News from the Flip Front: The World According to Jasmine Davila

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(Photo credit: Jasmine Davila.)

This content originally appeared on my former Chicagosphere online-media blog, hosted on the Chicago Tribune‘s ChicagoNow network.

Jasmine Davila is a frank blogger. Occasionally a frankfurter, depending on her mood. For the past nine years (you read that right), she’s been scribing News from the Flip Front, her “multi-blogular” tale of life as a writer, tech geek, TV-obsessed, non-driving, all-around awesome Asian diva living on the North Side of Chicago. She’d like the fries to go, with a little aioli.

It all started when Davila decided to chronicle a nasty, flip-flop-induced fall down the back stairs. The humbly sardonic deadpan of the post showcased her uncommon ability to skewer the world around her while making sure if a punchline was present, she was it. And with one well-bruised backside, Flip Front was born.

It’s easy to understand Davila’s writing style once you know her origins. A conversation with Davila last November excerpted from my own blog sets the scene:

“Don’t you remember, Mike, we both did time in Queens? When my dad left the Philippines and joined the American army, we bounced around for while then ended up in Richmond Hill. And Woodside. And…” She paused to grimace before naming a particularly far-flung Gotham nabe, “College Point.”

When you’re a Queens-raised, autonomous interborough NYC subway child, your overloaded experience of life before even your first kiss is enough to almost permanently tattoo a knowing smirk on your face for life. (Trust me, that’s my story, too.)

It’s a wink-and-nod approach that shines through her ongoing story of shyness in the face of a world that always seems to find her more interesting and lovable than she takes herself to be. Randomly chosen posts from her Flip Front life are telling: getting dissed by the over-hip staff at Relax Lounge; detailing her occasional slides into weekend hermitude and fashion spinsterhood; rewriting her life as a fiction novel for the added sexiness; promoting funky tweets found on twitter (find her @jasmined); chronicling the pathos of a Valentine’s Night for one.

Funny thing, she’s not the wallflower her blog might have you think at first glance. Beyond the Eleanor Rigby-ness of it all, Davila’s site also showcases a sneaky sense of humor, a clued-in understanding of world events, and a surprisingly strong sense of self-worth.

It’s a quirky combination. Davila’s a regular CTA bus rider who manages to fight off the crazies on the number 36 with ease, but still gets weirded out when people recognize her from her blog. In November she told me, “In the grand scheme of life, I have my readers and my crushes to keep me company at night.”

Sometimes I wonder whether she realizes sharing the together moments along with the messy ones offers catharsis to blogger and reader both.

No matter. The bravery of the telling and the wisdom amid the weariness blows me away every time.

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