I’m wasting no time in crossing things off my 30 Before 30 list – so last night, I got bangs!
What do you think??
We do not wear halter tops. We do not wear sleeveless shirts or dresses without cardigans, blazers or shrugs. If we do, we feel eyes heavy on our backs and our chests and we cringe and blush and try to cover ourselves with our hands, to no avail. We no longer wear that beautiful silk shirt whose ruffles are so heavy that they pull the neckline down too low. We shall no longer wear cowlnecks for that same reason. We do not ever wear tank tops.
We do not wear skirts that are higher than a fingers’ length above the knee. We rarely wear skirts anyway. We do not wear heels above three inches. We never wear heels anyway. We do not wear jangly earrings, even though the tinkling sound of metal on metal near our ears always reminded us of wind chimes on sunny spring days. We do not wear glitter, even if it makes us feel like the night sky.
We do not wear our pajamas to the grocery store. We do not wait at bus stops in our bathrobes. We do not go barefoot in public. We are appropriately ashamed of our chipped toenail polish. We do not line our eyes in kohl, or paint flowers on our cheeks. We do not skip. We do not run. We in no uncertain terms do not do cartwheels. We never glue gemstones to our faces.
We do not wear shorts. We do not laugh too loudly or for too long. We do not interrupt. We do not look up. We do not stride, or stand up too straight, or take up too much room in our chairs. We do not make eye contact first, and we look away and down quickly, blushing, feeling a rush of shame and anxiety as we pass strangers in hallways. We do not walk a straight line through a crowd.
No really, fluff! Check out these faux-furry bad boys:
What do we all think of these boots? I know, I know, they look kinda like Uggs (which, from what I hear, are not waterproof and become stinky after a while), BUT, these are waterproof and snowproof. YES!
I am in need of some rain/snowproof boots because I LIVE IN PORTLAND and the cuffs of my pants are pretty much always soaked. Not to mention my feet. Plus they just look sooooo cozy. ZOMG cozy. I would put them on and feel like a warm furry bear with opposable thumbs in a cozy bear cave next to a roaring bear fireplace drinking hot chocolate with whipped cream and teeny tiny marshmallows. It would be magnificent.
Special ladyfriend bought me a proper pair of wellies a couple of Christamasses ago but they don’t fit right and we forgot to exchange them. These are waterproof AND cute, right? Or do we think the faux fur thing is going to go out of fashion really really soon? Or do we hate it in general? Clearly I need your sartorial guidance, internet. So tell me, should I get the bear boots or will I look like a giant dork? (Ha, as if I could help that. I was a mathlete, after all, dorkdom marches through my veins like radioactive rubber pants.)*
*Bonus points if you can name that quote.
Guess what today is, guys?!?
Today marks the sixth anniversary of THIS BLOG! Amazing, eh? It’s weird to look back on the stuff I was writing in 2006 and think about what was going on in my life then and remember how whatever topic I chose was sort of a proxy for how I was feeling.
It’s rare I discuss actual personal life or stuff of that nature on here, because, well, some of you know me IRL, and as for the rest of you – if you don’t comment, I have no way of knowing whether you’re a real person or actually secretly scary monkeys from 4chan hell-bent on discovering my address and “lighting” crosses in my yard:
Anyway, why not take a little trip down memory lane in honor of this blog’s birthday, eh? It first began waaaay back in the days of MySpace. Everyone had a blog then.
At some point, I killed that blog – I think it had to do with an ex. I transferred all the posts over here, and some didn’t make the cut. Most of the “archives” that didn’t make it were the fashion posts, as I didn’t have the original pictures. Additionally, all the readers were people I actually knew – so I could post pictures of myself wearing dorky outfits asking questions like, “Does this blouse make me look washed out?” and get responses without wondering if I’d be recognized by psychos and set on fire (or, alternatively, mocked).
Many more posts didn’t make the cut because they were too personal. This space, which started as a creative outlet and personal record, has morphed over the years into a space for political commentary and general whinging. Which is fine. Although sometimes I do miss the bully pulpit of personal offloading.
