Archive | October, 2011

Halloween costumes

31 Oct

Best Halloween costume idea I’ve heard so far this year? Dress as a woman you admire. Here are some women I admire:

- Hillary Clinton
- Chelsea Clinton
- Shulamith Firestone
- Jill/Twisty Faster
- Natalie Goldberg
- Sappho
- Emily Dickinson
- Katharine Hepburn

The only problem with some of these costumes is that they’d be pretty difficult to pull off without explaining first, who you are, and second, who your costume is, to people all evening. The thing with costumes is they’ve got to be archetypal, or at least near-instantly recognizable. Admirable women with great achievements under their belts have a lot less social currency than, say, “sexy nurse” or “sexy policewoman.” And therein lies the problem.

Who were you? Who would you be if you dressed as a woman you admired?

Halloween Weekend Open Thread

28 Oct
This is the Halloween costume I would get for my cat
if he were the sort of cat to wear costumes.

It’s Friday, and that means Weekend Open Thread time. Stuck for a topic? I’ll give you some!

  • What are you going to be for Halloween?
  • What are you going to DO for Halloween?
  • How many pumpkins are too many pumpkins? (Answer: TRICK QUESTION! No amount of pumpkins.)
  • On a scale of 1 to 10, how much do you love Halloween? (My answer = 753.)
  • What’s your favorite Halloween candy?

A love letter to femmes

27 Oct

This is heartfelt, and hilarious, and long, and so worth it:

Here is the transcript:

To all the beautiful, kick ass, fierce and full-bodied femmes out there, I would like to extend my thanks to you.

It is for you that I press my shirts and carefully iron my ties. It is for you that I make sure my underwear and socks match. It is to you that I tip my cowboy hat. It is for you that I polish my big black boots.

I know that sometimes you feel like nobody truly sees you. I want you to know that I see you. I see you on the street, on the bus, in the gym, in the park.

I don’t know why I can tell that you are not straight, but I can. Maybe it is the way you look at me. Please don’t stop looking at me the way you do.

All of my life I have been told that I am ugly, I am less than, I am not a man, I am unwanted. Until you came along, I believed them. Please do not ever stop looking at me the way you do.

I would never say that the world is harder on me than it is you. Sometimes you are invisible. I have no idea what this must feel like, to pass right by your people and not be recognized. To not be seen. I cannot hide, unless I am seen as something I am not. This is not more difficult, it is just different.

I know those shoes are fucking killing your feet. I want you to know how much I appreciate that you are still wearing them. You look hot. I love you in them. They look great with that dress.

If it makes you feel any better at all, the boots I have on right now weigh approximately 12 pounds apiece and they make the soles of my feet burn like diaper rash in a heat wave and it feels like I’m wearing ski boots when I have to walk up stairs. But I wear them for you.

Even still, my new boots are velvet slippers compared to your knee-high five-inch heels. I notice, and I salute you.

I promise, I am not just staring at your tits. I am trying to look you directly in the eyes, but you are almost eight inches taller than me, please see above note regarding your five-inch heels. At the same time, I would like to mention that while I was trying to look you in the eyes, I couldn’t help but notice your lovely new pendant. I am sure it really brings out the colour of your eyes, if I could see them.

I want to thank you for coming out of the closet. Again and again, over and over, for the rest of your life. At school, at work, at your kid’s daycare, at your brother’s wedding, at the doctor’s office. Thank you for sideswiping their stereotypes.

I never get the chance to come out of the closet, because my closet was always made of glass. But you do it for me. You fight homophobia in a way that I never could. Some of them think I am queer because I am undesirable. You prove to them that being queer is your desire.

Thank you for loving me because of who I am and what I look like, not in spite of who I am and what I look like.

Thank you for smelling so good.

Thank you for holding my hand on the sidewalk during the hockey playoffs. I know it is probably small-minded of me to smile wicked at all the drunken dudes in jerseys smoking outside the sports bar in between periods because you are so fucking hot, and you are with me and not them, but I can’t help it. That’s right fellas. You want her but she wants me. How do you like them apples?

Thank you for wearing matching bra and panties. I don’t know why this makes my life seem so perfect, but it really does.

Thank you for being the daughter my mother always wanted. You are so smart and successful and you dress so fine that you almost make up for her having me and my sister for her real children.

Thank you for reaching out in the dark at the movie theatre to grab my hand in the scary parts. It makes me feel like I am strong, that I can take care of you. Even if there is no such thing as vampires, and you do so much yoga that you could probably easily kick my ass.

I want you to know I love your crooked tooth, your stretch marks, the missing part of your finger, your short leg, your third nipple, your lazy eye, your cowlick, your birthmark shaped like Texas. I love it all.

