Do you ever wish you could take the best parts of someone else’s identity and absorb them? That’s how I feel about Amy Beth Schumer aka “Amy Schumer.”
I basically want to juice her jokes and confidence and friendship with Jennifer Lawrence like tangerines and drink them, pulp and all. Since I can’t do that without going to prison for murder, I do the next best thing: I spend one week living exactly like her.
I use her book, The Girl with the Lower Back Tattoo, as my manual for what I subsequently dub “The Amy Schumer Diet” for the purpose of this story. After reading it from cover to cover and annotating in the margins, I decide the best way to execute my week of hardcore Schumering is to assign each day a “theme.”
Monday’s theme is simple: Get Ye a Lower Back Tattoo.
Getting a lower back tattoo is alarmingly easy. I log onto a well-known website by the name of Amazon.com and order a “Fantasy Lower Back Tattoos Package” for the price of $10. (Isn’t the internet fun?) They arrive on my doorstep 48 hours later. I realize the hardest part is deciding which of the 12 tattoo options suit my lumbar region best. Am I a red rose vine kind of girl? A celestial sister? A butterfly beauty?
I end up going with a simple black design since it looks the most similar to Amy’s. I make Yvonne sponge it onto me after lunch. She is wearing a safari-esque button down and sensible high-waist shorts, so it kind of feels like Jane Goodall is administering my lower back tattoo — a fantasy of mine since early childhood.
Tuesday’s theme: Fitness and Nourishment
According to page 249 of The Girl with the Lower Back Tattoo, Amy Schumer’s preferred form of exercise is taking a long, geriatric walk while eating a scone. I wake up early on Tuesday and kickstart my new fitness regime posthaste. I’m not really a “scone person,” so instead I go to Van Leeuwen’s Artisan Ice Cream (conveniently located a block away from my apartment) and order a scoop of vegan cookie dough at 8 in the morning.
I proceed to stroll (edit: plod) around my neighborhood at an octogenarian’s pace while rapidly spooning cookie dough into my mouth. My sports bra collects nary an ounce of sweat. I don’t even have to shower before work.
For lunch, I diligently try to acquire a piece of Jake Gyllenhaal’s freezer cake (which Amy Schumer famously admits to consuming without Jake’s permission when she was renting his apartment). By “diligently try to acquire,” I mean that I tweet the following at Amy:
To be clear, the friend is me. But she never responds, so I end up eating a salad from Sweetgreen dressed with balsamic vinaigrette and tears of rejection.
In her book, Amy shares that her favorite food is pasta with parmesan, and she likes to eat it as she falls asleep. I utilize this knowledge to formulate my dinner plan. As soon as I start to get sleepy, I whip up a bowl of spaghetti, grate some fresh parm, open a bottle of Amy’s favorite wine (Rombauer) and close my eyes while I dangle noodles into my mouth and slurp them down one by one like an al dente lullaby.
Of note: I also decline all offers of cocaine and ham throughout the day, since these are the two consumable substances Amy purports to dislike and actively avoids (see page 96 of The Girl With The Lower Back Tattoo).
Wednesday: Fiduciary Generosity
When Amy went to the Broadway musical Hamilton, she left the bartenders a $1,000 tip. Adjusting for the difference in Amy and my respective salaries, I resolve to give my favorite barista at The Butcher’s Daughter, Max, a 400% tip ($20) when I order my mid-morning almond latte. Unlike Amy, my generosity does not go viral. But Max is very appreciative.
Thursday: Romantic Pursuits
Amy’s first and only one-night stand took place with a “a six-foot-two-inch strapping strawberry blond of about thirty five years,” who turns out to be British and a former marine.
In order to accurately replicate this dalliance, I set my sights on Damian Lewis. You might remember him as Carrie’s baby daddy from Homeland. He, too, is strawberry blond-ish, British and a former marine (fictional, but still).
There’s only one small hurdle: my very brunette, very American boyfriend with whom I have an unspoken agreement to monogamously hold hands, clip each other’s toenails, avoid affairs with strawberry blond Brits, etc.
I decide it best to come clean before things escalate with Damian. I look into my boyfriend’s eyes, place a hand on his arm and say gently, “I need to have a one-night stand with Damian Lewis. For work.”
Luckily, he okays it.
Friday: An Introvert’s Delight
The title of the fourth chapter in Amy’s book is “I AM AN INTROVERT,” which just so happens to be the title of the imaginary fourth chapter in my imaginary book. What a small world.
When my friends text me to ask what I am doing on Friday night, I regretfully (edit: gleefully) tell them I am staying in and “finding time alone” to “recharge,” in the words of Ms. Schumer.
To properly soak up my alone time, I make a list of Amy’s favorite homebound activities:
1. Read Tortilla Flat and some poetry by Anne Sexton (specifically the poem “Admonitions to a Special Person”)
2. Watch The Royal Tenenbaums
3. Listen to Ani DiFranco music
After accomplishing all four activities (okay, I skim Tortilla Flat), I put my phone on “do not disturb,” fall into a deep sleep at the ripe hour of 10:30 p.m. and wake up the next day feeling fresher than a Listerine strip. Please remind me to do the Amy Schumer Diet every Friday for the rest of my life.
Saturday: A Trip Down Memory Lane (With Footnotes)
Amy’s analysis of old diary entries from her childhood with current-day footnotes is one of my favorite parts of her book. I can’t find any of my old diaries, so I decide to parse my ninth grade email correspondence instead, because it is essentially an electronic journal of all my thoughts and feelings. Allow me to present an email I sent to my friend Virginia in 2006, with footnotes from 2016:
Date: Tue, Dec 5, 2006 at 8:59 PM
WE HAVEN’T TALKED IN SO LONG.(1)
if we have a sleepover over break, i’ll give you the whole scoop(2) on you-know-who.(3)
sry i didn’t call. i had NO time.(4) but i absolutely promise that i’ll call tomorrow cause i have the entire afternoon FREE!!!(5)
SOHO = LOVE!!!!(6) let’s go absolutely everywhere.(7) maybe we can have a shopping/movie theater/sleepover day the weekend of the 15th!!!
j crew is so universal.(8) i love everything.(9)
(1) Our previous email exchange was two days prior.
(2) Who am I, William Randolph Hearst?
(3) My high school boyfriend — not to be confused with Voldemort.
(4) I was 14 years old, and I “had NO time”? Hahahahaha.
(5) An afternoon “free” from my incredibly busy schedule of doing homework and eating fruit snacks, I guess.
(6) Literally basic math.
(7) Someone needs to go back in time and yank my ponytail.
(8) Definitely something I overheard my mom say.
(9) I stand by this.
Sunday: Terrorizing the Public in Costume
If you need proof that Amy Schumer is a comedic hero, look no further than the above image from page 37 of The Girl With the Lower Back Tattoo, wherein she and her sister dress in fake astronaut costumes and sit on a public bench with a bewildered stranger who is clearly trying to pretend there’s nothing out of the ordinary going on six inches away from her.
I don’t have two astronaut costumes, but I do have two bath towels. Similar enough.
I convince my own sister to leave her dignity at home and meander the streets of the West Village with me in nothing but peach-colored terrycloth. Most of the strangers we pass on the sidewalk act like our attire is the most normal thing in the world, but one sweet older woman stops to warn us that we might catch cold and asks if we are wearing anything underneath. “Yep!” I say. “A lower back tattoo.”
Speaking of tattoos, check out these 14 inspiring ones and the stories behind them.
Feature photographed by Krista Anna Lewis.