And now I like to think of myself as a Jewphile Johnny Cash. This is my new strategy for office dressing.
And I’m pretty…pretty…pretty sure it’s working for me. WERK.
Oh hey folks. I’ve missed you! I’ve been really busy with my professional writing career, specifically penning my aforementioned memoirs (SEE TITLE). To be released in 2014, riding the coattails of the Tayisha Busay memoir: Judy. Donna. Ponytails, Higher Caliber. Everywhere., which I also happen to be ghostwriting.
So how does this circumstance look? Well, first of all, consists of me hunched over a 1956 Golden Touch Electric Underwood typewriter,
not because I’ve completely succumbed to the inherent hipsterdom that comes with a Bushwick address (though I have), or because it’s the most appropriate machine on which to type with elbow-length “magic” golden gloves (though it is), but because at this point it’s actually more technologically advanced than my sad, Baghdad computer. The only thing my computer is good for anymore is shopping for Liza Minelli memorabilia on ebay. Which, bringing me to my second of all, is actually a total blessing, because finding this vintage t-shirt from Liza’s 198o tour, Liza in Concert, helped start (along with a multifaceted emotional awakening, SEE KATE CHOPIN) the beautifully inspiring river of mascara tears that’s been flowing from my eyeholes for the past two and a half months:
REAL mascara tears, breaking dams and shit. Because $40 and with only a few kool-aid stains (OR THE BLOOD OF LIZA FANS)??? Oh geez, I’m tearing up again…
So that’s it; me bent over my typewriter, clothed in nothing but an oversized Liza in Concert t-shirt and long golden gloves screaming “HOW’M I DOIN MAMA??”
Surrounded by six men in sailor suits for the occasional song and dance, naturally. Did you ever picture my life any other way?
But srsly, coming soon: that happy face. Back off Sandy, it’s always sunny on the Isle of Nathargabaw.
In which we elaborate on the discussion of what it’s like to be a young career girl from New York City.
Basically, it can be summed up in the first two minutes or so of the following:
But let’s get a fresh perspective.
I’m Right on Top of That, Rose!
by Ariel Sims
Not just anyone can do what I do. It takes a calculated combination of apathy and grace to endure scoldings for things you aren’t responsible for, a special kind of schizophrenia to deny your last shadow of an ego while smiling gratefully. And it takes a large amount of bravery to trade in your previous, stubborn idea of self for a new, seemingly much less grand version. In my case, entering the workforce as a young, jaded admin is a coming of age story about growing up and dressing the part.
My experience with clothes began as a fantasy of dress up. Trunks of endless thrift store garb and heirloom accessories my mother kept stocked to meet all of my tinker-bell dreams. Every outfit a character; each an opportunity to feel myself differently. I was quite the cliché of a self involved, pretty pretty princess. The way I dressed was intricately tied into my self-esteem- and let’s just say, I wore a lot of pink sequins.
Being the center of the universe, I was lucky enough to have my inner god complex prolonged through college where I was sent off to “live my dreams” which, at that point, happened to still involve wearing pink sequins. It seemed natural that I continued my real life role-playing through acting school- gallivanting around Manhattan in what may as well have been the same princess/mermaid dresses from the dress-up trunk, spending money I didn’t have, believing, intrinsically, I was special enough to never have to grow up (or wear a pair of jeans).
Eventually, College ended, and the loans ran out, along with the fantasy that I could “be whoever I wanted.” So I moved to Brooklyn and got to know much different kind of never never land. With the absence of funds, my post-graduate fellow artists and I lived a life of fashion rebellion where the uniform tended toward the understated and worn: a look that another “ex-princess” friend affectionately refers to as “dressing in your own feces.”
I joined a band, adopted the uniform, screwed the man, and felt like a fashionably disobedient artist with a heart full of punk. As much as this seemed like personal growth, I was most definitely still the center of my self-involved, hipster universe, and relied, to a certain degree, on my outer expression to justify my questionable life choices. Dressing tastefully felt like accepting responsibility I didn’t want. At that time, growing up equaled giving up.
Now, entering act three of my fashion saga, I got a job. Like a J.O.B. In an office. With a Blackberry. Mind you, this lifestyle change didn’t just come out of nowhere- it happened after the realization that I had borrowed money from my dad one too many times. It was time to take responsibility for my life and my future. I needed clothes that were comfortable, nice, and appropriate- and I had no experience in these departments what-so-ever. So I went to some stores and tried on what felt like other peoples clothes. I bought a bunch of random stuff and tried to wear it. But it was all wrong. More than ever before, I was in survival mode- I needed to have confidence, I needed to keep this job. So I had to learn which things gave me power and made me better. I began experimenting with blazers, slacks, loafers, and the ever-elusive line drawn at “business casual.” I no longer thought of my clothes as opportunities to express my inner “why-be-normal” personality; they were tools for getting people to respect and trust me.
For the better part of my life, you could only find me, dressed in my own feces, at the second star to the right and straight on ’til morning. But when the time came for growing up, I learned how good it feels to present myself as a hardworking, competent professional that can handle anything. Some may say that I gave in: that I sold my childhood dreams of being a magic fairy princess to an evil corporation for a pay check. And I probably did. But I’m freakin rich now. And, boy… do I look awesome.
