Archive | me me me RSS feed for this section

Ballet and body image

12 Jun

I, like millions of other little girls, grew up dreaming of being a prima ballerina. As soon as I was able, I began checking out the same three books about ballet from the library over and over and over, poring over each page, each photo, each dance step tutorial. My favorite was about a deaf girl who kept the beat of the music by feeling vibrations through the floor. Soon I had every position memorized and began using my dresser as a ballet barre. I begged my parents to send me to lessons – reasoning it was only fair that I take ballet, as my brother took baseball and we should each be allowed to have one extracurricular hobby.

Tutus are rad.

Modern tutus are affordable and come with stretchy waistbands so even non-ballerinas can pretend to be ballerinas in the privacy of their own homes.

I loved everything about ballet: the dancers’ strong, long limbs; their high, tight chignons; the grand pianos in the practice rooms; their romantic performance skirts; their utter fanaticism – skipping high school to study dance, shipping their preadolescent selves off to Russia to become the very best at a dying art, eschewing the pubescent party scene to practice plies and pirouettes.

Little did I know that while Little League is nearly free, ballet lessons are expensive. I took a single year of classes before my parents gave up the budgetary ghost, during which I learned many useful facts:

Pippi

  • Pirouetting to the left is harder than to the right
  • Tights + leg hair = itchy
  • I am more flexible than the average person, but not more flexible than the average ballerina
  • I have a perfect point
  • If part of your Halloween costume as Pippi Longstocking involves wire hangers in your braids, and you don’t have time to change before class, your braids will scrape the wall during your barre work, and probably leave a mark

The most important lesson I learned, though – imparted to me personally by Madame Instructor herself, a wizened old woman and an expedient disciplinarian – was that I simply did not have, and would never have, the “body type” of a real ballerina. It’s hard to fathom how the teacher could have possibly drawn any conclusions about my suitability for – or interest in – an adult career in professional dance based off of my 9-year-old body, but there you have it. And thus one of the many seeds of body hatred was sown in my innocent little mind. I was not thin enough, not rich enough, not good enough for the one thing I wanted more than anything else: to dance, dance, dance.

So, were there any evil grown-ups in your childhood life that tried to squash your dreams for no good reason? And do you remember a particular moment when your self-image (body- or otherwise) was thoroughly cemented in your wee childlike mind?

PS: Subscribe!

Things rich people get for free

27 Mar

I flew first-class a while ago. I figured that it would be the same as regular-class, except with bigger seats. OH NO, my friends, THAT IS NOT SO. There are free things. THEY GIVE THE RICH PEOPLE FREE THINGS. Allow me to regale you with a list of Unlimited Things Rich People are Given for Free While Flying:

  • Alcohol
  • Soda
  • Tiny bottles of water
  • Tiny candy bars
  • Cookies, pretzels, peanuts
  • Hot towels*
  • Dinner**
  • GIANT ARMRESTS
  • Pillows, blankets
  • Seats that recline to a comfortable and reasonable distance
  • First choice of where to put your crap
  • Obsequious service

I’m not kidding about that obsequious service part. After partaking liberally in everything that was free, I passed out in my chair. I woke up at some point to adjust my position in my 45-degree reclining chair (!) and the attendant said, “You know, if your drink goes flat I can replace it for you.” SERIOUSLY.

* I’m still not clear on the purpose of these. I watched the old white men to see what they did with them. One guy wiped his hands, another guy wiped his face. I briefly considered taking a bum bath for lulz (ha!) but just copied the white-hairs, minus the face thing cuz makeup, duh.
** Not just any ordinary plane ride dinner, you guys. It had an entree, a fruit side, a salad, chips, a dessert and actual silverware on a freakin’ platter. A PLATTER. And a cloth napkin.

Time for some fluff

14 Mar

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.

Jerks on the internet, jerks in real life

5 Mar

As you might guess, I spend a fair amount of time on the internet. It’s a pretty great medium for curating Important World News, tasty new recipes, and ridiculous makeup tutorials (little known fact: I’m secretly a drag queen). It also works pretty well for meeting new friends who share my interests, as opposed to the IRL version of meeting new people, which mostly involves proximity. Why leave things to chance when you can find new friends who are pre-approved by the internet as awesome, amirite?

