Hope you all had a VERY PLEASANT Thanksgiving!
Well, are you? ARE YOU?!? Better say yes, damn it!
“If you are a schoolgirl, flatter your father” Arlene Dahl, Always Ask a Man
I never really had one of those “Daddy’s Girl” relationships, which is fine because I find them just a tad creepy. I like my family as a friend, thanks.
A couple quick words about my dad. He’s responsible for just about everything I like except for Jethro Tull, Blondie and the Smiths. He introduced my sisters and I to Star Wars, Back to the Future, Steely Dan, Rodney Dangerfield, SNL. I watched MST3K on his TV. He let Hilary and I put up outer space wallpaper that still stands to this day. He never once said, “You are NOT leaving the house in that” (even in the full throes of my goth-girl phase) and never once punished me for ignoring my curfew, which I did all the time.
My dad is also responsible for showing me Arrested Development, which we have quoted at family gatherings every since. The day my grandmother Cora died, we gathered at home and watched “Good Grief.” We actually laughed, and I realized that everything was going to be all right.
So for my birthday, he got me an official Bluth Development tee-shirt, a substantial upgrade from the “Save Our Bluths” tee-shirt that Hilary and I made with fabric markers and, later, stencils (mine had a seal on it and it read “I Went Swimming in the Ocean”). But one thing my dad has never been good at is guessing sizes. The shirt, while awesome, was way too big. It was comfy over leggings, though, which was fine because I rarely had time (or the weather) to actually wear a tee-shirt.
But my dad, who works for FEMA, was finally home from his deployment, and we were going to have a BBQ. I was going to flatter my father, damn it, by wearing the tee-shirt he gave me, and it was going to look NICE.
I got out Megan Nicolay’s Generation T*, which is starting to fall apart, and tried to figure out what project to make. I almost decided on a dress like I’d done with the XXL Shield tee-shirt Ian got me a while back (which earned me a half-drunk “your girlfriend looks so good in that dress” from a married friend of his), but then realized that I couldn’t find any black thread. No-sew it was. Enter Project #7, “Comfort Corset”
But in my haste, I misaligned the holes down the back. It was all looking terrible. I wanted to cry, fearing I’d ruined my awesome birthday Bluth tee-shirt. It was bad enough I had to admit not really loving the new season, but I couldn’t show up for Father’s Day not wearing the shirt my dad bought me. Arlene would be furious!
I relaced it and tried again. It had a bit of a Flashdance vibe, but it worked. And my dad was happy to see me enjoying his gift. And my niece Lucy put on a pair of 3D glasses she found, trying to imitate her Aunt Libby. I mean, how much more flattered could a girl get?
*Seriously, buy this book.
We’re six months into this project and already I’m seeing a real change. I’m starting to take more pride in my appearance–learning to put on makeup, finally doing my hair (more or less; still learning) and updating my wardrobe.
I had one of those backdoor brag moments the other day; I was at Target and realized I could no longer fit in a Jr. Size 1. Totally bummed. I’m a Jr. size 3 now, and at first, I panicked, because I want to be thin and pretty. Then I tried on my size 3 shorts, and I felt GREAT. I felt voluptuous. I felt comfortable. I felt really beautiful.
But most importantly, I’m learning the importance of making your partner feel special. And that’s not just Ian, it’s Mike, it’s Matthew, it’s my sisters, it’s my father-in-law. Everyone in every relationship likes to feel like their needs are being met. I sure do.
I don’t think this a gendered issue and I’m not trying to make it one. I’m not saying that women belong in the kitchen. I’m saying people belong in the kitchen because food is awesome. I’m learning that asking an opinion about a haircut or an outfit is important because we all crave feedback and validation. I would want any of my friends–male or female–to say “Eh, that doesn’t really work for you” when I ask how a dress looks. And I’m learning the value of choice. Now if I want to put on leggings and my SVU hoodie and watch MST3K, I’m doing it because that’s what I feel like doing, not because it’s a lazy, default position, and that makes the experience something to look forward to.
And I’m revisiting things I used to love–wearing contact lenses, high heels, dark nail polish. I’m reminding myself that I am worth the time and the energy these things require. I like the way I look in my Betsey Johnson booties. I like giving myself mani-pedis. I like putting effort and energy into my outfits because just throwing on on something slopping makes me feel sloppy, and I don’t perform well unless I feel my best. When I’m in my office in a pencil skirt and heels, I feel like working. When I’m wearing my apron, I feel like cooking. Maybe it’s my theater background. Maybe it’s because I inherited my grandmother Cora’s vanity. But whatever it is, I’m really feel like this project is teaching me.
We’ve come this far together–and I can’t wait to keep at it.
I’ll be doing one of these supposedly fun dates this weekend . . . check in to see which one!
Tonight I’m embarking on one of my absolute favorite dates with two of my absolute favorite people–that is, my boyfriend Ian and my friend Eeon of CannedLaser are joining me to see the rebroadcast of Best of Rifftrax Live: Plan 9 From Outer Space. Quick word about Eeon–he’s the funniest person I know, only because I don’t know Mike Nelson of Mystery Science Theater 3000/Rifftrax in real life, even if he does occasionally reply to my Tweets, which makes my heart flutter, because I am a nerd.
Eeon and I have known each other since college and are absolute proof that men and women can just be friends. We’re pals. His wife is wonderful. He let me give the speech from Independence Day at his wedding and let me guest podcast with him and his co-host, Pete, who is also hysterical.
But tonight is also the end of 30 Rock, which, along with MST3K and The Shield, can be credited with fundamentally changing my life. Liz Lemon taught me that it was okay to be a geek and to love junk food and to look fab eating Cheesy Blasters, (even if she didn’t think so) I was torn between two of my strongest nerd loyalties . . . and ultimately, decided on Rifftrax, because it means I get to go to Bomber’s Burrito Bar afterwards. See what I mean? That’s Liz Lemon’s doing.
Because I’m going out, I faced a geek dilemma–do I dress to impress MST3K fans by sporting my slightly oversized red JOIKE sweater (styled after the one given to Mike by Gypsy in episode 521, Santa Claus), or do I dress to impress one/both of my dates by wearing something cute and nice? Skirt or jeans? Where do leggings fit into the picture? The JOIKE sweater is wool and it’s cold outside, what does that count for?
I decided on the JOIKE sweater, a long fitted top underneath (like a bandage skirt) and Mossimo floral patterned leggings with Doc Martens. Is it the most stylish, flattering, feminine outfit I own? No. But will it make my dates feel comfortable and at ease when we’re eating nachos at Bomber’s Burrito Bar afterwards? Probably. No one likes being overdressed and no one likes a high-maintenance girl. The sweater is appropriate for the occasion and the weather, and might even earn me a few compliments from fellow Rifftrax geeks.
And besides, it’s sexier than a Slanket. Goodbye, Liz Lemon . . . I’l miss you.