironed sect of the male species wears khaki pleated pants with tucked blue button-downs interminably. Impeccably groomed and in order, everything is practical and mother-approved down to the monogrammed laptop bag. They can be seen everywhere with their hands in their pockets, nodding, “right, right, yea, right.” The Khaki Man-of-Kin is similar to, but not to be confused with, the Corporate Bruise—a slightly more sinister breed whose only differentiating characteristic is black-pleated pants.

L’homme avec un petit chien

This is a walking, talking, poop-scooping personal ad. He likes long walks in the park, everything except country music, doesn’t smoke, just bought a one-bedroom new-construction condo, and feels no need to assert his manhood (he easily confesses to keeping his first stuffed animal by his bedside). He is unassuming and deceptively attractive in cargo pants, pique polo, and ball cap. He makes a great wedding date, is a hit at barbecues, and wonderful with parents and small children. To him the entire world is seen in terms of his dog (i.e. we all just want a belly-rub).

Luminous Silicide (a.k.a. Spent-Star)

From afar, the Luminous Silicide looks the star. And like a star whose light may have been extinguished eons ago, it is only at twenty feet that her over-age betrays her. From behind or in the right light, her taught musculature, generous appendages, and Forever 21 attire makes her the quintessential Venus flytrap. She often plays the part of diva-starlet avoiding the paparazzi by donning dark glasses and hats.

Mousse-Headed Guy-Guy

Perhaps the most prevalent of the neighborhood species, akin to the urban pigeon, the Mousse-Headed Guy-Guy can be seen wandering Division or anyplace with disco lights and copious amounts of midriff. The Guy-Guy is easily discernable by his simple-to-spot traits: he wears unwashed fashion jeans with un-tucked, loosely buttoned Banana Republic button-downs that are often French cuffed sans cuff links; his hair is at attention and haphazardly styled as a sign of his wild and fertile stiffness; his skin color is white to various shades of orange-bronze. Common calls are, “Sa-weet,” “Dooode,” and “Check-it out.”

Ruffle-Breasted Puffer
Of the older set in the Gold Coast, the Ruffle-Breasted Puffer is a migrating suburban bird found browsing Oak Street during the afternoon hours just before and after high tea. Egg-shaped and top-heavy, the Puffer’s chest is feathered with superfluous ruffles. Their meaty arms are usually exposed and their legs are covered with spandex-like leotards. Their pointy heels clack nervously when flirting with busboys and maitre d’s. At sunset they cluster in droves and gorge at H&M and the Cheesecake Factory.

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