That’s a phrase repeated in Karen Kilgariff’s and Georgia Hardstark’s dual memoir Stay Sexy & Don’t Get Murdered – The Definitive How-To Guide.
Kilgariff and Hardstark, of course, are the co-hosts of the cult-hit podcast My Favorite Murder. Launched in 2016, their ‘Murderinos’ (the name their Facebook group members call themselves) number well into six figures. Shop for hundreds of My Favorite Murder t-shirts and memorabilia on Etsy. And now, buy the hardcover memoir. And I encourage you to do precisely that, because it’s a really good read.
They may be unlikely duo, and met only a year before doing the first My Favorite Murder podcast. Kilgariff is a TV writer and standup comic, Hardstark was a Cooking Channel cohost, both sharing a fascination with true crime stories, a sharp sense of humor and perhaps most important, sheer rage over the treatment of women (crime victims, specifically) in the mainstream media, the legal system and our culture at large.
“Fuck polite?” No mystery there. Young girls are so thoroughly indoctrinated to be polite and deferential that they continue to demur even when thrust into increasingly creepy and downright dangerous situations. You know, those utterly icky situations where something simply doesn’t feel ‘right’. Which is really the time to say no, to ignore politeness and the ingrained deferential response…to get the hell outa there. But all too often, it’s too late once they become victims of horribly inappropriate behavior (at best) or (worse) abuse, assault, rape and murder. ‘Fuck polite’ simply means that there’s no need to be polite to that seemingly nice young man with his arm in a sling who asks for assistance, because he just might be the next Ted Bundy. There’s actually no need to approach the friendly old gent leaning out of his van and asking for directions, or to accommodate all the other repairmen, delivery men, parking lot attendants, cabbies, ride share drivers or even that evening’s date. It’s not mandatory to be polite or to give anyone the benefit of the doubt. What is mandatory is to do what you want to do so while staying safe…and staying alive.
And so…fuck polite.
Kilgariff and Hardstark’s book is a pretty quick read, full of funny bits and bittersweet memories side-by-side with biting rants and poignant memoir. In some ways, it reads like one of their podcasts committed to ink-on-paper…just with ‘more’. I read the hardcover. While I’m normally not an audio book fan, I realize this would’ve been one book to listen to instead. Check it out, and once you have, see if you don’t want to recite one of their Murderinos’ mantras: “Pepper Spray First, Ask Questions Later.”
(Live event photo via Rolling Stone)