Monthly Archives: July 2013

Wolf Whistle

For the first time since I started this project, I got wolf-whistled today by two shirtless construction workers (oh WHAT a cliche) from about 700 feet away.  But it wasn’t like I was even wearing a cute dress or high heels–I had on black slacks, a polo shirt and Laura Ingalls boots.  From the 500 feet away that they were, I’m surprised they could tell I was a girl.

I suppose I was a little flattered even though I disagree with wolf-whistling on principle.  I’ve been feeling a little less-than-beautiful lately; on Saturday I was visiting Pete, Eeon, Bridget and Jim, and Eeon put on some old Triangulon Home Movies from college.  He had this footage of me and Jim just talking in the dining hall of the student union, and all I could do was stare at myself on screen like a big idiot.  I was so beautiful!  My hair, waist-long and tied back with a funky headband I made out of a pillowcase, perfectly framed my pale, sweet face, my unlined eyes, my unworried mouth.  I looked like Geena Davis, and better still, I had this aching vulnerability to my movements, this strange tenderness, a shyness clearly barricaded behind the glass facade of a brash conversation about the long-closed adult video store on Amsterdam Ave in NYC.

People tell me I’m pretty now and I believe them.  But for the first time in my life, I became very aware that I am growing old, and that my face, my body, are changing and will continue to change.  All the cosmetics and the new hairdos can’t hide that forever; even if I could find that sweater and that hairband, I wouldn’t be able to recreate the Me that I was.

And you know what?  That’s okay.  I can live with that.  I was just glad I had the chance to peek back at myself with all the same friends (and new ones) present, groan at my terrible Ninja Fighting skills, and once again enjoy Fighting Fish:

All that, my friends, is infinitely more important than beauty.

Eeon’s finding me a screenshot; I’ll add it as soon as he does.

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Purse Envy

“No matter how neat a woman looks, a sloppy, overfilled purse is a dead giveaway.” Helen Valentine & Alice Thompson, Better Than Beauty

I have always lived out of my purse.  Working long hours, sometimes two jobs in one day, I had to make sure I had everything on me–bus fare, discman/CD, my uniform(s), my notebook, pens, lunch–because if I didn’t, I was out of luck.  I carried big, ugly bags, usually black, basic, utilitarian, covered in pins and patches.  I did have one sweet one that I made out a tie and this great houndstooth fabric, but it didn’t hold much, so it didn’t get used very often.  A nice handbag was an expense I couldn’t afford and a hassle I didn’t need.  I was a modern, liberated woman, I didn’t need no stinkin’ handbag!

About a year ago I decided that, damn, it, I was modern, liberated and worthy of a big bright beautiful statement purse.  I went straight to TJ Maxx and bought a cute little fuchsia Betsey Johnson hobo bag for $24.  And I instantly felt more confident, like a woman instead of a college bimbo.  And I could still fit what I needed in there–my cell phone, iPod, a notebook, a pen, some Dr. Pepper lip gloss, a wallet.  (I also have a houndstooth Betsey bag that Ian got me for Christmas, and a big bold leopard print Betsey tote that I use when I travel.  First time in my life I’ve had more than one purse in rotation!)

But even that’s too much stuff sometimes! 

I have always envied my friend Lexa for a variety of reasons–one, she is pretty and blonde and wildly successful and secondly, she always looks so polished and put together, with this wonderful elegance that only NYC women have.  And the last time I saw her, she was carrying a slim envelope clutch purse, and I was so, so jealous.  I keep meaning to make one, but I suffer terribly from ProCraftination, the symptoms of which are me buying craft supplies and then never actually doing anything with them.

Image

Lot of Spaceballs References This Week . . ..

But I did keep that style tip in mind when I went out for brunch with Rachel, Nina and Tiffany.  I took only what I needed to survive–a twenty, my license in case I wanted a Belini, my fan and my Moxie lip gloss, all of which fit neatly into a #10 envelope-sized red leather clutch purse Ian’s mom brought me back from Costa Rica.

