Monthly Archives: February 2013

“A girl puts a man on guard psychologically when she takes to wearing pants around the house. . . give a girl a pair of pants and she sprawls in a chair, crosses her legs like a man and becomes more aggressive in her speech and manner” Arlene Dahl, Always Ask a Man

I’d hate to put my man on guard or be aggressive in my speech and manner* For the next seven days, I will only wear dresses/skirts.  No jeans.  No leggings-as-pants.  Not even pajama pants.  It’s dresses, skirts and nighties, no matter what the weather.

Today I’m wearing a black cotton empire-waist dress I bought at Urban Outfitters, which I normally don’t shop at because the clothes aren’t meant to fit right.  But this was on sale, and it was comfortable, and because I, an ex-goth chick, am automatically drawn to black dresses.

Over it I put a vintage blazer I used to wear a lot in Binghamton, back when was actually cool.  I was going through a phase where I wanted to look like I hung out in record stores, even though the only record store in Binghamton wasn’t exactly a hang-out place and was mostly populated by old crazy dudes in tie-dye.  Also, it was next to a drug front.

Dress Day1But if there HAD been a record store to hang out in, I would have fit right in.

I rediscovered this blazer in a “to repair” pile I’d set aside six years ago and spent a good part of Friday afternoon repairing the shredded lining, which immediately tore again when I moved my arms.  In keeping with my record-store flair, I topped it off with a loopy black scarf and a raspberry beret that I did, in fact, pick up at a second hand store.

Black tights, black flat knee-high boots and a sweater cuff I made.  With my Fantine haircut, I look very mod.

I’m mostly comfortable for the day.  My feet were kind of cold in my tights, and the empire waist rolled up to create some impressive underboob that, under my blazer, no one saw.  Whenever I moved, I heard a small tear in my shoulders.  But I did start making a deliberate effort to sit up straight and move with more delicate actions.

 

*Not really.  Aggressive is kind of how I do things.

I Can’t Go For That #2

“The prescription for this ancient beautifier is 1-100 of a grain of arsenic and two grains of black pepper.  One of these pills should be taken after dinner.  It clears the complexion and brings a ruddy glow to the lips and cheeks . . . ” Cora Brown Potter The Secrets of Beauty and the Mysteries of Heath (1908)

I’LL STAY PALE AND PIMPLY, THANKS.

More Thoughts on Bad Hair

Generally this blog is about what a woman can do to make her man happy, but today, I’d like to talk about things guys can do to make their women want to make them happy and not laugh in their faces.

Do NOT dye your hair a stupid candy color.

There are some guys who can get away with this.  Guys who wear Doc Martens and are in punk bands and have mohawks.  Guys who . . . yeah, no, that’s the only kind.

My e-boyfriend Aaron surprised me one night by coming home from college and showing up at my door . . . with blue hair.  Now Aaron was a perfectly nice person, a Star Wars nerd, a mama’s boy and the textbook definition of a square.  He also had a crew cut and now appeared to be wearing the skin of a cheap stuffed animal sculpted around his skull.  It was not a good or appropriate look for his personality type.  Or anyone’s, really.

He did this because of anime.  I don’t remember ever seeing an anime starring a skinny, nebbish hero with a tie-dyed Star Wars tee-shirt purchased from the Star Wars Insider in 1996, before Star Wars was cool again, and anyway, I was into anime before everyone was into it and Aaron used to openly mock me for watching “porn cartoons,” but now he was on my porch acting like the messiah of Japanese cartoons and I should be all grateful that he welcomed me into this wonderful world of geekdom.

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Yeah? You like that sexy cartoon?

I, sputtering to try and figure out a reason not to run inside and slam the door, told him he looked like James from Pokemon.  He didn’t.  James was kind of hot (for a cartoon character) and Aaron was a dork in an X-Wing tee-shirt, now sporting hideous candy-vomit hair.

He did not take this as a compliment.  In fact, it sort of pissed him off, because he didn’t like James, but let’s face it, he should have seen that coming.  And either way, it would have been an improvement over the ‘do he was currently sporting.

