Shlubby-Dubby, Be-Hatted, Slightly Dick-ish Glamourpuss

Just about 20 years ago, there were these girls called the supermodels.  Remember them?  Cindy, Claudia, Naomi, Christy, Linda, Helena?  The girls who didn’t get out of bed for less than $10,000?

That’s the look I’d like to go for these days.  I’d like to go for extravagance.  Unfortunately for me, my type of beauty was engineered for paucity.  I look good pared down, stripped bare, a bit of make up, simple clothes, pale skin and naked lips.  That’s me.  Unfortunately.

Even when the supermodels were doing ‘pared down,’ they were extravagantly gorgeous.  In my case, I have to be careful- if I pare down too much, I start to look like an oversized Dick from the Dick and Jane books.

Anyhow, this all neither here nor there.  I’ve given up that really high glamour dream.  What I’m doing these days, is pursuing a version of extravagant glamour that ‘works’ for me.  I’m trying to do hats.  I’m trying to pairing shlubby-dubby clothes with red lipstick and black eyeliner.  I will find the magic combination.  But it’s likely my experiments will yield a bit of tragedy in the meantime.

So, anyhow…

Last night I was getting ready for a dress swap by yanking clothes that I don’t want to wear anymore from my closet and throwing them in a large reusable bag.  Here’s what I threw into the bag- 2 dresses that I got for cheap but never wore because, after I chopped my hair off, they didn’t look quite right on me (perhaps too extravagant?); a wrap sweater that reminds me of my last year in uni; a romper that I bought thinking I would lose weight (and apparently height?)- never happened; a sundress that I bought second hand and shortened to a length that’s actually a little too short for me.  Tonight I will swap these items for clothing that I will try to work into my new shlubby-dubby, be-hatted, slightly Dick-ish glamourpuss style.

Extravagance, here I come.  Time for some George Michael.

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The Glamourous Life in East Van

I woke up this morning to a text message from my sister stating that Liz Taylor had died.   I replied, “that’s sad,” and then she replied, “blog about it.”  So I thought, ‘yeah, I guess I should blog about it,’ because its been awhile since I blogged and probably my fans (read: my sister) are (read: is) really missing my unique perspective things like Amy Grant and good looking soccer players.

I’ve not been blogging because I’ve been wasting my days off, lounging around the house in underpants and my Fabio t-shirt, watching ‘Snog. Marry. Avoid.’ and ‘Never Mind the Buzzcocks’ on youtube.  That’s been my life these last few months and I’ve not been unhappy with it.  But, I suppose, now’s as good a time as any to get motivated and do something more useful (or at least active) with my time.

Which brings us back to Liz Taylor.  Because I had Liz Taylor on my mind, and, because Liz was always such a fabulously glamorous woman, I thought I should try to get in the mood for blogging about her by being more glamourous myself.  So I thought I would zip up to thrift shop on Kingsway and Knight to look for some new shoes and then nip into Buy Low on the way home to pick up some produce for a nice light mediterranean lunch and then just quickly stop into the liquor store to buy a bottle of white to drink out on the balcony as I blogged about Liz.

Here’s what happened though.  I got on the number 19 headed towards Knight from Broadway, feeling chipper and fully intending to read and appear charming for the duration of my trip.  At about Fraser, a man clutching a reusable shopping bag got on and sat down at the very back of the bus about five or six seats away from me.  Around Clark I glanced up at him just briefly and noticed some moisture on his upper lip and thought nothing of it.  Three seconds later I looked back and realized that he was throwing up into his reusable bag.  The bus arrived at my stop and I got off.

Not to be deterred from my mission for glamour, I bought a pair of clip-on earrings from the thrift shop, picked up some fennel and celery from Buy Low and grabbed a bottle of moscato from the liquor store.  At this point, I was back to feeling wonderful- the sun, the green, the nice liquor store clerk.  I was in the right state of mind to tell you all what I think of Liz Taylor.  Only, just as I was about to cross Broadway at Fraser, I gave a bland smile to a man standing next to me at the intersection.  He smiled back and said, ‘how you doing?’ and I said, “pretty good,” and then he said, “it’s check day isn’t it?  Welfare day?” and I said, “I don’t really know,” and then he said- and this is the reason that I can’t write about Liz today- “I’m gonna go cash my welfare check and spend it on a big, fat crack rock.”

The wine’s chilling in the fridge and I’ve put on my new spangly, glamourous earrings.  But, you know what?  I’m just not feeling it today.