I want you to know that I know it is not always easy to love me. That sometimes my chest is a field full of landmines and where you went last night you can’t go tomorrow. There is no manual, no roadmap, no helpline you can call. My body does not come with instructions, and sometimes even I don’t know what to do with it. This cannot be easy, but still, you touch me anyway.

Thank you for escorting me into the women’s washroom because the floor of the men’s was covered in something unmentionable. Thank you for asking me if I had a tampon in my purse really loud so the lady in the turquoise sweatshirt did a double take before gathering up her daughter and hitting me with a pool noodle. I can’t say for sure whether that is what actually would have happened, but thanks to you I didn’t have to find out.

Thank you for wearing that dress just because you knew it would match my shirt. Together, we are unstoppable. When seen through your eyes, I am beautiful. Turns out I was a swan the whole time.

- by Ivan Coyote, who is awesome

Related posts: Femme invisibility; F-A-G; naval-gazing

Songs to sing along to

21 Oct

Friday music time! Since I’m too lazy/busy/insert-explanatory-adjective here to write anything heartfelt or insightful today, instead I give you some cheesy songs to listen to. And when I say cheesy, I really mean it. I have a whole Pandora station called “Cheesy Dance Party.” I listen to it almost every day.

I’ve never quite figured out how to describe my taste in music, which is fine by me but confounding to others. You already have my favorite torch songs, this week I give you a litany of cheeseball ditties. They’re kind of in-theme, but as per usual I don’t really know what to call the theme. Ten points go to the first person to correctly identify the overarching sentiment:

I put the ol’ iTunes on shuffle the other week and lo and behold this song came on. I think it came from a mix CD a friend made me in college, but it really sounds like something I would have listened to in the 80s had I not been busy learning to walk and tie my shoes. I have no idea why the music video accompanying it is Party Monster- themed, although it really makes me want to watch that movie. Also, it reminds me that I think my little brother looks like Macaulay Caulkin. He’s not a drag queen, though. Although one time I did dress him up like a girl and completely pulled the wool over my grandpa’s eyes. Good times, good times.

I love Prince so, so much. I don’t care what anyone says, he is a supremely beautiful man. And how can you not love his little boatneck shirt in this? 80s fashion was so underrated, until it was overrated.

Freakishly, I didn’t really start listening to Prince until the summer of 2005, when I spent a lot of time commuting with a Prince mixtape. I am pretty sure I first saw the above video, though, while my big sister was babysitting my little brother and me while watching VH1. I was definitely way too young to be watching this pure filth, but it must’ve sunk in because I have a fondness for Prince that’s out of proportion for someone who didn’t grow up with Princely goodness. Also? I think a love of Prince must run in the family – my sister and my aunt both love Prince too.

I have no explanation/excuse for this. I will say that it looks like the perfect candidate for a literal video interpretation.

Everyone loves PJ Harvey. This one’s from a mix CD my Brooklyn friend mailed me one sweltering summer in BFE, Oregon. I listened to it while drinking wine and making collages in my trashy apartment and taking unnatural measures of pleasure out of picking out my own movies to watch before falling asleep on the living room floor.

This one might actually fit in better with the torch songs. But you could also do an interpretive dance to it if you wanted to. Heh. Anyway, I got this from Ms. Deena, who put it on a mix CD called “dancey music” which is most excellent in every which way.

Since it’s Friday, that also means it’s weekend open thread time. I don’t have any topics in mind, so talk amongst yourselves about whatever pleases you! Just so long as the things that please you are mostly legal and thoroughly nonviolent, ‘course.

Footwear as political salve

19 Oct

Domestic violence is legal in Topeka. Men hate you. Women hate you. Journalists hate you. And your neighbors probably have more pumpkins than you.

What’s a girl in the world to do in order to deal with this sorry state of affairs? Distract herself with impractical footwear, of course! I’m nothing if not sartorially aspirational, and it’s my favorite fashion season – boots, Oxfords, scarves and sweaters for everyone! I never met an Oxford I didn’t like, and I’m on a genuine mission to replenish my boot collection after the Infamous Cat Pee Incident of ’07.

So without further ado, here is some of the footwear I’ve admired this week while distracting myself from Serious Social Ills:

These are lovely. I can imagine wearing them with a nice grey, belted sweaterdress. Which is something I would probably never be confident enough to wear. But something someone a LOT cooler than I am would totally rock. Tragically, the boot “shaft” (heh. shaft.) is too big.

These, while very similar to the first boot, supposedly have an edge as sources say the 1/2” platform would make them comfier to walk in. I remain unconvinced, however, that platforms ever deserved any legitimacy as a trend. Given enough time, I may come around on the whole leggings thing, but platforms, not so much.