In a moment of true devotion to my relationship, I did not slam the door in his face.  I smiled politely and was seen out in public with him without visibly cringing, because I am an awesome actress. And to his benefit, it was just temporary, and soon he went back to being the shy, quiet geek I knew and loved.

Just kidding.  He kept it for a few weeks and then dyed it bright red like another anime character.  It wasn’t an improvement.

And yes, I almost married this guy.  But that’s another story for another snowy day.

Bad Hair and a Broken Heart

“The essence of great hairdressing is a clearly stated, perfectly proportioned haircut.  One that is suited to the individual that with a little backcombing or setting, the hair will swing into it’s natural lines and keep those lines without artificial aid” Arlene Dahl, Always Ask a Man.

I remember my mom having two hairstyles.  In early photos, just after we moved to Cobleskill, NY in 1984, she’s sporting an enormous poodle perm.  In later photos and up through today, her hair is very, very short.

My mother had a total of five kids, a full time job and, during part of that, was going to school full time.  She wanted “hair she could wash with a washrag” and sported a sort of k.d. Lang ‘do.  The most she ever did with it was let her friend Vicky frost the tips, (because it was the 90’s, and they were dark times) and ended up with green hair.

Geena Davis

The Pirate Ship Would Have Been Nice Too

My sister Shaun had long, beautiful dark hair which fell in waves and curls down her back, like Geena Davis in Cutthroat Island, my favorite movie at the time.  Sisters Hilary and Laura both had fine golden curls, wheras I had limp hair the color of wood paneling.

I never learned how to style my hair and was always a little afraid of it.  I, like most kids in the dark times of the 1990’s, sported some variation of a mullet at one time (mine was very Joan Jett-esq, for an eight year old) and therefor, just sort of let my hair do it’s thing.

Faye Valentine

The Big Boobs Might Have Been Nice Too

After my high school graduation, I cut off ten inches of hair and donated it to Locks for Love, but, in true geek fashion, got my hair cut like Faye Valentine (I brought in the action figure so they would know what to do.)  My hair was not purple, or straight, and I was not a space bounty hunter, so it didn’t quite work for me.

In college, I wore Bettie Page bangs, which, when fused with my being poor and not knowing what to ask for in a haircut, resulted in me often having little brown wings sporting off the sides of my face.  I grew them out eventually, and kept that long mess for years, finally cutting it all off after my stepdad left in some sort of expression of Girl Power/I Will Survive.

I never did anything with my hair because I was so, so terrified of getting a bad haircut.  A failed outfit can be stuck back in the closet or covered with a coat all day, but you’re stuck with your hair until it grows out.  I was not brave.  If I got a bad haircut, I was convinced that people would laugh at me in the streets, that I would never get a boyfriend/my boyfriend would leave me for my disobedience.   Even before this project began, I had this pathological need to make other people happy.

Worse, how the hell was I going to maintain a fancy haircut?  I was watering down my shampoo to make it last longer, how was I going to afford gel and a straightening iron and things of that nature?  And the time it might take?  Between three jobs, that wasn’t time I had to spare.

So my hair just sort of sat there.  Until now.

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Pictured: Someone who is not me

My modern glam idol is Victoria Beckham.  I think she balances sophistication and utter fabulousness, whether she’s wearing jeans or a cocktail dress.  I flipped through the magazines until I found a cute, tousled look that I figured I could pull off, what with hating to do my hair and not having time and being totally clumsy in every way.

I did not come out looking like Victoria Beckham.  Instead, I came out looking like some unholy combination of GI Jane, sad hooker Fantine from Les Miserables, and Mark Hamill.

New Hair

Ian was very nice about the whole thing.  Mike said I looked like Paul Dano, but in his mind, that was a compliment.  Everyone at my church and in my office ooh’d and ahh’d over it.  Tara, the head of ad sales, said I looked “very sophisticated” and complimented me for two straight days.   And as I got used to it, played with it, figured it out, I realized that maybe it wasn’t as bad as all that.  With the right outfit, it had a little bit of an punk vibe to it.  I was going to have to dress a little more feminine to avoid looking like an urchin, but was that going to be a bad thing?

