Tag Archives: Arlene Dahl

Mix Tape Blues

So a lot has happened since last I blogged…I’ve got a literary agent, the wonderful Jim McCarthy at Dystel & Goderich, I finally got a halfway-decent haircut and, well, Catch came back.  Guess I owe Robert Rodriguez and his horrible Sin City 2 trailer for that one.

But now I’m tasked with making a mix CD for Catch and that’s harder than I expected.  I had a whole CD planned as a last-ditch effort I was never going to make, an assortment of pleas and sorrowful tunes perfect for playing on a boombox outside his office window–Tom Waits, “Bad Liver & a Broken Heart” The Cure’s “Cut Here,” The Smiths, “Bigmouth Strikes Again” (I am nothing if not melodramatic).

But now he’s back and I am at a complete loss for songs.  Do I put my whole heart on my sleeve, reveal to him seven awful years of heartsickness, or do I celebrate his return, play for him all the songs I’ve heard over the years that I thought he would like–the Replacements, Tenpole Tudor, the Magnetic Fields?

And harder still is that so many of my songs are already taken up–I can’t very well give him “Midnite Cruiser,” that’s Matthew & I’s song.  “I Will Dare” makes me think of Thor, and “Choked Up” was the song that was playing the night Ian and I first kissed. Where’s your advice for that, Arlene?

I think I’ll keep “Bigmouth Strikes Again,” though.  It’s still appropriate.

 

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Now About That French Twist…

“A special fragrance is a most effective expression of femininity” Arlene Dahl, Always Ask a Man

Finding a “signature” fragrance has, like getting a good haircut, been a year-long challenge for me.  Betsey Johnson fragrances are too cloying, I don’t want to smell like Beyonce, Taylor Swift or Justin Beiber’s prostitute, and nothing else I found really smelled like…me.

Well, the long search is finally over.  And a man, in his own way, helped.

ImageIn “New Frontier,” off 1982’s The Nightfly, Donald Fagen sings, “She’s wearing Ambush and  French twist/She’s got us wild and she can tell.”  I wasn’t sure what he meant by “wearing Ambush,” so I did a quick search–turns out, it’s a fragrance launched in 1955, with notes of lavender, bergamot, orchid and jasmine.  Not too floral, not too woody, all scents I adore on their own.  It’s still around; my bottle on Amazon cost $14 bucks with shipping.

But when that bottle arrived and I opened it up, I KNEW I had my scent!  It was perfect–sweet, mysterious,  vintage.  Not heavy or cheap-smelling.  Classy.  Classic.  The scents I grew up with on the dressing tables of my mother and grandmothers.

Now every morning, as part of my beauty routine, I dab a little on in all the right places. The only downside is that it’s a little light, so I have to douse myself pretty heavily if I want anyone to notice.  But Ian did say, “You smell nice,” when I soaked a cotton ball and tucked it in my camisole.

Beautiful TMI

“Just because chorus girls have to shave their legs and underarms is no reason why women in general should turn their nose up at the practice” Florence Courtenay, Physical Beauty (1922)

One of the things neither HGB or Arlene discusses is how to take care of body hair.  I imagine they trust that ladies are shaving their arms and legs, but they don’t give any discussion to maintaining the downstairs carpet.  Of course, every modern ladies’ magazine in the whole universe treats you as if you’re some kind of monster if your batch is anything but smooth, and it’s one of the few things I actually have image issues about.  I just can’t bring myself to shave it all off or wax–trim, yes, but not yank it all out by the roots–and I occasionally panic that this means I am an unsexy freak.

ImageHOWEVER, they both say to give a man what he wants, and I’ve found a quote from one of the sexiest men in the entire universe, Walton Goggins, that puts my anxieties to rest and pretty much settles the discussion forever: “Can I tell you how much I miss pubic hair? To me, if the size of a penis dictates virility, the length of a woman’s pubic hair dictates her femininity.” (New York Magazine, Jan. 14 2013). 

This, of course, from a man who once uttered the words, “Eatin’ ain’t cheatin’,” securing my permanent spot on #TeamShane,  so his declaration to let it all grow is that much sexier.   After all, isn’t the real heart of this project to be feminine for the man I adore?  (So what if we’ve never met and probably won’t ever–a girl can dream, can’t she?)

Geek Guy Goes Glam

“Give a man a flattering image of himself, and chances are, he’ll live up to it.” Arlene Dahl, Always Ask a Man

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Ian has been wonderfully patient through this whole process.  He’s let me go on dates with other men, helped me wrangle out of my Spanx, complimented all of my haircuts (even the ugly ones) and STILL asked me to marry him.  But while I’m still seeing the influences of this project on my life, I didn’t realize that it would influence his as well.

Ian has always dressed nicely–funky printed tee-shirts, soft sweaters, button-downs.  But lately, he’s upped his game by adding a hat to his winter ensemble.  Not a beanie or a polar-fleece cap, but a real damn HAT.  It adds a nice level of sophistication to his outfit without making him look like a twit.  He’s started rocking his vests too, which I’ve always adored him in.  Because you can’t just slap a hat on your head and think that makes an outfit classy–you actually have to wear a classy outfit.

He likes hearing that he looks handsome, so I tell him as often as possible.  And really, how could I not?

“Many men complain that women have an appalling tendency to relax after marriage…they leave their gadgets out in the open…” Arlene Dahl, Always Ask a Man.

Lately I’ve been doing a TON of craft projects–cross-stitch, art cards, all of my letters (so many letters!) wrist cuffs, pajamas!  But nobody likes a mess, Ian especially.  He hates clutter, and he’s taught me to hate it too.  I’ve gotten to the point where I actually make my bed.  I know, like a real grown-up, right?

