Complaint 74.5

by Brittany Menjivar

I will meet a mean girl at a party. We’ll commiserate over our childhood scoliosis, an easy way into pulp victimhood. I’ll attend another party the next night, in zombie makeup and angel wings. I’ll run into a model I’ve met only thrice — twice in real life and once in a dream. I’ll tell her I’m moving to the Lower East Side, even though my side hustle is going even worse than my other side hustle. 

Later, I’ll spy a cute guy; when I try to approach him, I’ll lose him in a crowd of undergrad beauty queens with 60-something sugar daddies who look like archaeologists (/derogatory). When I get home, alone, I’ll replay a song I found on Vimeo a few years back — “I Wanna Marry an Archaeologist,” about a girl who wants to marry an archaeologist (/lighthearted). None of the men who appear in the music video (a montage of footage from ’80s flicks) are real archaeologists. I’ll realize that I can’t name any real archaeologists. I’ll wonder if this is a sign of moral purity or a mortal sin. 

Vimeo will read my mind using 21st-century technology that recognizes me as the center of the metaverse, and promptly recommend me a documentary about the Christian teen dating scene. I will long for another life in which I, once a Christian teen, was interviewed for such a production — just so I could have my purest, most surface-level thoughts recorded somewhere. Then I will map out my future in film. My breakout short was sponsored by a major corporation; my next one must be a Tribeca indie, starring me (multi-hyphenate), one street-casted stud whose Instagram will soon blow up, and one nepo baby with the ability to cry on command. I will fill the men’s roles quickly, and obtain funding with ease. It will be the street-casted stud’s first picture, and the nepo baby’s fourteenth. “Fourteenth?” I’ll exclaim upon learning this fun fact. I’ll look him up on IMDb and scroll through his filmography — a litany of intersectional, empowering blockbusters and low-budget shorts in which the “r slur” is used with abandon. Sighing, I’ll remember the Bushwick boy (born: 1979) who served as last month’s lover. Dating him, I rehearsed the same phrase before a mirror each day — “I’m not offended by much” (first spoken with my signature vocal fry, then with a Mid-Atlantic accent in an attempt to emulate the feminist victim-vixens of pre-code cinema). The more I repeated this, the less I cried when falling off my skateboard. Eventually, my leg boasted a constellation of bruises. I didn’t let Bushwick boy touch them… but I will let the nepo baby, because of course he’ll want to. We’ll go back to my apartment after a shoot, and he’ll play connect-the-dots with one cold fingertip. Falsely assuming I know about astrology, he’ll tell me I’ve got Aquarius on my skin. Yawning, begging sleep to take me over in his deathlike arms, I’ll muster up the strength to ask him, “What does that mean?” — and he’ll say, “Sweetie, it means you’re right where you’re supposed to be.”

Brittany Menjivar is six feet tall in her favorite boots. In 2021, she graduated from Yale, where she majored in English and Film radicalization and haunted house studies. Her short film “” (dir. Alison-Eve Hammersley) is available for streaming on the ALTER YouTube channel, where it recently reached one million views. Her work has been published by pan-pan press and Versification. Follow her exploits on Twitter and Insta @BrittMenjivar.

Image by Ethan Zhan from Pixabay.