Will I get it again?  Probably not.  But did the world end because of one bad haircut?  Guess it wasn’t so bad after all…after all, I didn’t keep any photographic evidence of my Joan Jett mullet.

Dinner Challenge #2: Boudreaux N Thibodeaux’s

“If only men back then knew how much easier things were women made their own decisions,” Mike wrote in an email as we went back and forth about the dinner challenge.  He labored over this for over a week, checking Yelp reviews, debating khakis vs. jeans and generally fretting himself into a mess.  “Can’t you give me a hint?” he demanded on more than one occasion.

Nope.  I want to be smart by Arlene’s standards, and she says that the man makes the decisions.

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Gee, thanks

Mike is my oldest guy friend and one of my closest friends, even if he did kick off the evening by telling me my new haircut was “Very Paul Dano-esq.” (more on this tomorrow).  He makes me laugh, he knows what to say when I’m sad about my writing and tricks me into thinking he’s listening when I talk about Walton Goggins.

He didn’t tell me where we were going, and so I got sort of worked up myself.  I bought a new sweater, got a new haircut (more on this tomorrow) and wore my Betsey Johnson booties.  Mike said he was wearing jeans, so I wore my black skinny jeans.  Even in jeans, I wanted to look date-worthy.

Mike chose Boudreaux ‘n’ Thibodeaux’s, a Cajun place I’ve never eaten at before but had heard it was good.  He ordered hush puppies, sweet potato fries and jambalya for us to split, which erased the points he lost by making fun of my haircut.  He also complimented me on my new sweater, which is nice, because it’s brand new.

I’ve never had Cajun food, because I’m scared of the spicyness. The hush puppies were good, a little dry, and the sweet potato fries were great.  But the jambalya was amazing.  The spices blossomed on the tongue rather than burned it off.  It was the ultimate in comfort food, and I was glad I had leftovers to take home and have later.

It’s a small joint, mostly take-out, but there was another group having a series of very random conversations, including yelling out RECTANGLES! at one point.

Now Mike is one of my dearest friends, but he had a little trouble grasping the concept of this project.  He’s one of those people who is always right in his opinion, but doesn’t take his own advice to heart and couldn’t quite see why I didn’t take his compliment about my haircut as such.  “Paul Dano is awesome!” was his defense, which is fair, except that women generally don’t like to have dude haircuts.

In another instance, I mentioned that I was done with Kevin Smith movies, because Kevin Smith is a pop culture junkie idiot loudmouth, and he told me to “get over it” and see Clerks 2, the way you’d tell a child to “get over” not like asparagus.

This from a guy who won’t see movies with Julia Roberts in them–not even Closer with Clive Owen and Natalie Portman, both who he really likes–because Julia Roberts beat out another actress he liked for an Oscar.  Bear in mind she didn’t beat out his mother or his cousin, just another actress.

But if you tell him to “get over it,” well, it’s different, of course, because Mike is always right in everything he does.   But part of him being one of my best friends is loving him in spite of his faults because he loves me in spite of all mine.

So when I told him about some of the projects, he had advice for how to do it better or why I shouldn’t do it at all.  This project is a way for me to explore not only the world around me, but myself.  Do I get more done when I get up early?   Do people treat me better when I smile?  If I stop swearing, do I have more fun with words?  But for him, that impeded on my individuality, and he couldn’t understand why I would do any of this and not just say “screw you, I’m ordering my own dinner.”  Because I wouldn’t have ever tried Jambalya, that’s why!

It ended with me yelling WHY CAN’T YOU JUST SUPPORT ME AND NOT CRITICIZE EVERYTHING I DO?!?!, which, under normal circumstances, is a pretty bad way to end a date.  He just sort of stared, and then I apologized for yelling, and the evening went on as usual.

As for a date, well, Arlene would probably not approve of me yelling.  But I had a good time, and I hope Mike did too.  I’m two for two on great food.  Nice job Mike.  Rectangles.