My saturation level is very highI'm all about getting things done. The world may think I work too hard, but I have a lot to show for it, and it keeps me going. I shouldn't be afraid to lead people, because if I'm doing it, it'll be done right.
My outlook on life is bright. I see good things in situations where others may not be able to, and it frustrates I to see them get down on everything.
Wednesday Morning Shoe Report
These are the shoes I desperately wanted when I was in sixth grade. Alas, my mom could not be persuaded to buy sneakers that cost $30, so I never got them. (I was able to talk her into a pair of Jordache, but she made me get a pair that was, like, 3 sizes too big. Imagine my chagrin when I sauntered into the classroom on the first day of school, feeling fine in my brand new designer jeans, only to see Andrea De'Something-or-other wearing exactly the same pair, but hers were all faded and super-tight).
I moved on, of course, as did my taste in footwear, but, when I saw these shoes on the shelf in an Anchorage thrift store, it was like a benevolent god had taken notice of me and intervened in my life. Seriously.
They were in practically new condition when I bought them, but I've had them for awhile and they're starting to fall apart. The waffled treadshard to believe these were the height of sneaker technology in the early 80shave worn down and the rubber is all petrified, so these are no longer athletic shoes in any real sense. They remain, nevertheless, the favorite shoes of my inner twelve-year-old.
The Wedding Planner: Do the Bustle
So, I was talking to Sarah Hand, explaining how wedding planning is making me stupid and boring, when she suggested that, instead of bemoaning my distracted state, I should embrace nuptial preparations, as this is (hopefully) a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
She's right. Planning a wedding is a lot of work, but it's a task that I've chosen. My fiancé and I have, together, determined the shape of our marriage festivities. I've never really wanted a big weddinga have a variety of issues, personally and in principlewith the "traditional" wedding, so we're having a small civil ceremony at the courthouse. But I do want a communal celebration, so we're also having a receptiontwo receptions, in fact: a pig-roast and a cocktail party. Not only does this arrangement give us the opportunity to solemnize our marriage in an intimate setting and celebrate it publicly, but it also affords me the exciting luxury of several different outfits.
Yes, I am foregoing the traditional gown, but I have devoted much emotional and aesthetic energy to my various bridal costumes. I'm still looking for shoes, but my courthouse look is basically ready to rock. I'm keeping my cocktail dress and accompanying footwear under wraps until their gala debut, but I will say that both are totally hot. That leaves my pig-roast attire, which I'm still working on. I do, however, have a vision.
Here's what I'm thinking: a long skirt, with a bustle, in white-on-white gingham, paired with a white t-shirt. I was first inspired by a Reem Acra wedding ensemble I saw in Martha Stewart Weddings. It was a full skirt in gorgeous cut lace, topped with a baby t. It was the perfect combination of elegance and insouciance.
I was still contemplating this look when I saw The Women. This was, on the whole, a frustrating filmit has one of the most irksome endings in the history of motion picturesbut it was, from a sartorial perspective, instructive. Midway through the picture, the ensemble cast of socialites attends a fashion show. The event consists of various set pieces, including a picnic tableau. There were vast skirts and broad-brimmed picture hats. It was all very extravagant for casual outdoor diningit was all rather mad, but wonderfully so.
That's when it all came together for me. That's when I realized I wanted an elaborately formal skirt, but in an altogether unassuming fabric. I wanted it to be full-length and voluminous, but something I could get grass stains and BBQ sauce on without crying. I spent weeks looking at Victorian patterns, and I was vacillating between two favorites when I asked Sarah Hand for her opinion. She was wonderfully decisiveas is her wayand I have finally chosen a skirt. It's big, it's bustled, and I can order the pattern from Patterns of Time for just $15.50, plus shipping and handling.
The Wedding Planner
It was, I suppose, inevitable: my wedding has taken over my brain. I'm not saying that I am lost in contemplation of the life-altering event before me. I mean, rather, that all I can think about is floral arrangements and tablecloths and hotel accomodations for out-of-town guests. My mind was, once, home to interesting thoughts on a variety of topicsliterature, politics, celebrity gossip. Now, my interior dialogue runs something like this: "Should I buy napkins and paper plates that match my invitations, or should I mix it up a bit? Are personalized matchbooks really worth the expense, and what about swizzle sticks? Given the option, would my friends and relations karaoke?"
An old chum recently left a voicemail message which consisted of nothing but the question, "Apple?" I thought she was just drunk or calling the wrong number; it took me daysand a second message from her in which she asked, "No, seriously: Apple?!"before I realized that she was calling to express her bemused reaction to the naming of the Paltrow-Martin baby. That's how out of it I've become.