I love these. I want them terribly. I want to save the picture of them as my home page and screen saver. I want to cut out several pictures of them, glue them to the ends of some pencils, and put on little miniature shoe-plays. All the characters in my shoe-play would drink tea and have monocles and wear tweed jackets with elbow pads. They’d be like Giles in Buffy. Or Wesley in season five of Angel. Only, you know, shoes. Shoes that do whatever I say!

I know, I know. I just went on a rant against platforms. But these are HIDDEN platforms, darn it. Kinda. And they’d make all kinds of super-long pants wearable. And they’re beige. I need some beige shoes, ‘cuz I don’t have any. OK, I do, but they’re open-toed mules and those are only really wearable one week out of the year because it rains all other 51 weeks here.

What kinds of frivolous daydreams do you engage in when hiding from bleak reality?

Wife-Beaters Welcome!

12 Oct

Topeka, Kansas is now officially the best place in the U.S. to beat your wife. The city council decided to repeal the local law that makes domestic violence a crime there by a vote of 7 to 3. Thanks guys! Their reasoning is not that they hate women, but that it’s just too darn expensive to prosecute the hordes of wife-beaters (and girlfriend-beaters, and various other beaters) out there, and therefore easier to decriminalize domestic violence.

One of the damn funniest legal writers out there, Elie Mystal, has a commendable piece on the Above the Law blog:

The Topeka City Council] wouldn’t have repealed misdemeanor ordinances about robbery. The(y) wouldn’t have decriminalized drugs. They wouldn’t have messed around with funding the prosecution of something that they really cared about.

But women, and the beating thereof? Oh, let’s make a political point about fiscal responsibility with that. They would have seen the problems with headlines claiming Topeka was a drug haven or the storefront robbery capital of the world. But when they contemplated becoming Disneyland for wife-beaters, they were cool with it.(via)

I know a lot of people who think of themselves as “socially liberal, but fiscally conservative,” and here’s an example of of that philosophy failing to the utmost. It’s hard to fathom anyone thinking, “Ehhh, what’s a few bruised ladies in comparison to all that moolah?!” but that’s exactly what the Topeka City Council (elected officials, respected pillars of society) thought when they decriminalized domestic violence.

On a scale of 1 to 10, how disgusted are you? Tell me what you think in the comments.

Happy Birthday to Me! and weekend open thread

7 Oct
An extremely generous friend of mine
volunteered to make this for me. I get to
behold its beauteous wonder tomorrow! (via)

In honor of it being Friday (and the most important national holiday of the year, my birthday), today’s weekend open thread is dedicated to birthdays. In honor of Linda Richman, I’ll give you some topics to get you started:

  • Do you still celebrate your birthday? Why/why not? If so, what do you do? Something tasteful, like a fancy dinner out in cocktail attire, or something ostentatious and with a lot of sugar, like me?
  • What is your favorite birthday memory? Your favorite birthday present you ever got?
  • What was your worst birthday ever?
  • Ever had a surprise birthday party thrown for you?
  • Ever had everyone you know forget your birthday?
  • Do you have any birthday traditions (for you, your partner, your kids, your pets…)?

Have a lovely weekend, dearies, and thank you for reading this drivel. Y’all are the best birthday presents ever!

Five things I saw in New York this week

6 Oct

1. Man dressed as Elvis, with shiny red cape, trying to hail a bus. Not a cab, mind you. A bus. Luck, as it turns out, was not on his side.
2. Old man in bow tie, smiling at me benevolently.
3. Girl in gold-sequined scrunchie. Take that, Carrie Bradshaw.
4. At least 20 men completely uninterested in the contents of my pants holding doors open for me.
5. Three – count ‘em, THREE – hipsters. In  a week of seeing hundreds if not thousands of people, only three were pretentious trust-fund babies feigning poverty and artistic proclivities. I like it here.

Special bonus thing I saw that I actually took a picture of:

Isn’t it pretty? There’s a whole sidewalk full of them leading up to a big ol’ library. I haven’t worked up the courage to go into the library yet because the last time I tried going into a library in New York they kicked me right out. I must look homeless or something.

It’s notable that New York City has the highest volume of library books in circulation in the US. Know what city is second? That’s right, it’s Portland. Being in these two cities is a very nice change from some other places I’ve lived (names redacted to protect the guilty) where the denizens voted to de-fund their libraries, essentially locking all the lovely tomes behind doors that never opened again. /shudder. I lived a half-block away from my town’s library growing up, and spent a lot of time in the stacks and snooping through card catalogs. I love me a good library. Also, book-smellin’.

Yay, books! What was your favorite book when you were a kiddo? Mine was The Little Moon Theater. I still would really like to own one red sock and one yellow sock, so I could mix and match them like the misfit in that book.

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