Thursday, December 23, 2010

Pop Culture Is Democratic Until It's Fascist

I decided to be honest.  I decided not to lie about how I live. 

I also had to sort of improvise when it came to showing you just how messy my room is (I've been home almost a week and still haven't finished unpacking) because I didn't have anyone to take the pictures of me in it.  I ended up doing a lot of estimated pre-focusing and using the timer on my camera, which I positioned precariously upon shelves, music stands and a ukulele case and, finally, shamefully, I took pictures of myself in the mirror.  I hope you don't mind.  Anyway, this was a very spur-of-the-moment shoot prompted by an unexpected gift from a neighbour: the ridiculous shoes you see below.  Well, they were just too darling.  I had to put on something monstrously incongruous and confusing and... and sit alone in my room blogging about it.  I do miss school.

There are many terrible, tragic things about my life, but one of the worst is that my feet are US size 11/12.  Since I was very, very little I could never have the shoes I wanted, from the tiny little leather sandals with leather flowers on the straps to the shiny wedges I crave now, and everywhere in between including trainers, flip flops and snow boots.  I very often end up wearing mens' shoes in the latter three categories, and there is absolutely nothing in the world that could very few things depress me more.  So, when these... I just can't absorb how silly they are... things appeared in my life today, I decided something celebratory had to be done. 

Can I just be cocky for a minute and say that I really like the way the edge of the mirror distorts this picture a bit?  Especially the detail at the top of the door.

If you know me at all, you know that celebrating means cake and loud, clashing clothes.  I already had a cake in the oven, so it was on with the leggings, and I sort of went from there.  (hey, see the mess on my bed?  Somebody, please, tell me that you live that way too.  Oh, and do you like my penguin pillowcase?)  Here's the breakdown:

Skirt/dress thing: I got it in Turkey, but the tag says XSIDE, which, on google-ing, seems to be somehow connected to LC Waikiki.  Whatever. 
Leggings: actually Leg Avenue tights I ordered fron Sock Dreams, but I wouldn't recommend them.  They were so unstretchy I couldn't actually get them on, so I cut the feet to make leggings.  All the same, they're not very good quality.
Belt: Gap, this season.  Not sure why I got such a long one, but I kind of like coiling it around itself like that.
Necklace: Camden Lock, London
Jacket: this thing happens every time I come home, where there are clothes in my room that aren't mine.  Turns out this one's an evening jacket of my aunt's that she thought I might like.  It's very different from what I usually wear but I think it's pretty and that sort of cut is written off to often.  I'm a great believer in button-down anythings on women. 
Hair clip: not meant to be a hair clip at all... a gift from someone who probably had my bedroom in mind, but I just stuck it in there without thinking of the (worth it) hell I'd have getting it out.  Oh, dear, that came out sounding rather less innocent than I meant it to.
The makeup (not that I wore much today) is mostly Estée Lauder.  Nail polish Jessica Cosmetics.

Anyway, I think I worked out what I was going for by the end... something somehow nineteen-fifties.  But with leggings.  I don't know... I guess I'm thinking more about the makeup or my mood.

I suppose I was channeling Tavi a bit, or something.  After doing this I sort of... um... arranged pretty things in my room and took pictures of them?  It was fun. 

Yeah.  Weird, isn't it?  I actually own a couple pieces of proper designer clothing (does a bag count as clothing?).  Nothing impressive, quantitatively speaking.  A Pucci shirt, a Calvin Klein denim jacket that must be from 1983 and is so marvelously frayed and worn that I put it on just to feel like Madonna.  

Sorry, Madonna.  That was mean.  You're still cool.  Kind of...

No, no.  I really like Madonna.  

And golden syrup.  And being English, actually.  Just sayin'.  Let's see... the glass sweets are Venetian glass which my mother gave me for my tenth birthday, just after she'd gone to Italy.  Are Altoids only considered cool in this town, or does the rest of the world get the drugstore-and-rollerskates appeal?  I bought the stamps in Covent Garden, and they're from old printing presses.  'Cause I play the trombone.  The cat was actually a present from the same person the butterfly came from, and I don't know why there is crumpled paper in the syrup jar.  