It's not that I'm unenthusiastic about my own wedding plans. I can hardly express how relieved and excited I was to find a caterer who will make okra fritters and black-eyed peas. It's just that, excited though I may be, I am also tremendously bored. In fact, even if I were to encounter someone who was really, truly eager to hear about nuptial minutiae, I would be unwilling to indulge her: as pleased as I am with the way things are going, I'm also exhausted by mental effort that goes into planning a huge event, and, anyway, the details make for really, really boring conversation.
Truly, I have never found myself so radically uninteresting.
In class today we read some fairy tales, including a bizarre iteration of Little Red Riding Hood in which a cat calls the heroine a "slut" for eating the flesh and drinking the blood of her grandmother. Everyone was wondering how cannibalism turns a girl skanky when I suggested that this might be an antiquated use of the word slut, one which means "slattern" or "slob" more than "hoochie." Then one of my students said, "Like in Wuthering Heights" and my heart sang. This student was in my class last semester, a class in which I did, indeed, explain the evolution of the word slut and how Emily Brontë's understanding of the term differed from our own. I'm always a little bit thrilled by any evidence that my students have actually learned something from me.
Wednesday Morning Shoe Report
I got these shoes during a pre-nuptial shopping excursion with my mom and my sister. They don't go with any of my marital outfits, but they were too awesome to pass up. I did wear them at my bridal shower last weekend, so I guess they've earned their place in my trousseau.
I like shoes that totally complete an outfit, and this pair falls into that category: jeans and a t-shirt become a snappy, put-together ensemble when worn with these sandals. They're also surprisingly comfortablethe footbed is nicely padded, a rare thing in a stylish shoe. I've become a big fan of Kenneth Cole over the past few years, and I feel that these shoes exemplify everything that's great about his designs. They're grown-up and office-ready, but they're also playful and rather hip.
[LINK VIA POPBITCH]
David Reimer: 1967 - 2004
David Reimer, the subject of the book As Nature Made Him: The Boy Who Was Raised as a Girl and the documentary Sex: Unknown, killed himself last Tuesday.
Even before this truly tragic ending, Reimer's story was already a sad one. He was born a genetically normal, physically healthy little boy. When his penis was cut off during a botched circumcision, though, doctors convinced his parents that life as a girl without a vagina or uterus or ovaries would be better than life as a boy with no penis. Despite subsequent surgeries, hormone therapy, and psychological training in "femininity," Reimer was never happy as a girl, and his parents finally told him the truth about his body when his unhappiness turned into suicidal depression. At the age of 14, after a lifetime as a girl, Reimer became a boy again. It was not an easy transition, and Reimer's mother told reporters that she believed his suicide was, at least in part, a product of his singular history.
I first learned about Reimer in an article John Colapinto wrote for Rolling Stone (it was this article that would ultimately grow into the book As Nature Made Him.) It was a startling, disturbing story. The facts of Reimer's life are devastating. While it seems that the decision to raise him as a girl was made with his best interests in mind, his subsequent treatment at the hands of Dr. John Money was unconscionable. Even as Reimer resisted hormone therapy and surgeries, even as he became less and less functional and more and more unhappy as a girl, Money was making himself famousand earning research grantsby publishing academic papers in which the transformation of "John" to "Joan" was heralded as an unqualified success.
Reading this article, I was saddened by Reimer's experience and angered by Money's radically unethical behavior, but I was also disturbed by the implications of this case. Reimer's story unsettled some of my most fundamental beliefs about sex and gender and the difference between the two. Sex, I believed, was biologya collection of blunt, immutable, physiological facts. Gender, on the other hand, was culture. Reading this article, I began to realize that it's not that simple. I've spent a lot of time since then trying to explicate that epiphany, trying to understand the full ramifications of Reimer's very difficult life.
Since "coming out" with the publication of Colapinto's book, Reimer has become a hero to many intersexuals, transsexuals, and other people who don't fit into the dominate gender dichotomy. He was, in my opionion, a remarkably courageous person, one who should be remembered for his profound determination to be himself.
[PHOTO FROM GAY.COM]
What to Read: Hope in a Jar: The Making of America's Beauty Culture by Kathy Peiss
Last night, while I was writing about The Swan for Bitch, I found myself thinking about an interview I did a few years ago. It was with an author called Kathy Peiss, and it was about her book Hope in a Jar. Peiss, a historian by trade, does amazing job of chronicling the business of beauty, from slightly shady medieval apothecaries to multinational cosmetic corporations. She traces the connection between witchcraft and maquillage, and she elucidates the generally ambivalent relationship between feminism and makeup. It's a fun readone that entertains as it enlightensand one that I recommend wholeheartedly to anyone who has an interest in the politics and social economics of beauty, and anyone who enjoys a really good cultural history.