In any case, here are some posts of note from the Wayback Machine to celebrate the sixth blogiversary of this them thar internet home of ours:
Thanks for reading, you guys make my internet-life complete! <3 <3 <3
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.
It’s been a week of nattering about appearances, hasn’t it? First we learned how to lesbonify ourselves, then we learned that to some people, “femmes” are invisible, and to others, heavier women are worth less. That’s a whole lot of Serious Contemplation about The Presentation of Self, innit?
|Did I mention it’s on sale?|
But it’s Friday. It’s time for fluff and open threads. So! In the spirit of the week’s theme, let’s talk about this awesome-looking pencil skirt! Should I purchase this delightful confection? I do so love job skirts. My über-fashionable friend D says yes, and so does the first fashion plate I ever knew – my mom – so I’m leaning toward yes. Weigh in in the comments!
If you’re stuck for topics to discuss (other than, of course, weighing the merits of various types of houndstooth), try these on for size (GET IT?! Try them on! For size! Ahhhahaha. It’s a wonder I’m not a professional comedienne. Solid gold, I tell ya.):
Happy Friday everyone! Keep on being awesome.
Years ago, when I was but a young budding queer lady, I worked quite hard on my queer getup. As a long-haired makeup-wearing be-skirted member of the female gender, previously in possession of a beloved boyfriend, my street cred was constantly in question. I showed up to parties populated by lezzies and received cold shoulders and withering stares – one alpha lesbian would often ask, very much within earshot, “Who invited her?”
Not being accepted by my own damn peer group was a new and deeply unpleasant experience, so I immediately set to work lesbonifying myself. I remember one outfit in particular that was a hit – army green shortalls (crotch cut out so it was more like a minidress with a bib), ripped fishnets, green combat boots, tube top. Even when attempting to be butch, I still couldn’t stop myself from adding things like tights and tube tops to the equation.
I no longer have to prove myself in this way, partly due to the fact that I’ve been dating women for so long that everyone has accepted that I am not some kind of Benedict Arnold. But the rejection I experienced still smarts – and it still exists in gay communities everywhere for non-mainstream queers. Just try changing your gender, or being bisexual, and watch as your previously-accepting social circle turns their backs.
Melanie from silly wrong but vivid right* has smart things to say (and good advice) about lesbian fashion, and how mandatory aesthetic conformity is just plain backward, so read on:
Hey, Sarah’s blog friends so you may remember, a short while ago, Sarah wrote a guest post on my blog. Well, here I am, returning the … I was going to say favour, but actually it was a privilege to have Sarah write a blog for me, and it’s a privilege to appear on hers. I’ve known, and admired the lovely Sarah for her writing for many years now (how time flies!) and am excited that our wee blog worlds can cross like this.
I was a little stuck on which angle to go with, and so asked Sarah for a little guidance, and this is what she said:
“How does being “femme” change your lesbian identity? (or something like that). You know, how do you deal with people who assume you are straight, or other lesbians who questions your “street cred” because you dress in girly getups, etc.”
So here’s my attempt at a response:
“I need to go shopping” I said to my friend Jo. She is the leader in all things fashionable, and she’s one of my few straight friends. Actually, she’s the fiancée of my Very Best Friend Ever, Chris. What I believe Americans would call a BFF? I learned that from Paris Hilton. Already, I’m digressing. I shouldn’t write blogs on Monday mornings.
So for the short while that I lived with Chris and Jo a few months back, I was well dressed. Jo works in events and so therefore ‘knows’ all the right people, and often attends fashionable parties in the city on roof tops with hot tubs. She wouldn’t ever wear the same dress twice. Her wardrobe is immense! Whenever I was off out for the night, she’d send me in to it to pick something. Thanks be to the lord that we are the same size.
I often try to manufacture my look a little too much, rather than just going with instincts. Quite often, while getting dressed, I’d ask her opinion:
“Jo, do I look too lesbian?”
“Melanie, you are a lesbian.”
“Jo, do I look too girly?”
“Melanie, you are a girl.”
It’s hard work, being a girl, and a lesbian all at once.
