Silliness (though apparently a long post).

So I have hobbies and interests. Some are mainstream, like art and music, some are a little esoteric (I’m a medieval reenactor, and I cosplay steampunk). And some… well, I don’t like using the term ‘shameful secret’ because I’m not ashamed, but it’s certainly not something I put out in ‘about me’ profiles.

You see, I have a deep and abiding love of all things… wedding.

Now, to clarify… I’m not married. I’m not getting married (probably never?). I’m not engaged. I’m not even dating (my last boyfriend was in 2009, last actual date from early in that relationship, even). And I know that wedding =/= marriage. Even still.

Weddings fascinate me. I love the frippery, the personalization, the celebration of love that’s involved. That said, there are some things about wedding advertising, absurdity and targeted promotion from the Wedding Industrial Complex that baffle and irritate me.

Wedding advertising is simultaneously beautiful and hilarious. Beatific brides in flowing white gowns grace page upon page of magazines, websites and reality television, giggling and bounding through whatever inappropriate (or unlikely) situation seems to befall bridal advertising. It seems that so many brides tend to find themselves fully gowned, coifed and primped while up on ladders, changing light bulbs, in dusty old barns (not the lovely converted or cleaned & decorated ones in which they might actually marry, but decrepit, manky old run down wrecks), or leaning on walls (so much leaning). Brides and their bridesmaids are always smiling, laughing, with someone glancing come-hither at the audience. Roving packs of brides cluster together in empty houses, looking somewhere between lost and wistful.

Real Life Wedding headlines like ‘Barefooted Boho Bride Bonds with Bowtied Beau in Barn’ implore us with their alliteration to find the beauty, the novelty and the interest in someone else’s idea of perfection. And so many websites, interest boards and planning tools all too lovingly oblige us in our quest for mental and emotional recreation and gratification.

When it comes to dresses, modern wedding dress (and bridesmaid dress) shopping has become a circus of appalling proportions. And I do mean circus. If you are any kind of curvy and wear anything over a size 8 street size, you’re treated like a side show. Mocked, belittled, treated poorly, and generally made to feel like you belong in a giant tent. This, thankfully, isn’t standard in ALL shops (some of them work hard for all women), but there are websites and message boards dedicated to horror stories, better business bureau entries and urban myths that speak to the horrifying experiences that curvy and larger sized women have had in bridal shops. The utter humiliation that comes of being told your size is not your size, having monikers attached to you like ‘plus size’ (I’m not plus-sized, I’m just sized thank you very much), being treated as less than other women whose genetics happen to have gifted them with thinner (or taller) body types. You’ve never known humiliation or anger until some chirpy, oblivious (or malicious) salesperson asks you how much weight you intend to lose before someone agrees to marry you. Or tries to sell you on some sort of ‘bridal booty bootcamp’ exercise plan, because obviously you don’t want to try and squeeze your fat ass into a dress that’s sized in such a way that your street size number is actually 2 sizes smaller in Wedding World. So if you aren’t forewarned and you ask for your size, you receive a dress that makes you feel like you’ll never fit anything. And then the selection for women over a certain size is smaller and usually populated with the Dresses That Time Forgot. As women in general, we’re supposed to want to ‘earn our white gown’ (more on that momentarily) while dieting to suit the ‘bridal silhouette’ and fit into a dress that makes us look naked but for some feathers and spangles, that will make everyone gasp and maybe make our partner cry when s/he sees us approaching. That’s a lot of weight to put on a dress.

On the topic of the white dress specifically, this is one idea that puts my hackles up the most. So many brides on a certain southern-flavored dress show spout the words ‘I’ve earned my white dress!’ (Or worse, one of her parents will). Now, I’m all for making your own choices in terms of sexual partners and activities (or lack thereof). I support waiting until you’re absolutely ready AND understand there why’s, the wherefore’s, the how’s and (very importantly) knowing the who’s better than, say, a teenager might know a chosen partner. Do it for more reasons than ‘my hormones said so’. But I also believe you should do it for more reasons than  ‘I’m married now.’ because that road leads to disappointment (and possible abuse, also creepy and inappropriate topics). Historically, the white wedding dress, despite popular belief, does NOT denote a virgin bride. Up until Queen Victoria, a girl would marry in her best dress (and the middle and lower classes after Victoria would still do so). It wasn’t until Victoria decided she wanted a white dress to go with some special lace she’d received that a mimicry trend began. And even then, she didn’t do it BECAUSE she wanted to state she was virginal. (She was virginal at her wedding because it was her duty as royalty to produce heirs with a royal spouse that had no hint of illegitimacy, but that’s beside the point).

Television tells us brides have to be either rapturously ecstatic, shyly happy or full-on guano crazy. We’re meant to envy those women, to root for the hard luck cases, to wonder what the hell about the crazy ones and to maybe feel hope for ourselves with those ‘At Last’ stories. Magazines tell us we’re meant to have voluminous white gowns, giant diamond rings, exotic honeymoon plans and no other thought in your head except your checklist (which begins a year and a half before your wedding, because everyone has a long engagement and time to plan, right?)

We’re meant to remain cool and not be a ‘bridezilla’ (but if you are you’d better go full-bore, cake smashingly, dress tearingly, groom haranguingly crazy) all while planning every single tiny detail without assistance (because it’s YOUR special day, not yours and your partner’s, JUST YOU), multi-task, never complain and craft a specific and beautiful event without actually looking like you planned it that evokes a combination of byte-worthy words: bespoke! DIY! Rustic! Romantic! Upscale!

And when it comes down to it, it’s all just words. Everything you’re told as a girl from the time you can understand speech is that you’re a girl, you get married in a big white dress, with a ring that cost your husband 2 months’ salary, you want a big party that looks just so and you have to Fit The Mold.