Ariel dressed the part, and has been able to keep the job. She still lives in Brooklyn and can occasionally be found dressing in her own feces on the weekends, but she no longer screws the man in any way. Last weekend we went out to dinner and ordered TWO desserts.
Career girls. Würk.
So a couple of months ago, Ariel texted me with a fashion EMERGENCY: she needed to borrow ALL of my flesh colored lingerie for the new Tayisha Busay video. Jumping at the chance to make my panties famous, I stuffed all my naughty second skins into a Petco bag and did a quick exchange with my fave glamour girl. Sadly, my panties didn’t make the cut, but the video is, nevertheless, AWESOME:
Damn, even their bruises are glitterly.
Among the many beautiful words in the English language, there is one that I hold above all others, one that is nearest to my heart, one that rolls around my mouth and off my tongue in such a pleasurable fashion…that this is getting pretty weird. Which word you ask? Amalgam. Confused? Go on, say it. Now say it again. Hot, right?
Right. But upon visiting my word crush, ’cause I like to get my lovin’ while I got it on my mind (one of the many joys of spending my days with Merriam-Webster’s), I was generally and unfortunately horrified by what I found: “a mixture of different elements“. Really? Can “mixture” truly capture the meaning of this spectacular term? Wouldn’t “blend” be at least nominally more accurate? I’m disappointed in you Webster’s, and I do not want to talk about it.
So I decided to take a crack at capturing the essence of this lovely word by creating my own awesome amalgam, or by amalgamating my awesomeness, if you will. So I took one part Janelle Monae:
who is super cool and slim enough to pull off menswear like a champ
and carefully BLENDED one part Nicki Minaj from The Creep video
in which she gives big-bootied girls everywhere hope for wearing men’s inspired fashion, and came up with this:
Is that a successful amalgamation or WHAT? I’m way into it. So take that Webster’s (seriously though…we can make up now, if you want. Oxford’s American means nothing to me. It was one time. I love you).
Ok, nerd out.
About a month ago, I was utterly plagued by a question that I think is pretty common among women my age: how, exactly, do I get my gentleman callers to love me like I’m a hot guy? Putting the extreme fag-hagness of this ponderance, and of my life, aside, I made an important life decision to immediately cut, style, and dye my hair so I would look like Rihanna:
Then I would curl it and wear a tiered dress,
and my general quality of life would improve, right? Right? Well, not exactly. I know, I was as baffled my this misequation as you are, but despite my best efforts, the simple act of nearly shaving the sides of my head and dying my hair black was NOT enough to make me look like Rihanna:
I mean, ALMOST:
but not quite.
So WTF? How could this (not) happen? Is it because she looks like a My Little Pony,
and I more closely resemble a bunny?
Is that why? Can someone help me solve this mystery? In the meantime, I turban on.
If you do a quick review of We Look Awesome, it becomes pretty apparent that at heart I’m really just an overweight middle-aged gay man who lives with his mother (or at least calls her everyday). Seriously, I’m a bit more obsessed with Patrick Swayze and The Golden Girls than the average 25 year-old female, no? Speaking of, let’s take a look back at a photo from last week’s post:
and reflect on how much I look like Rue McClanahan in it:
Point made? Yeah, I thought so.
Anyway, despite the fact that my outward awesomeness belies the sad truth inside, I do occasionally get opportunities to do really cool things (however limited due to living in the suburbs…but that’s only temporary…RIGHT????).
So though some might think it’s a tad pathetic that I only got to see two bands at CMJ, I’m gonna file it under “better than nothing” in the interest of acting my age, gender, and sexual orientation.
I’ll start with a note on the second band, Fan Tan. I can’t really think of a better description of these guys than the one found in the CMJ edition of The Deli Magazine, which explains the “wish we were in a massive rainstorm and there was a camera shooting down on us from a crane, because then we could outstretch our hands and lift them high to [the] heavens while shouting a roar that’s equal parts joy and pain” that their music evokes. Seeing these guys definitly made me feel like Tim Robbins in Shawshank Redemption:
but replace the prison with Williamsburg, the rapists with that bartender who wouldn’t give us free steak and eggs (I TRUSTED YOU!), and Morgan Freeman with a group of enjoyably intense and talented musicians. Yeah, that probably works.
And now for my faves:
I’m Turning Into!! Aren’t they colorful and the best? Don’t they defy gravity?
To describe these guys, I’ll steal another quote, this time from fellow CMJ performer and Tayisha Busay glitter girl Ariel Sims, who aptly said, “I swear to God, I have not met a more irresponsible bunch of guys than I’m Turning Into”. As such, about four months ago I asked these guys to send me some pictures and quotes best capturing their awesomeness and they never did, forcing me to put them on the spot right after their show.
Still, I think the boys represented themselve pretty accurately.
Edd Chittenden (left) called his style “cut offs and hobo wear with bright colors”. Steve Tarkington (right) said he chooses his clothes “based on what I wore the day before” and told me the inspiration for that day’s outfit was that he’d “been wearing these clothes for a while”. And Jhon Grewell (center) said “I wear clothes that look like my girlfriend’s clothes, but they’re not, because I don’t have a girlfriend”, to which he added “(wink)”.
Basically, the raging irresponsibility and general homeless rainbow aesthetic of I’m Turning Into all mesh serendipidously to one overwhelming effect: these guys are a ton of fun, and it reflects in their music and performance. Check it out (my apologies for the poor video quality…I was using an emptied falafal bag as a tripod):