Back to the original point though – over cocktails one night a few weeks back, I mentioned that I needed to shop. She waited for me to suggest a time and place, and I had to tell her that this wasn’t one for her. The intention of this shopping trip was to lesbonify myself.
Manchester Pride (also known as ‘Gay Christmas’) was fast approaching, and just a couple of nights before I’d had to defend my lesbian status to a gay guy, in a bar called G-A-Y (!!) who then went and retrieved one of his ‘proper’ lesbian friends to get confirmation that “this one’s straight, yeah?” The girl with the Ice-White-funky-Mohawk/Mullet-combo confirmed. Despite my shaking my head at her in a very disapproving manner. She was hot – but she pissed me off.
I think I may have been born without the chip that sets other peoples gaydars off, and the fact that I like to wear makeup and pretty clothes doesn’t do a lot to help this. I should mention that my gaydar is finely tuned, and quite often I spot the ones disguised as ‘real girls’.
But, for Pride, I intended to get chatted up. I was going to give in, and put on the uniform. Jo was having none of this, she didn’t want to hear my protests, and told me that I shouldn’t ugly myself up to get a girl. Her words, not mine. Chris also chimed in with a little wisdom; “Mel, dress for your personality, not your sexuality.” I know, I know. I hate it when other people are right. Because to be honest, I’m not going to feel myself, or beautiful, wearing clothes that aren’t my style. I walk taller, with a straighter back and my legs look better in heels. In stompy boots, I stomp, I swagger. My tummy looks bigger. Stop laughing, it’s true.
Years ago, I had a big drove of babbling gay boy friends, who I used to go out and misbehave with every weekend. I was often assumed to be their Fag Hag. I bought myself a little black vest top, and some iron-on diamantes, and emblazoned the top with the letters F, A and G. People didn’t get it.
This seems archaic to me, to write all of this. Lipstick Lesbos (ugh, I really, really hate that term!) … beautiful lesbians, have been around for so long now, they exist in hoards, I know loads of them, they are everywhere. Lesbians are no longer only overweight butchies with crew cuts and neck ties, who will only ever be seen darkened in bars far off the beaten track. We now exist in the form of beauties such as Portia de Rossi (who I’m pretty sure the world is still waiting on to get over her ‘phase’.) Shows such as The L Word and Lip Service show us lesbians in the image that they really are – diverse. So I can’t work out why it is that my own community have a problem with accepting my sexuality without me wearing it like a badge. Straight people, although often with a flicker of surprise, don’t seem to have the same problem when I reveal myself to them – but the gayers; they just don’t get it.
I get the cultural/sociological thing; that people need to ‘belong’ to their group, that their identity is as a part of that group and that they want to wear this on the outside, to be recognised by others for their ‘belonging’ – but surely we’ve moved on from that? Surely with the ‘out and proud’ diversity that exists in the more civilised parts of the world today, we can all just be who we are without having to learn secret bloody handshakes?
Sexuality should be about just that; sexuality, not fashion. There is only one thing that makes me gay, and that’s the fact that I’m attracted to women. I’ll keep on with that line of thought in that hope that others will too, and that this changing world will continue to evolve in to something that allows us to remain the individuals that we are.
And wear high heels.
* My mysterious and hip British pen pal – she sends me handwritten letters! That means, among other things, that she is nearly single-handedly propping up the US Postal Service, for which we should all be grateful.
Additional VERY IMPORTANT but completely unrelated footnote: It is exactly one month until my birthday. AHEM. Just so you know.
“High-maintenance” is often used to describe women we don’t like, but does anyone really know what it means? The phrase “high-maintenance,” like the word “slut” is just another ill-defined insult hurled at women who don’t conform enough, or conform too much, to society’s idealized expectations of femininity. So last time I heard it, I looked it up – Webster’s is no use, so here’s what trusty old Urban Dictionary has to say:
1. Requiring a lot of attention. When describing a person, high-maintenance usually means that the individual is emotionally needy or prone to over-dramatizing a situation to gain attention
2. A person who has expensive taste (re. clothing, restaurants, etc.). This person is never comfortable because he/she is constantly concerned about his/her appearance.