As such, I like to host meetups – which are real-life get-togethers for internet people. I do dance ones, and queer people ones, and feminist people ones, and anything else that sounds interesting. Because, despite my misanthropy, I have this irrepressible urge to meet and become friends with people. I can’t explain it, it’s just the way it is. I organize monthly bar crawls, am doing Portland’s first-ever queer bar takeover this Saturday, and throw an obscene number of parties despite the smallness of my house.

This last Saturday I organized a lesbian bar crawl – it was fun as always, and I got to see some familiar faces as well as meet a bunch of really cool new people (WHY didn’t I get everyone’s phone number?! Oh, right – I was busy taking shots.) The night got off to a rocky start, though, and ended on a sour note.

The beginning: A handful of women (who had been confused by the invitation and shown up an hour early [admittedly my fault]) were quite cold to me and others when we arrived. I thought at first they may have been upset at the timing of our arrival – but they seemed to be having a good time talking to one another. After a bit of awkwardness, as we were gathering up to head off to the next bar, this pack of … ladies… announced loud enough for at least one person to hear that they were leaving because there weren’t enough femmes in attendance.

Leaving. Because. Of. Lack. Of. Femmes. Honestly, I think I probably brought enough femme for everyone (red lipstick, 3-inch heels, crinoline dress, checked stockings, flower headband, hairspray’d updo). But that’s beside the point. Here was a group of people who’d knowingly showed up to make new friends, and then decided to leave because some of the people in the group didn’t look as they prefer. They didn’t even TRY to talk to anyone outside their group, despite my frequent attempts at engaging them. Good riddance, I suppose. But I still just can’t fathom why of all the things there are to do on a Saturday night, you’d choose to go to an event designed for mingling with such a narrow mind. What a pack of bitches. And what a shitty switch from the usual “you can’t be in the lesbian club because you’re too femme” crowd. Frying pan, meet fire.

The evening progressed well after that, and everyone else was nothing but charming and lovely. There was much cider-drinking and cheese-eating and general loudness. Special ladyfriend ran into her straight friend on the way to one of the bars, and we had a straight male ally show up, and everyone welcomed both of them as they would any other nice people. Because that is what normal people do! It doesn’t matter what your gender or orientation or gender presentation is, there is a human being underneath all that shit who is probably funny and interesting and smart in ways that are different from you. Or maybe they’re an asshole. Either way you won’t find out unless you talk to them. Why the hell would anyone give two shits about anything else?

When we got to the last bar we split into two groups as there were so many of us. Unbeknownst to me, as I was busy laughing my ass off, someone on the other end of the room who had been with the original group of crankypants people but stayed behind, was going on a cissexist, transphobic rant. As I innocently ogled pole-dancing pictures on my friend’s phone and arranged people into ridiculous poses for photographs, this was happening. I didn’t find out until the next day when my friend who witnessed the rant, messaged me to tell me she wouldn’t be coming to anymore of this type of get-together. I don’t blame her, I wouldn’t either.

I’m not really sure how to police people’s behavior at something as casual as a bar crawl, especially when I am likely to quickly become too intoxicated to really notice anything but the fact that everyone is suddenly very interesting and hilarious. Until I figure it out, though, meetups may have to be in a holding pattern.

Except this Saturday’s meetup, of course. That’s already scheduled and is an unstoppable steamroller of queerness. If you live in or near Portland, you should come. Unless you hate femmes, not-femmes, trans people, or any other group of people for no good reason. Then you should just stay home and eat moldy waffles.

Six years of self-involved drivel!

8 Feb

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

Pop hits of the whenever

18 Jan

Here are some random songs with which I’ve been enamored at one point or another in life. Most of them started out as a sort of ironic love, and then at some point the irony left and the love remained. So if you were less awesome than I am, you’d be afraid to admit you like these:

Oh, Phil Collins. I have a factory copy of your Greatest Hits. It was actually among the first CDs I ever bought myself, along with my first real CD-playing stereo (an upgrade from the tape deck boombox and the discman from my little brother). All the boys make fun of you, Phil, but you know what? At the end of the day, you may be short, pudgy and balding, but you’re still a rock star.

