For those of you who don’t know, my name is Alisa Starr. And I make Snarky Cards: Brutally Honest Greeting Cards. I sell them in bars from a box that hangs beneath my boobs. They will crack you the fuck up. I mostly haunt the bars of Portlandia, but I’ve been known to show up on Capital Hill, in Seattle, and I love The Mission in San Francisco.
Over the years, I’ve haunted a lot of different bars in Portland. I’ve walked into almost every single place that sells liquor in order to pay rent, or spread the good news of Snarky Cards. Muu-Muu’s is in Northwest Portland. I started selling there two years ago. And it became a staple on my route. I make a lot of money there. Almost every night in Muu-Muu’s is a $100 night.
But once I started selling there, Snarky Cards became a group project. And the kids who work there: Choia, Justin, Mark, Loren, Moira, Alonzo, Kevin and Noah, Big Voice Steve, all feel pride in my success. Because they’re part of it. They help me sell. They hype me up. They let me come in, and they like to show off my cards to anybody who’s drinking. They listen to my problems, and they tell me their shit. And we dance, and we work together, and we bitch about the same customers. And we hang out with the same regulars.
The magic of the Muu-Muu’s is that you can walk in not knowing anybody and if you sit at the bar, you make friends with your neighbors and the bartenders and you start to get that “We’re all in this together” feeling. Big parties and couples-in-love inhabit the tables, and you can see people falling for each other, or hear the uproarious laughter from across the room.
And, little known fact, if you sit at the bar, there’s a pretty good chance that you’ll find someone you wanna chat up, or you’ll find that someone hot is chatting you up. Not always. Sometimes the frat boys and hoochie mama’s who drink at The Gypsy invade the bar space, but most of the time, there’s some pretty good game getting thrown down at the bar itself. And I love me some good game. It’s fun to watch the hot boys and girls who go there to drink eyeing each other and trying.
A few weeks ago, I walked in and I saw the “Snarklandia” sign and my heart jumped. It was posted up at the bar, on the back of the taps. It was a low night. I’d been telling myself that nobody really likes me. And any second now I’d get kicked out of every bar in town, because they were sick of my tits, and my schtick, and my cards. I was having the “Big Alisa Meeting” fantasy/fear. Sometimes I tell myself that after I’ve left a bar, the staff gets together and has a meeting about how they’re all sick of me.
It’s not based in reality. I mean, bars have gotten sick of me before. But only a few bars. And it was mostly in the beginning, before I could gage where I could/should sell, when I was just blindly trying shit. I wasn’t friends with the people who ran those places. And I didn’t want to be. The Big Alisa Meeting fantasy/fear is loosely related to the “Ex Lover Island”. Which is something I cooked up a long time ago. I’m pretty sure that all the people I’ve ever slept with or dated are all living on an island together, where they have therapy (directly related to the trauma of sexing/liking me) and they form a support group on the island for whatever damage I’ve inflicted. Also, they divide chores fairly. Once an ex of mine has sufficiently recovered from the scars I left on him, he’s allowed a day-pass into the real world. From what I gather, this island has a good wi-fi connection. Because occasionally those fuckers try to friend me on Facebook.
So, today, firmly rooted in reality, I know that my bartender friends always seem happy to see me, but the relationships feel fragile. And I sometimes think one wrong interaction, one misstep, and their smiles will turn into looks of resignation at my presence. It’s probably just an extension of my basic insecurity. I am a bad-ass bitch. Who worries sometimes that nobody likes her. I don’t think I even knew that the Big Alisa Meeting fear was happening to me as often as it was, or how ludicrious it sounded, until I went to San Francisco, and I confessed it to Kaytea and Arlette. One of them laughed. And the other one said “That’s fucking bullshit, stop it!”. I don’t remember who did what. It doesn’t matter, because at that point they had become one seamlessly perfect best friend. And I was so grateful to let her handle all of my bullshit. After that, I got that the Big Alisa Meeting is a bullshit fantasy I’d concocted, and not a real possibility.
But this is before that. So, I was too nervous to ask right away if the SnarkLandia sign was about me. I hoped it was. But I didn’t want to say anything about on the off-chance that they’d be like “Well, actually, we had a meeting and we decided we don’t like you anymore. I don’t know who put that sign up.” I asked Moira If I could draw some boobs on the sign. And she was delighted to let me. And those three seconds of drawing calmed me down. And I let go of my fears. And I realized that whether the sign was about me or not, that bar is my home. And somehow I just… I started trusting that my friendships there are real. They love me for me. And they love me when I’m not super-on. And they love me when I’m tired. And they love me when I’m a little sad. I fell in love with the bar right then. And I included it in my idea of home.
And then Choia bought some of my Snarky Panties. Which she promptly put on her head. And I danced to the kick-ass music in the aisles, while I sold my cards to everyone in the bar. And the magic of that place infected me. And now, when I’m nervous about selling, or when I’m having a hard night, I tell myself that I’m going to end up at Muu-Muu’s. I promise myself that I can bullshit with my friends at the end of my night, and it gets me through until I can walk through that awesome door one more time.
So, if you’re wondering where I’m at, there’s a good chance I’m headed to Muu-Muu’s.Or maybe I’m already there. You should come by.