august 2002

click here for permalink August 21, 2002

Yesterday, I found myself on an errand that most women dread — myself included — more than filing our taxes and cleaning out the bottom of the fridge, combined. In spite of all this, I found myself on the fourth floor of the largest deparment store in Vancouver yesterday... all alone... shopping for bras.

I think that most women feel deeply ambivalent (is that an oxymoron?) about their lifelong relationship with lingerie. We wear bras for comfort, to cover up and to correct nature... we wear them for support in the performance of sports and acts of seduction. We secretly dream of living in the VS catalog, lounging on brocade Louis XIV couches wearing velvet bras and matching French-cut underwear sets that miraculously age in unison...

When we find that perfect meeting of form and function in real life, it can be like love. We feel transformed, enhanced, understood. And we feel fear because we know it can't last forever and we wonder what we'll do when we have to go back out there alone... now that we know how good it can be...

We may switch to a new perfume every season or change our haircolor to suit our moodswings, but give us one or two bras that fit like a good leather glove, support like a high-impact aerobics shoe and flatter like the perfect shade of lipstick? We will wear — sometimes even repair — that thing until there is nothing left but shredded padding covered in a thin layer of shiny, faded cloth, one strap held together with a safety pin and a small red puncture mark under each arm where the underwire has broken through and stabs us every time we lean down, or forward. Or breathe.

Above all — and I'm not entirely certain why — we hate shopping for them.

For some, there is an irrational but crippling performance anxiety that comes of looking in the mirror and seeing yourself wearing an item that you once saw molded onto the gleaming, Amazonian torso of Gisele or Tyra Banks as they danced like fire-lit pagan goddesses, tossing their manes in the air and radiating toxic femininity from every burnished pore.

For others, it starts before we even begin to compare ourselves to our species' finest. I realized this on my second trip to the dressing room, while I was stripping off the most ill-fitting bra of the day; one that that couldn't cut it as a hold up, let alone a push-up. Outside the dressing room door, I heard the unmistakeable sounds of motherhood calling out to the hallway at large as she passed, "HON? Where are you, hon? I've got two more for ya... how's it going in there..?"

The voice that finally responded was muffled by one part shirt collar, two parts seething resentment. The mother stood on her toes to pass a handful of rattling hangers over the slatted wooden door; her voice was high-pitched and she spoke in rapid, panting breaths.

"How many do you have in there, hon? ... Is that ALL? Well, did they fit? ... Have you tried the white one? ... Do you need any help? Well, can I see? ....Humph...why are you so grumpy?"

As the sound of disgruntled hangers rattled back down the hall, I tried not to laugh out loud... Actually, I felt a group stifle being shared through the walls of the entire row of fitting rooms. We all cringed and silently recalled our own humiliating weekend shopping trip at the age of eleven or twelve. I felt truly sorry for the mom with her hangers — although she didn't seem phased by it — and I wondered if she had completely forgotten acting like a bitch to her own mother when she was her daughter's age and her mother had hovered outside the dressing room nagging, "Can I see?"

Well, it wasn't nearly as painful as I had expected, but I still managed to lose three hours meandering around in circles with handfuls of hangers etching pewter-colored grooves into my palms until they were numb. I wandered around and checked over the same near-identical sales racks so many times that the colors and brand names and styles and sizes and shapes and patterns all began to merge into a big, spiralling, pastel spin-art of synthetic fibers and underwires, plastic front-closures and hook-and-eye straps, lyrca, plaid cotton and stretch velvet, raw silk, PVC and silicone...

To make a short story long, I left with three. And I love them all; bright, shiny and new, satiny, lace-trimmed marvels of modern engineering with factory-molded cups like oversized, eroticized egg cartons. Mmm. And the best part is that I won't have to do that again for another three years, at least!

click here for permalink August 18, 2002

Another of my wonderful, talented friends has joined the ranks of the web loggers. Everyone, meet Liz. (Liz, this is everyone!) She possesses one of the qualities that I've always attributed to truly exceptional writers; the ability to capture your audience through the texture of your narrative regardless of subject matter.

(All my favorite authors are experts at this but two that stand out, for illustrative purposes and the extremity of their example, are Leo Tolstoy and Irvine Welsh... and their choices of subject matter, respectively, the philosophical politics of agriculture and the lives of a handful of antisocial drug-addicts.)

Which reminds me, I haven't read an actual book in about six months... these things go in waves, though, so I'm sure it's no cause for concern. I've read the online equivalent of many... does that count for something?

You ever get bored and go surfing but lack the attention span or the interest level to really read anything so you start looking for mildly interactive distractions? As my mother calls it, being "sorta brain dead and in need of inspiration."

Last time I found myself in this state, I stumbled upon a crop of personality tests that seemed to fulfill most of my entertainment requirements while providing an insightful and thought-provoking peek the old psyche — what more could you ask for? If you know what I'm talking about, you should enjoy the At the end of my interpretation, I actually sat back and muttered, out loud, "ouch."

Oh, and thanks a LOT, Alice! Good thing I never liked figs anyway...

click here for permalink August 7, 2002

Ever read your horoscope for the day and think it sounds more like your personal mission in life distilled down to single-shot decaf-orism from the universe? Well, I do, all the time. For instance...

"Think you have a good idea of who you are? Great. Let everyone know. Be clear. Be succinct. This is your chance to clarify everything you ever wanted anyone to know about you through personal declaration. Eliminate the feeling that people do not understand you. But a little goes a long way. Avoid the tendency to repeat a well-received joke. Same rule holds true for self-proclamation."

That one didn't even come from the folks at "Daily Horoscopes for Frustrated Writers"... no, they told me I need to get out more! Heh.

Interesting, though, that they should mention jokes. I was talking to a friend just the other day about my absolute inability to tell jokes — or even to remember more than one at a time. I mean, I can remember a handful of riddles at any given time — not one single god-awful limerick, thank god — but only one of those meat-and-potatoes, long-set-up, story-problem type of jokes. It's like there's a joke cache and I have it set to clear at 50k or something.

Anyway, it's probably just as well... because I have a fragile ego... and my friends tend to be the kind whose response to something funny, instead of actual laughter, is to smirk and point at you and say, with one eyebrow raised, "...clever!" Then immediately counter with something even more clever from the Austin Powers/Jim Carrey/Jon Favreau/Vince Vaughn school of comedic delivery.

Don't get me wrong — I love that shit. But can you imagine being in a room with all four of those guys at once? We're just grateful that we don't have any would-be Dicemen in our midst.