At first, it seems weird that the phrase has two completely different meanings, until you take the time to think about what else the phrase is used to describe. What else can be called high-maintenance? Swimming pools. Layered haircuts. Silk clothing. Fancy cars. Orchids. Conversely, take a peek at what we describe as low-maintenance: Rock gardens. Cotton-poly blends. Cacti. What do these things have in common? They’re all things. So what do we call high-maintenance? Things, and women. ‘Cuz women are things! Get it? Ahhhaahaha. Backslaps all around!
Let’s take the two definitions in order, shall we? The first is a derogatory label for women who dare to ask for emotional support from the people around them. The second is a derogatory label for women who dare to take the time they need in order to conform to society’s expectations of them. By caring about her appearance – as society tells her she must if she is to be worthy of love or even leaving the house – she is punished by being called high-maintenance, shallow, superficial, flippant. But try not caring about your appearance for a sec – go ahead, try it! Stop shaving your legs, wearing makeup, and brushing your hair. See how long you stay employed, how long you keep your boyfriend, how long it takes before your girlfriends start talking about how you’ve let yourself go when you’re not around.
High-maintenance is just another empty phrase thrown around to punish women who falter while walking that razor-thin line of magically conforming to impossible standards of beauty while making it look easy breezy cover girl. Women who slink quietly out of bed to shower and put on makeup and then slink quietly back into bed – so long as they’re not caught – need not worry about being labelled high-maintenance. It’s those who dare to sleep in, and then make their poor sops of male companions wait more than ten minutes while perfecting that foundation and blowout, that need to worry. Or those that, after a rough day at work, occasionally require a few moments of quiet alone time before tending to the passel of squalling brats.
The rub is that, with all things patriarchy, you can’t win. Let your striving show, and you’re a high-maintenance shrew. Don’t strive, and you’re ugly and unlovable, or worse – a feminist.
Any of you readers been called high-maintenance before? I certainly have. One incident comes to mind in particular, when a friend of mine told me that if he didn’t already know me, he probably wouldn’t try to talk to me because I looked “high-maintenance.” I had no idea what he was talking about, and, to some extent, still don’t. Tell your stories in the comments, eh?
We all remember the ridiculous black pumps I bought back in March, right? Well, now the exact same type is on sale, but this time in blue and canary yellow:
If I were the sort of person who could use bright colors with reckless abandon, I would hurry to purchase these fun fun shoes in a panoply of colors. But honestly, my palette is somewhat limited to black, grey, and various earthy browns and greens. I’m pretty sure these would match absolutely nothing that I own, and even with them on sale, sale, SALE! I simply can’t justify the expense.
Meanwhile, I’ve worn my black pair of Carrie pumps today for the occasion of SATC2, which I am off to see with a gaggle of ladies after work, to my great and public shame. I suspect it will be a horrendous vehicle for faux-couture advertisements, but nevertheless, I will shell out my $10.75 out of some sense of solidarity and/or obligation.
I spent most of my teenagerhood woefully underprepared for cold weather. Putting on twelve layers of clothes just to walk from the house to the car, then from the car to school, seemed like a whole lot of wasted effort to me, and heavy winter coats were a hassle to drag around all day.
This tradition continued well into my college years, when people began asking me, almost daily and unfailingly in an accusatory fashion, “AREN’T YOU COLD?!!?” At first, I thought these “helpful” folks were expressing genuine concern for my well-being. Further reflection reveals that they were, in fact, merely passing judgment on me and my choice of attire.
There are about five damn good reasons why questions of all types that begin with “aren’t” or “aren’t you” are wrong, wrong wrong:
I developed a number of clever responses, ranging from the innocuous, “I’m fine, thanks,” to the “What if I am? Are you going to give me your coat? NO YOU ARE NOT NOW LEAVE ME ALONE.” My favorite lie-response involved making up a story about being from Alaska, and how in Alaska, we all wear t-shirts in sub-zero degree weather. I could then easily parlay the conversation into a diatribe about how much of a sissy the asker was, and how they ought to just tough up and be more like me.
Does this/has this happened to anyone else? What do you say when total strangers ask loaded questions like this one?