I've been re-reading The Great Gatsby, in the bath, mostly, because I can't take my laptop in there.  And these days when I'm on my laptop I'm watching Torchwood.  With friends or alone (and I can't usually deal with watching films alone, but TV shows seem to be different) all the time, and I've decided I am going to marry Tosh, have an affair with Jack on the side (of course) and get myself a Welsh accent. 

Today I made a clementine cake and two lemon-yoghurt-blueberry cakes, just because, and crème caramel for Christmas Eve dinner.  My mum's Jewish so technically my siblings and I are too, but there was no way our Michigan-raised Unitarian daddy was going to let us go without Christmas, and, really, the way people try to blow up Hanukkah to compete with it is ridiculous anyway.  A Catholic friend recently said, on finding out that I celebrate both, something along the lines of:

"No!  That is so unfair!  Look, you get to argue in church*, we get Christmas.  You have to choose, you can't just pick out the good parts of both!"

I think he was honestly very distressed by the concept.  

I'm sort of wondering if people will be surprised by this post.  Or, rather, by the one picture with quite a lot of my legs in it.  And the one with some bra strap which you probably didn't even notice but will now scroll up to find.  If they'll think that's a slutty move.  I don't think it's wrong... of course, I don't think "slut" should be a bad thing to be called - it's a name jealous people give those who have more fun.  Anyway, people are always drawing this arbitrary line between fashion and porn and judging the ones who they've decided cross it.  Apparently, someone decided somewhere down the line that it's not okay to "pass something off" as fashion (read: serious art.  Yeah, right.  Artists should never take themselves so seriously as to take offense when they're confused with pornographers.  There's a point where you begin to question who gives people more satisfaction and whether stuffy "intellectual" quality is really worth more than that) if it's risqué, because that's attention-seeking and wrong.  And pornographic.  So, okay, there's a general domain for art and a general domain for porn.  But:

a) Can't there be any cross-over?  Why shouldn't risqué material, if that's what it is, have an artsy/intellectual side as well? 

b) All new art is shocking at some point.  If showing some skin is a mechanism for getting real, serious art/fashion seen and out there, what's wrong with that?  "Those who are easily shocked should be shocked more often."  So said Mae West, a star who wasn't ashamed of her body, her interests or her tendency to write and talk about both of those things in conjunction.  They censored the hell out of her, but now what she did seems tame.  This is how societies grow.  This is how we got as far as the Beatles, Picasso, flying to the moon, Roe vs. Wade, and Obama.  Whether or not you think that any of those were good things (I do - all of them), new ideas are scary.  To Henry VIII and, yeah, some of modern society, Rihanna and Lady Gaga and, hell, Marilyn Monroe, hell, Elvis Presley while we're at it, are/were just prostitutes.  Yet they're hailed by others as fantastic, groundbreaking or at least interesting artists.... actually, though, Henry VIII is a really bad example.  That man slept around.

c) If it's not serious art and is just somebody looking for attention, well?  So what?  At least they're doing it with a little integrity rather than crying in a corner threatening to cut themselves and moaning on facebook about how miserable they are - all for attention.  (Sorry to the people who actually do have problems worth crying about and who actually are driven to hurt themselves - there is a reason that things like the ItGetsBetter Project (click if you're gay, suicidal, bullied, desperate or just different, it's totally inspiring) exist and of course that's different.  But I believe you're outnumbered).  

So.  I've gone from silly shoes to Modern Society.  Only took me 1,500 words.  Time to wrap up. 

*and yes, I pointed out that it's not a church, but he had a good point - Judaism is so much less narrow-minded than a lot of forms of Christianity.  Say what you like about that - I just don't think religion is a very good idea, full stop. 

1 comment:

Tights Lover said...

I most certainly live that way too.

I loooove the leggings! I hope you enjoy the cake!