How classy a girl looks with a clutch!  It draws attention to her lovely hands, makes her look charming and delicate, a bit mysterious.  What could she possibly have in that little thing?

In an age where we’re expected to be tied to our smartphones, which have our entire library/record collection/work/social lives stored on them so that at any moment you can be reading a work email while talking to your mother and making arrangements for the babysitter, to go out into the world free of all those things, trusting and living life as it was happening (brunch was lovely!) was a completely liberating experience!

 

Take Me Out to the Ball Game

A baseball game.  A date that isn’t too involved, one you can carry through comfortablyWhat To Do On a Date (1951)

Pictured: Victory. Also, Doreen

Pictured: Victory. Also, Doreen

I know literally three things about baseball: 1) It’s played with a ball, 2) There are bases involved and 3) That if you lose, you get ice cream and if you win, you get Pizza Hut.  This vast knowledge was culled from three years of pee-wee softball where my coach, Doreen, would sit down on a splitering, lead-painted bench, fire up an unfiltered Kool, gather us girls around and, in between inhales which she kindly directed right into our eight-year-old faces, tell us to get out there and play without ever actually, you know, teaching us how to play.  Needless to say,  Becker’s softball team never saw the inside of a Pizza Hut.

But apparently, a ball game is a fun date, and Mike has been anxious to see the Oneonta Outlaws play, so we did.  Mike is and always has been one of my favorite boy friends because he, having known me for nearly a decade, has figured out (more or less) how to treat me, like complimenting my skull earrings and paying for things.  I remembered too late that he liked the blue eyeliner I was wearing on our last date to the drive-in, or else I would have worn it for him.

Currently NY is experience temperatures not unlike the inside of a slow cooker.  It’s hot, it’s damp and it’s sunny, but the sunscreen merely lays on top of your skin like an extra layer, only unlike your cotton sundress or tee-shirt, you can’t sweat through it.  Miserable conditions for a ballgame, but we’d been trying to schedule this for three weeks now and we weren’t going to let nuclear sunlight drive us away from our date.

Mike knows tons and tons and tons about baseball.  He’s a Yankees fan, and the only non-jerk male Yankees fan I know, so throughout the game, he would explain stats and tell me about awesome plays he saw on YouTube.  We sat in the shaded deck and then, later, in one of the empty box seats to watch the Outlaws completely blow a game against the not-much-better Syracuse Salt Cats in the first game of their double-header in what was mostly an ongoing display of Beckers-esq incompetence.  (They won the second game, but I’m not sure what that does for the ice cream/pizza roster).

What was nice about the game was the relaxed atmosphere.  We could have drinks and chit-chat and keep an eye on the game and cheer when one of our players did something good, but it lacked the intensity of professional sports, where you’re crowded in with superfans screaming in your ears.  Plus, I also got to follow Arlene Dahl’s advice about drawing out his ideas, which I think Mike enjoyed.  And making sure your partner enjoys the date is, according to the short, one of the fundamentals of dating!

So maybe next time we’ll go to a weenie roast . . . or fix up a scavenger sale!

Your Biggest Fan

“The destinies of nations have been altered . . . by the flutter of a fan.  Why not revive these delightful customs of the past to stimulate romance?” Arlene Dahl, Always Ask a Man

"I'd like to know you better"

“I’d like to know you better”

I’ve always loved the image of Southern women gently fanning themselves in a warmly-lit church or on a porch, so I dug out a lovely bamboo fan Ian gave me a few years ago, and with the weather as hot as it has been, I’ve really been using it!  At work, it gave me something to fiddle with while I thought through a difficult article or pay layout, a quiet pause in the day to contemplate.

Arlene has a wonderful diagram of ways a fan can be used to

"I love you"

“I love you”

communicate.  I tried some of these out on a certain older bachelor I know, but if he noticed, he didn’t say anything.  But either way, it kept me cool!

"I'll keep our secret"

“I’ll keep our secret”