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I’m Sorry, So Sorry, That I Was Such a…

Over the years, I have made an art of apologizing.  Ask Thea who I’ve apologized to no less than 4 times this fall for things that hadn’t offended her in the first place.  I’m a neurotic so I sit around late at night combing my memory for things that I may have done that might have offended people.  It’s what I do. The thing is, I’m always apologizing for the wrong things.  I’m always apologizing for the cosmetic failures- the offences that might make people mad at me but that aren’t the result of flawed motives or ignored values.  Most of the time, the truly rude, offensive and awful things that I say or do are addressed to or occur in front of people who are so used to me behaving like a selfish and stupid brat that I’m in no danger of being alienated.  You could say that I’m strategic about who I say  and do the REALLY offensive stuff to.

The other day though, I read this quote that struck me as being worth repeating.  There was this girl called Mignon McLaughlin, who wrote both Neurotics Notebooks and she said that ‘true remorse is never just a regret over consequence; it’s a regret over motive.’  So, to honour that quote here are some things I said this fall that I should actually apologize for.

5 Things I’ve Said This Season That I Should Probably Apologize For

5) I fucking hate this place so much.

4) Those shoes make me want to have a seizure and then barf.  But the dress is nice.

3) Don’t you think you might want to brush your teeth?  Even coffee would make it better.

2) Some people are stupid and it’s not even charming.

1) I DO empathize.  I just don’t CARE.

I’m not going to add any context.  You can guess, if it gives you pleasure.  But these are all examples of things that I’ve said as a result of poor motives and refusals to behave according to the values that my parents instilled in me.  And I do apologize.  Sincerely.

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Raise your hands to heaven

Sometimes people do weird things for very good reasons.  Or rather, sometimes people do embarrassing things for non-embarrassing reasons.  One example might be watching the music video for Breathe’s ‘Hands to Heaven’ three times in a row because there’s this girl in the video, dancing a solo behind the specter of David Glasper and wearing the most delicious pink frippery of a dress that ever was.

Of course, she’s got a wind machine and that certainly helps.

Reminds me of some of the dresses Donna Karan did in the mid-nineties.  Those flowing, tie-dyed dancer dresses.

You know, those jersey and chiffon dresses on bare-faced girls with messy hair and visible nipples.

There are too many people out there to attest to my lack of grace.  I shan’t say that, growing up, I always wanted to be a dancer.  I was what I was supposed to be- a middling centre midfielder, a hobby sketcher, a bit of fun.  There is something about a dancer’s wardrobe though that I have always envied.  Bodysuits, wraparound sweaters and tights are a more attractive combination, I think, than jerseys, knee socks and cleats.  Lets say that I always wished I had an excuse to be surrounded by an aura of georgette.

That’s why I’m watching the video for Breathe’s ‘Hands to Heaven.’  Now all I have to do is think up an excuse for listening to Steve Winwood’s ‘Higher Love’ while I did the dishes.  Is Chaka Khan a good enough excuse?

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Mikael’s Emotional and Self-Aware Self (1990-ish- Present)

The 90s are my safe place.  When I feel scared, threatened, insulted, poorly dressed, stupid, insipid, uninspired or underappreciated, I can always look to the 90s for comfort.  An example- tonight, feeling tired and bedraggled, I got home from a rainy walk and listened to Annie Lennox’s ‘No More I Love You’s’ 12 times on repeat. And I marvelled at her range and I watched the video on Youtube and I wondered if I could make my eyes do some of the crazy expressions she makes her eyes do and then I tried to make my eyes look super-crazy.

That made me feel better.  So I listened to ‘Too Close’ by Next… and then ‘Ditty’ by Paperboy and then ‘Do You Sleep’ by Lisa Loeb.  I could go on but I think you get the point.

The thing is, I wouldn’t be me if it wasn’t for pop culture in the 90’s.  Honestly.  I wouldn’t be a feminist if it wasn’t for Liz Phair, Poe, Veruca Salt and Alanis Morisette’s ‘You Oughta Know.’  And speaking of Alanis, I remember watching her on ‘You Can’t do that on Television.’  AND I remember when she was a teeny-bop popstar.

I wouldn’t be a nerd if Lisa Loeb hadn’t made me feel like ‘cute’ and ‘geek’ weren’t mutually exclusive terms.  I wouldn’t be so ok with having achieved very little for a person my age if I hadn’t been convinced that ambition was actually kind of lame by grunge, alternative and Troy Dyer.  My first romantic feelings were experienced in tandem with listening to the New Kids On The Block’s album ‘Step by Step.’  I don’t think I would be quite such an anxious person had I not fed myself at such a young age on z-95.3’s toxic mixture of KLF, Snap and Technotronic.  Staying up late with my brother Sean to listen to U2’s ‘Mysterious Ways’ on the ‘Top 8 at 8’ was a formative experience in my life.  My friend Dory wanted to be a fly girl.  My friend Jill and I bought Vogue to look at pictures of Carla Bruni, the supermodel (as opposed to the pop singer or the French president’s wife), swathed in Alaia and Versace (Gianni, Not Donatella).  And I have very vivid and precious memories of walking to Kelly Goodridge’s house at lunchtime to listen to ‘Again’ by this girl you might know named Janet Jackson

I very firmly believe that the birth of my emotional and self-aware self occurred the night that my parents let me and Sean stay up to watch Kris Kross on In Living Colour.

