Author: Cheryl Botchick

How to Become a Car Person In Just 3 Short Years

In my 18 years in New York City, I relied on the subway every single day of my life just like everyone else. First, it was the G to the L. Then, the G to the 7 or maybe the G to the E. Then, there was the L to the N, the G to the F, the L to the 2 (and that horrible tunnel between them), and finally the 4. Just the 4. Live and work long enough in NYC, and you’ll earn the privilege of a single-train commute. For years, I traipsed through wind and snow, uphill both ways to the subway — not an old saying in this case, but likely actually true based on NYC Sanitation’s snow removal efforts. I walked in sub-zero temps and felt my eyeballs start to freeze. I plodded through swampy humidity with sweat rolling down my back. I darted around bewildered tourists at the top of the subway stairs. I always got on the train at the exact door that would match my preferred exit …

My Personal Hair-Metal Hell

There are only two bands on Earth that I truly hate. Despite having run the gauntlet of indie record store employee, college radio music director and Senior Music Editor of college radio weekly CMJ between 1988 and 2002, I only really have it in for two bands. First, the Doors. We’ll leave that one for another time. Second, and the target of my most virulent, Technicolor ire, is Mötley Crüe. Put simply, Mötley Crüe took some of the greatest influences in rock – the seed of glam that bloomed into the New York Dolls, the pull-no-punches riffs of countless fierce ‘70s bands like AC/DC and Cheap Trick, the parent-spooking studs and black leather of punk – and amalgamated them into the biggest pile of party-hardy excrement to hit the charts ever. Do I seem bitter? That’s because I was in high school at the apex/nadir of hair metal: 1986-1990. By the time I was 14, I was already a deeply invested music nerd, scouring liner note lists of “thank yous” to find new bands, leaning …

The Generational Pop-Culture Trivia Gap Explained

“Dig this guy cutting a rug out there like he’s Rerun or something.” I’m standing at my company holiday party, chatting with a coworker next to the dance floor. He scrunches up his face in reaction to my comment. “Huh?” Oh boy. Here we go again. “I said he’s cutting a rug — that means dancing — like the character Rerun.” “Rerun of what?” “Rerun. Rerun is a character. From the show What’s Happening!!” “Oh. Right.” He punctuates his acknowledgment with a blank nod and smile. I know this look. That’s him registering zero. I do a little Gene Gene the Dancing Machine shuffle to finish off the exchange as weirdly as possible. I’m writing this piece from what I call the Pastless Present: a place where brilliant youth are reinventing our future but seem to be utterly unaware of anything has come before. More specifically, I work in tech. In fact, I’m a woman in tech, and I’m 42, which is kind of like being a unicorn tap dancing on a rainbow. I like …

On Being the Loud Girl

I’m “loud.”  I have been told this many times in my life — in comic ways, in critical ways, in weird, demeaning ways. Suffice it to say that when I speak to a large group, I won’t be needing a microphone, thanks. I project. I credit and blame a combination of genetics and upbringing for my strong voice. My father is a six-foot-one, broad-chested man with a naturally booming manner of speaking. It’s not an effort or intentional, it just comes out of him that way. Combine those inherited vocal cords with being raised in a much more 1950s than 1970s style (speak up when spoken to!) and you have the makings of clear, ringing, direct speech. As a result, I’ve spoken clearly and fully from the chest since I was a kid. I never put on a “cute” voice. I can’t even imitate the infamous “sexy baby” voice that many young women use. I’m certainly able to speak quietly — it’s not like I have some sort of disorder — but at work and …

Yes, You Should Go Short. Here’s Why.

“Oh, I wish I could do that.” Hundreds of times I’ve heard this lament directed my way. Why? Is it because I can solve a Rubik’s Cube while holding it behind my back? Speak in numerous near-extinct tribal languages and dialects? Bend my thumb all the way back so it touches my wrist? Nope. It’s because I have short hair. Setting aside the obvious (oh, but you can do that — just let me get these massive shears out of my handbag…), I’m constantly amazed not so much by the fact that women envy short hair, but that they actually believe it’s somehow a hair style that’s totally beyond their reach. “You should cut it,” I urge them. “It would look great on you!” “Oh no, I could never pull it off,” they always reply. Pull it off? For the record, let’s create a short, but entirely comprehensive, list of reasons one could not “pull off” short hair: 1. You are Samson. 2. You have a wildly offensive neck tattoo. 3. You suffer from a goiter the size …

How an Unimaginably Nasty Online Comment Haunted Me for 13 Years

I am very, very easy to Google. On one hand, this is great for the ego; because of my unusual name, I’m the only me on Earth! But there’s a downside, too, which is quite plainly that I’m very, very easy to Google. I often envy the anonymity of the commonplace name. When Apple executive Tim Cook was elevated to CEO, my college pal with the same name receded into the vanishing point of the internet. Lucky bastard. For people like me, a semi-annual check of the results of a Google search of my name is a prudent, if not necessary, task. Some database glitch could attach “Cheryl Botchick” to a story worthy of @_FloridaMan, and there it would be for all my colleagues, clients and potential employers to see. Best to head these things off at the pass. Having spent the ‘90s as a writer for a popular music magazine, there’s generally quite a bit to go through: reposts of features, one-on-one interviews, album reviews, music industry mentions and the like. It’s a housekeeping …