mardi, novembre 30, 2004

Gettin' Technical on a Tuesday (Stripper Shoes)

I have a few oceans which never fail to satisfy and fashion is one of them. Being truly, madly, deeply obsessed with fashion- its historical, psychological, commercial, technical and visual (among other sensual) aspects, I have to ask where "stripper shoes" (y'know those big ol' platform soled, 70's by way of 30's, dancer by way of pleaser shoes) came from, what they mean, and whether they would turn my 5' 11" self into a super hero of sorts. (No such thing as too tall, I sez. My inner drag queen looks stupid right now in her wig cap and full makeup, but she agrees wholeheartedly with me. She had on a very Hedwig blond flip thing a minute ago which was ridiculous. I'm making her change.)

Thinking of stripper shoes, my brain jumps to strip clubs, street corners, and Pamela Anderson. (Although I can also see her in Uggs taking her boys for a walk because as a dedicated Us Weekly reader, I know that although she's a star, she's just like us! Which is a huge relief to all of you, I'm sure.) My brain grabs KISS by their sequins and takes a close look at their platform boots because believeyoume, these boots have something to do with it. My brain takes a quick detour into how do those dancers not topple over on those stupid shoes? territory, jots a quick buy a pair and find out memo to me and gets back to work.

My brain remembers that high end designers send variations on this theme down the runways every now and again. A beautiful suede pair of mary janes with that recognizable "stripper shoe" sole and heel spring to mind. Miuccia Prada's fault, I think. Damn they were lovely, too. Jessica Simpson wore them like a fool when she had too much walking to do once in Atlantic City. Live and learn. The first one's free... or something like that.

John Galliano can be trusted never to stray too far from these shoes. In the last couple of seasons at Christian Dior, he's turned up versions in tortoiseshell, animal prints, metallics and killer brights. Going with his "more is more" philosophy, these have cutouts and straps and all kinds of things to keep it interesting. Gwen Steffani wore a pale aqua pair during her off-key AMA performance (the shoes are not to be blamed... I think.) I could have sworn they were Dior- or Westwood?- until I remembered a photo spread from my October Vogue Italia which shows what look to be the exact same pair by Natasha Marro at House of Harlot.

And House of Harlot is the real deal. Which brings me full circle to strip clubs and street corners. (Why deal with the designer middleman or in Vivienne Westwood's case, middlewoman?) This also brings me for that matter, to my very first fashion design professor who was I-kid-you-not from Transylvania and who dressed most exactly like a teenage goth queen, Lord love her. (She was in her late 40's, but live long and prosper, I sez, mixing things up royally.) But I am digressing again. (I do love to digress. Forgive us our digressions as we forgive those who digress against us. Amen. Now back to the shoes...)

Those gosh darn stripper shoes are from Venice by way of China (mebbe with a stop off in Greece). Back in the day (15th through 17th centuries) they were called chopines (also pattens) and were worn by wealthy Venetian women to avoid muddy streets and flaunt their social status and wealth. This was accomplished by literally towering over others (by up to 20 inches!) Also, the wobble chopines put into one's walk necessitated the assistance of a servant (one more way to show wealth) and absolutely branded the wearer a member of the leisure class (just the way long nails supposedly do or bound feet definitely did.)

They also, of course, had something to say about being financially looked after by one man, if not many. Because, of course, often enough chopines were worn by wealthy courtesans. Just to make it confusing, though, they were also worn by "respectable" women, too- wives and daughters, etc.

These days, if you want to get right down to it, they've probably been pushed into courtesan territory. When teenagers wear them, they're going for some "bad girl" mystique and are usually triumphant vinyl failures. When older girls/ women wear them-who do not use them as part of a professional uniform, as it were- they either look like tacky fools or they look pretty damn hot. (I've seen more examples of the former than I have of the latter. The latter gets done, though.) When working girls wear them, well, they own the "bad girl" market, so to speak, but mystique is rarely a part of it.