I never said I was normal.  But I bet you aren’t so ‘normal’ yourself.

In case you care, I’m listening to ‘Rump Shaker’ by Wrexx n Effect as I post this.

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Ms. Christie, You Write Goooood Mysteries

There’s this marvelous woman- a writer of mysteries- who’s long been keeping me entertained.  Her name is Agatha Christie and it is said that she is the best-selling novelist of all time and the most translated.  She flits in and out of my life via novels left at our summer cabin and library dvds.  I would never go as far as to call myself a die-hard fan but I’ll certainly have a piece of Agatha pie if it happens to be available (not sure about that metaphor… oh well).

These days I’ve been spending and unjustifiable amounts of time watching episodes of the TV series Agatha Christie’s Poirot.  If it’s not on KCTS 9, the library’s just a quick jaunt away and I can always count on the VPL to have at least a couple of Poirots hanging about.  In a pinch Cadfael or Miss Marple will do but, if I have the choice, it’s Poirot.  There’s something about the mustache.  Something about the accent.  I relax when Hercule Poirot speaks.  Something about the way he says ‘Hastings.’  There are a few KCTS 9 all-stars that have the same effect on me (Rick Steves, Bob Ross) but my current favourite is Monsieur Poirot.

Anyhow, I’m not too worried about this mild obsession with Ms. Christie and her hero as it seems that fashion is heading in the direction of interwar England anyways- all tweedy and eccentric.  I recently purchased a lovely vintage Aquascutum jacket.  Now all I need is a walking stick, a cloche, a spaniel and something by Barbour, no?

In the meantime, I’ll keep trotting down to the library to load up on Poirot, falling asleep to the sound of his heavily-accented voice, dreaming of an english country house filled with typewriters, books, hunting rifles and murder.

Not a bad way to make a living, eh?

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The Time Warp?… Again?

Though The Bay in Pacific Center already smells like Christmas, most of us aren’t thinking much farther ahead than Halloween.  It’s a ‘lite’ holiday.  In fact, it’s not even a holiday.  As far as work and school are concerned, it’s a day like any other- we are required to show up and do things and be productive.  Only we’re supposed to do all of these things either in costumes or anticipating (or dreading) costumes.  I’ve not let Halloween invade my life yet.  I’ve not listened to Thriller or The Monster Mash.  I’ve not racked my brain trying to come up with a clever yet attractive costume idea.

But Halloween burst through my frontal lobe today with such force as I cannot describe.  I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised.  I was browsing racks at Value Village when this all happened and Value Village, as we all know, is to Halloween as The Bay in Pacific Center is to Christmas.

Three things happened in quick succession to pave the way for Halloween’s invasion of my brain-

1) On the store sound system ‘Your Body is a Wonderland’ was followed by ‘The Time Warp.’  This was not only incongruous but also disturbing.  John Mayer should exist only on playlists that also include Jason Mraz and Jack Johnson.  That’s where he belongs, try as she might to shed his ‘nice guy’ sweater, try as he might to fit into those douchebag pants.  In fact, John Mayer should really only exist on mix cds that you made when you were sure that the best things in life were cute boys, wasted time and Bacardi Breezers but I will allow that he is tolerable when played over a mega-store’s sound system.  But not when followed by ‘The Time Warp.’  I don’t know.  The whole sequence left me feeling musically violated.  It was like Halloween- screeching, snarling, dancing Halloween- snuck into my brain behind innocuous John Mayer.

2) As I dashed to the checkout clutching a Betsey Johnson velvet mini-dress I passed the Value Village costume section and I shouldn’t have but I browsed.  Mixed in with all the other slightly ick-tacular ‘sexy’ women’s costumes was a ‘Sexy Raphael’ costume- as in ‘Raphael is cool but rude,’ as in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle.  Yes, this Halloween some lucky man is going to have the great privilege of taking home a sexy ninja turtle.  But I think any man who thinks ninja turtles are sexy is a man who is not to be trusted, no?  I think that any woman who dresses up as Sexy Raphael for Halloween should be wary of any man who wants to take her home.  Same thing goes for men who are attracted to women dressed up as Sexy Spongebob and men who are attracted to women  dressed as Snooki.

3) Still clutching a Betsey Johnson crushed velvet mini-dress, I ran out of the store only to be confronted by a man asking me for change while he peeled off his jeans and pulled on a pair of costume pirate pants.

I’ve now got Halloween in my head.  I guess it’s time to listen to Thriller.

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