But let’s face it–craft projects are clutter just waiting to happen!  There’s thread and fabric scraps and Mod Podge stacked all over, not to mention the books (I bought The DIY Bride the morning after my engagement, as a little present to myself).  I wanted to keep things neat and tidy, so I decided that the best way was to, you guessed it, craft!

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I am glam geek girl, so I took a page from my favorite video game, Chrono Trigger, and made a Lucca-esq box for all my needles and thread.  I stained a basic wooden box with cherry stain and then hot-glued on metal corners from Idea-ology, then added decorative steampunk-esq gears. I cut felt flags like you might find at the Millennial Fair and also added a decorative clock face, of course.

IMG_4654Inside, I covered two pieces of cork board with green fabric and hot-glued them to the top and bottom.  The top holds all my skeins with pushpins, and the bottom holds all my tools: tiny scissors, an “antique” felt needlebook and a pincushion in the shape of a Nu, complete with googly eyes.  It keeps everything neat and contained, plus it looks AWESOME.

 

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All Crafts Begin and End With Nu….

Con Men

One of the things I’ve noticed in all my books is that they treat men like some precious mythical figure, a perfect being of grace and glory who exists only to compliment you, hold doors, pull out chairs and buy presents (if only we would let them, seems to be Arlene and. HGB’s battle sigh) Nowhere do they mention, for whatever reason, how to handle a guy who is an absolute pinhead.

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Pictured: Winning.

Ian and I took our internet-winning Barbara and Adam Maitland costumes to the Albany Comic Con on Sunday to meet my best friend Heather and her boyfriend Alex.  We went last year in our Alien costumes and won the contest, so we thought we’d try our luck again this year.  It’s a fun convention, full of vendors and cool toys and piles of stuff I used to buy on pilgrimages to Anime Crash and Tower Records (RIP) and it’s always awesome to see Heather, who’s been my best friend for over a decade.

People mobbed us for pictures and we happily obliged.  “Awesome costume!” rang through the halls.  We actually saw a Beetlejuice, who was as happy to see us as we were to see her (she was with an Edward Scissorhands.)  But right as we were leaving, some guy in a pretty weak Captain Hammer costume looked at me and said, with a reed-thin smirk, “Your costume would be perfect if you were a foot taller.”

Seriously?

If I had been wittier, perhaps I might have said, “Your costume would be perfect if you weren’t so damn ugly.”  If this project hadn’t been so ingrained, I might have spit out some combination of vulgarity and violence.  But HGB and Arlene never tell us what to do in these situations, when the guy is being less than gentlemanly.   I was on my own to sort this situation out.

So instead, I looked him in the eye and said, “Actually, my costume is perfect” and kept on walking.  Behind me, he stammered something akin to, “Uhh, I just thought…the actress…duh….”

Con guys are notoriously creepy.  I’ve never had that happen in Albany, but the internet is full of horror stories of girls being forcefully touched, photographed and, if they say no or ask someone to stop, they’re harassed and cursed.  There’s a sense among many of these men than your body belongs to them just by being there, like you are nothing more than an action figure brought to life by a magical fairy.  Captain Neckbeard didn’t make body comments to Ian, who is a few inches shorter and a thicker than 1980’s Alec Baldwin, and I’m sure he didn’t say “Batgirl doesn’t wear glasses” to the adorable towheaded tike who asked us for a picture.  But because I’m an attractive woman and therefor can’t be a “true” geek, it seems like he felt it was okay to shout comments about my physical form as I was walking past, minding my own business, off to get pizza with Heather and Alex.

I’m sure Captain Neckbeard didn’t intend for it to be an insult.   I’m sure in his head, he was saying, “Wow, that costume is flawless” and it just came out wrong because he’s a dope.  But here’s a hint, gentlemen.  If your “compliment” has any variation of “if” “except” or “but” in it, it’s no longer a compliment.

And for all the con-men out there–when you see someone in a costume, no matter how good or bad it is, you say, “Hey, nice costume,” because it takes guts to wear a costume in public on any given Sunday.  They didn’t wear it for your entertainment.  They wore it because it makes them feel awesome and helps them have a good time.  So if you can’t say anything nice about anyone, how about you keep your trap shut?

Geek Girl Gets Engaged

“A happy marriage is the true test of your skills in the art of femininity” Arlene Dahl, Always Ask a Man.

I guess something in this crazy 10-month long experiment has worked, because last night, during the annual Halloween parade, Ian asked me to marry him.

I had no idea this was coming.  We’ve been together 8 years, so I assumed it was coming at some point, but we were walking in the parade with the Teen Center Grim Reaper puppet, and we came to a stop in front of the plaza.  We posed for a picture for his parents, and when he turned me around, the teens holding the puppet had unfurled from it’s hands a banner that read “Libby, Will You Marry Me?”

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Spoiler Alert: The Answer is Yes.

Ian then got down on one knee, took off his hat and held out a ring from Wolfe Wilde jewelers.  “You’ve waiting long enough,” he said.  “Will you marry me?”

I was absolutely breathless.  Everybody, including the mayor, cheered.  People took pictures and I finally managed to gasp in the affirmative.  More cheering.  We walked down the rest of the parade route in a cloud.

He designed the ring; a garnet with four diamonds; two from his grandmother Inez’s watch and the one from my mother’s engagement ring (this fun fact made my mom cry).  I’ll post pictures later.

Glam Girl and Reader Jen, who played in the band and goes to the teen center, summed the night up thusly–“Is the blog going to change?”

No, dear readers, I’m determined to finish out this blog as I started, but starting soon will be a spin-off blog Glam Geek Gets Wed, chronicling our planning this whole crazy thing.  You don’t think I’m going to have an un-glam wedding, do you?