Fan dancing on the other hand... that has some mystique. And it probably requires a different pair of shoes. Now, if you'll pardon me, I have to go. My inner drag queen is about to leave the house with frosted pink lipstick and a copper colored wig. I am not about to let this happen.


Molecule of the Month (Nov)

I don't know what it is and neither do you. Honestly, I'm not trying to be an ass about it, but I really well and truly do not know what the molecule of the month is. Nor could I describe it even if I did. Chemistry is the only subject I ever came anywhere close to flunking. My brain will jump all over universes, but tiny things in odd shapes, well... it refuses to pay attention. My horizons need to be broadened. I get by with a little help from my friends. At least I used to.

This is what happens when you lose your peeps to big apartments and non-existent phone/ internet bills. Time's up on this one. November is too dumb to live. Now I dream of December- dangerous and volupte.

Wearing a couple of staples and nothing else. Somebody 'splain it to me.

mardi, novembre 16, 2004

H+P Prezents Housewarming 2004

(Look Lively!)

Okay, I'm back and I'm causing trouble. I like my idea of sending housewarming gifts to people who have moved (or moved back) or who haven't moved at all. Lately. Because, sez I, you really can't have your house too warmed. No, you cannot. So, I suggest a giftages free for all in this here blog world of ours. Obviously, Nashville must top the list because those crazy potato eating cowboys are in dire need of something (and I'm not sure what.)

The rules of the game are as follows:

Items must be mailed through normal 3-D channels (i.e. no poems or songs or pictures or gift certificates sent over the net.) Everybody needs to receive stuff in the mail from time to time, I don't care who you are. Do NOT exchange addresses over the net (i.e. on this blog.) That gives yrs faithfully the creepin' willies. The creepin' willies are to be avoided at all costs. If you're missing anybody's addy or want to send in your own, contact me at I will respond posthaste and forthwith because I like the sound of it.

There is no monetary value limit- hi or lo- on this thing. Fer instance, if somebody would like to buy me a $675 book on the life and designs of Madeleine Vionnet (by Betty Kirke), to help me resolve my deep, deep regret over not having bought the damn thing for $80 bucks or so when it first came out- well, that would be fine by me. Also, if someone were to send me a potato, I wouldn't mind that either. (Because I, unlike dem dere boys in Nashville, am not living through a mini potato famine. In fact, until Thanksgiving day, I can't even eat a potato, so as an object of lust, a potato will do nicely.)

All housewarming prezents must be announced by the prezent receiver on their own blog in a timely fashion. (What, I ask, is the fun in thinking up weird- or even nice- things to send to people if we all don't get to hear about it? Oh, dear me, I am distracted by the thought of baked goods- n'importe which kind. Thanksgiving day is going to be a food orgy, I can assure you. I had eggs and tomato for breakfast. A very good girl am I.)

Inventiveness as well as kindness are encouraged. So, if you feel someone's life will be improved by receiving a stick of Beech-Nut Chewing Gum, well, by golly, you send it. Or loose tea leaves (much more sophisticated than tea bags, for example), or fuzz from your favorite cashmere sweater, or 99 cents of iTunes shopping satisfaction (oh, wait- that might violate the "send it USPS or UPS or FedEx or DHL or something like that" rule.) You could send me home made chocolate chip cookies just to be cruel (oh, wait- that would violate the "kindness is encouraged" rule. Maybe that should be a guideline rather than a rule. I might really enjoy some cookie cruelty.) You get the idea.

Don't be disgusting. Need I say more?

This is NOT a competition ( I say slyly, knowing I am addressing a bunch of Competitive Bastards who will definitely turn it into one.) Sending the nicest or funniest or cutest or favoritist thing is NOT the object of the game. No, I say, the object of the game is to shower the people you love (or just like. As a friend. Or a brother. In the Lord.) with love. If I may be allowed to quote yet another sappy song here- nobody gets too much love anymore. We're going to do something about that.