I came to Journey late in life. Not too late to realize the AWESOMENESS that is Journey, though. Haters gon’ hate, I don’t give a poopie. STREETLIGHT PEOPLE, you guys. Streetlight people. WERD.

Fleetwood Mac RULES. Everyone knows Landslide (or at least the Smashing Pumpkins cover), and Go Your Own Way, but I didn’t find out about Rhiannon until Steve Jobs invented Pandora. Just kidding, Steve Jobs didn’t invent Pandora. Anyway, Stevie Nicks, woooo!

EDIT to include Peter Gabriel. How could I forget the man who does duets with Kate Bush AND Paula Cole? Hot.

And that’s all you get for today. What are some embarrassing songs you like? It’s notable that embarrassing songs are suddenly cool when sung at karaoke night. Keep this in mind, internet people, next time you’re drunkenly pawing through those giant directories of karaoke songs to sing at the local watering hole. The cheesier, the better!

The case of the disappearing couch: A Tale from 2006 (or thereabouts), Part 2

17 Jan

(Read Part 1 here.)

So the couch. It was missing. We had nowhere to sit. Or rather, we had places to sit, but they were not cozy. They were, in fact, hard-backed wooden dining chairs, which are the same hard-backed wooden dining chairs I still have. Although they’re in rather desperate need of a refinish, especially after L and I worked so hard to refinish the dining table, now nothing matches.

In any case, we were couchless. This would make our soon-to-be-scheduled Rocky Balboa marathon viewing session rather uncomfortable. (If I haven’t espoused my love for Rocky here before, let me do so now. I loved those movies, in particular movie No. 1. “Yo Adriennneee!” What a cutie.)

So naturally being of the nonconfrontational sort, I went directly to bed, in hopes the problem would solve itself overnight. The morning revealed lovely rays of sunshine bursting through the Oregon cloud cover. The sunbeams fell, of course, on a large gaping hole in the living room where the couch belonged. (Also, the couch at the curb had disappeared, but that was less noteworthy.) So, I did what any sane postadolescent-posing-as-an-adult would do, I put on some flip-flops and stalked to each of the neighbor’s houses and asked if they’d seen anyone make off with the couch. Each neighbor shook his or her head, admitting that they’d been at work or hadn’t been paying attention, or just hadn’t noticed anyone carting a giant brown behemoth furnishing under their noses and off to Timbuktu.

By the time I got to the last house, the house directly behind ours, I let out a heavy sigh and said, “Well, I suppose I’ll just have to file a police report, then.” I mean, it was worth a pretty penny, particularly in our postcollegiate salad days. I’m sure the cops wouldn’t have rubbed two sticks together to find the missing couch but what the hey, worth a shot, right?

That’s when the tubby, prematurely balding fellow behind the Scotch-taped screen door paused. “Wait,” he said. “I … wait here.” He disappeared into the dank interior of his 1.5-bedroom shanty, which was quite likely larger and posher than our 1.5-bedroom shanty. I stood. I shifted my weight from left to right. Right to left. He reappeared, slowly emerging from black to brown to gray, smelling faintly of clove cigarettes and wet dog hair.

“Well, we have your couch,” he relunctantly admitted.

“Reaaa-he-heeeally,” I remarked.

“Well, you see,” he said.

“Yes?”

“In this neighborhood.”

“I see. Go on.”

“Well in this neighborhood, when a couch is positioned as yours was,” he continued.

“You mean, in a yard?” I asked.

“Well… yes. By the curb.”

“By the porch.”

“In this neighborhood…”

“I see. This neighborhood.”

“Well, we thought it was free.”

“I see.”

Much hemming and hawing later, the truth came out that they had kidnapped our couch, thinking (or at least, pretending to think) that it had been abandoned. They swapped ours for theirs, placing their 70s monstrosity by the curb, where a really real free couch ought to be positioned. Someone had pulled up with a pickup to take that one away, and naturally now they were seatless.

Nevertheless I convinced them to return our couch, explaining that it was not, indeed, free. The end result was that the burly men who lived in the house behind us were able to detach all our various doors and manhandle the couch inside. We did end up having a cozy spot to sit whilst watching Rocky’s 80s workout montages after all. Hooray!

Moral of the story? You can’t trust your neighbors. Or can you?

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 53 other followers