And that thought makes me happy even though it isn't anything even remotely close to a baked good.

jeudi, novembre 11, 2004

Dans Mes Rêves

I cannot believe I’ve landed here. In this half of a house which is not even set up to receive the people who call it home. No one fits in this place. No one is well. No one is happy. No one is comforted. I feel the disappointment of a fool who knows better and still has not learned. Homecomings are usually this way. Harder, much harder than staying gone.

Every little fantasy I have carefully grown over the past few months slips away to die in the corners of this cold room. Warmth and welcome and time to be quiet and comfy with my favorite people on the planet- all of these fantasies turn into a drizzle which quenches nothing but smears all of my hopes anyway. Between my shoulder blades an ache sends up the first signaling spiral. This tension is the only thing that will survive in this place-in my body, in my head- until I can leave again.

I know better than to display my troubles in a place where everyone has more trouble than they can stand. There is no need to throw my bucket into the waterfall. Who would see it? Who would even know? I carry my own water. There is no relief. From their pain or my own. I am beginning to drown in this half of a house.

And then I hear him. He is crying up those stairs. And I am running- really running- three, even four steps at a time. Thanking God for long legs. Thanking God for the one completely beautiful part of every day here. In this place.

It is early in the evening but already nearly dark here in the Ohio winter. I do not need lights. My heart sees him through the heavy, closed door. Awoken from sleep, he is alone. And he knows it. Sadness and fear are in his voice. A voice which does not yet make words. But he is speaking to me.

And I have run to answer him.

When I push the door open, my heart stumbles. He does not know who is coming toward him in the dark. He is silent for a moment. His vulnerability in this attic room is one truth. My intentions toward him are another. I could bring anything to him now. Anyone in my place could bring anything to him now. I shake under the weight of that thought. I cannot stand that he does not have defenses against evil should it ever choose to approach him. In the dark.

I speak to him. And as soon as the sound is out of me, he laughs. Weary, nearly crying still from the tiredness of reprieve. When I stand at the side of his crib, he turns his reddened face up to me. Eyes wide, straining to see back over his shoulder in the low light from the doorway. Tears cross his cheeks like ribbons. He is giving me that smile. That laugh of real joy. Pure relief. He is not alone.

I bend my head and my neck and my back- all still aching from sadness and tension. But when I put my arms around him and lift him to me all is calm. All is bright.
I stand quietly and feel the winter world spin around me. The universe settles into order.

I lift him with one arm until his head rests of its own accord on my shoulder. One of his arms curls softly around mine. And the other falls against my chest. Without judgment. Without desire. He sighs against my neck. And rests.

From the tender bones still closing on the top of his head all the way down to the unarticulated arches of his feet, he is safe. There is nothing but warmth and welcome. Nothing but time. Time to be quiet. And comfy.

And I know with a certainty that almost snaps my heart into pieces that I would do anything for him. I place one hand on his back and move toward the door. Knowing I would give him anything I have. More than I have. I would give him anything he needs.

Everything that I know. Everything that I am. Everything that I could possibly bring to his life, I would. I would. Every good thing.

And it is my loyalty to him, my love for him, which comforts me most. He does not know that I cannot find this loyalty- this love- for myself. I am ashamed that I cannot find it. Cannot inspire it. Cannot keep it. And this loneliness- this grief- is the foundation of my daily life. There is no home. There is no home.

There is no home for me.

There is nowhere to land. No one will run to comfort me. No arms will hold me. No voice will stop my tears. I am not safe. I cannot rest. I am alone. And I am shamed by this ragged grief.

Still, as I carry his mind and his heart and his body carefully down the stairs, I am at peace. I have stopped here. With him. And my whole soul is making a promise to this little one. I feel suddenly that this promise exists in the entire universe. That this promise exists maybe even for me. And then I know.

My love is living proof.