 

Break the mold. Defy conventions Be yourself. Get married or don’t. Wear jeans. Wear a bikini. Wear a suit. Go naked (even if you’re not Betazoid, I don’t judge). Just be yourself. Do what you want with your life and don’t let any part of society tell you you HAVE to look/act/be a certain way, in any aspect of your life. You are a unique creation.

 

Now excuse me while I go bury myself in a Martha Stewart Weddings mag. Oooh, shiny!

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This Scepter’d Isle

So I am an American. Born and raised in NYS (upstate, and no I don’t mean Westchester, Poughkeepsie or Albany). I lived in NY for the first 35 years of my life. I use the term ‘lived’ loosely. I existed. I ate (poorly), I slept (sort of), I worked (stress stress stress) and I went through life like I lived in a fog (in some cases in an actual mental fog, but that’s a tale for another day).

Until I decided to change my university major and pursue it on another continent.

In September of 2012 I picked up my entire life (not as easy as it sounds) and moved myself (and my cats! No, there wasn’t a quarantine) to London, UK. I decided if I was going to chase a degree in Museum & Gallery Studies and History of Art (and Design & Film) I wanted to do it someplace that had the best museums and sources of research. My choices were Florence, Paris or London, and of those three in only one I speak the language fluently.

I got into my first choice (unheard of in my life, I’ve never had first choice anything before!), got my ducks in a row (or herded my cats, as it were… sure as hell felt that way) and off we went.

I had a lot of adventures, but I guess this rambly post is mostly to do with feeling at home. I miss England and London, since I’ve been back in NY for over a year now, so much so it hurts. Every day. I’ve never felt more at home anywhere than I did in England (except Pennsic, but that only runs 2 weeks a year, so… 50 weeks of out of place). I’ve never felt and been more capable, self-sufficient, more ME than I was when I was there. Sure, I missed my friends and family (though they say it’s hard making friends once you’re over 30, I don’t find that to be the case) but in the internet age that’s less of an issue.

I’m hoping to move back, though I’m not sure if I’ll end up back in London. Edinburgh is looking VERY appealing right now, between affordability and graduate school options. (And if you’d asked me 5- 10 years ago if I’d be looking at graduate programs I’d have laughed at you and said ‘I don’t even have my bachelors and probably never will!’ Never say never, right?) By the by, if you know anyone in the arts and cultural realms in either city that’s hiring and willing to sponsor a VISA for a keen American, please do let me know. Or mention me.

 

Someone please hire me in my field. It’s my passion, and it took me years to find it so you know I’m absolutely certain of my path and choices.

Home is where the heart is. And mine is in a museum in the UK.

An Untamed Shrew

“I see a woman may be made a fool,
If she had not a spirit to resist.”
― William Shakespeare, The Taming of the Shrew

Oxford English Dictionary defines a shrew as “A person, esp. (now only) a woman given to railing or scolding or other perverse or malignant behaviour; freq. a scolding or turbulent wife.” (It also defines it as a small furry rodent, but I guess Shakespeare didn’t take that into account).

I find it interesting that a word so small and tame can speak so negatively to one specific gender, and only that gender. So many words are used in this way, to directly and insistently denigrate and demean one specific portion of the population. I recognize my privilege to have been born a certain ethnicity that doesn’t necessarily get hit with insults. My gender, however, oh what another story.

I’ve been called bitch, whore, I’ve had my looks insulted (or criticized in a ‘well-meaning’ way like “you could be so pretty if…”), I’ve been spoken over, interrupted, disregarded and valued less than my male compatriots.

And yet, I don’t shut up. I have a lot to say. Some of it might be worthwhile (probably not, I tend to ramble), so I’ve decided to start this blog to just let it all out. Mostly so I can stop filling my phone with random notes and half-thoughts.

 

Am I a shrew? Maybe. But like a slut-walk, a bitch-fest or another feminist act of strength… I’m taking it back.

Petrucchio be damned, Katarina got shafted.

It’s not my fault!

LAST PERSON WHO
. Slept in your bed: Me, all alone, unless you count that picture of
Orlando Bloom that ‘fell down’ *innocent smile*
. Saw you cry: My roommate
. Made you cry: Er… Peter Jackson?
. Spent the night at your house: Ohhhh that would be my roommate’s
friend Sarah, and our friend in the SCA – Aidan. (We were all
carpool/caravaning to Pennsic)
. You shared a drink with: *blink* Share?
. You went to the movies with: Ginger, Liz, Ed and Sarah (different
Sarah) … we went to an all-night drive-in movie extravaganza and stayed
for 4 of 5 movies – Finding Nemo, Freaky Friday, Pirates of the
Caribbean, and Tomb Raider 2.
. You went to the mall with: Roommate.
. Yelled at you : Probably some idiot on the phone at work.
. Sent you an e-mail: Q. Diddy
. Said “I love you” to you : My …dad? No! My sisaroonie.

HAVE YOU EVER..
. Said “I love you” and meant it: Every time.
. Been to New York: State or City? I live in the state, I’ve been to
the city twice and through it more times I can count.
. Been to Florida: No
. California: No, but I saw the fog/smog from an airplane once.
. Hawaii: No.
. Mexico: I had a friend live in Mexico who I used to visit all the
time… oh you mean the country, not Mexico, NY. Nope.
. China: Someday I hope.
. Canada: I grew up a sneeze away from Canada… so yes.
. Danced naked: No comment.
. Dreamed something really crazy and then it happened the next day: Not
that I actually remember.
. Got a really bad feeling about something then it happened: No.
. Wish you were the opposite sex: With all my past lives? I’ve JUST
gotten used to and appreciative of being a girl, man.
. Had an imaginary friend: I don’t know what you’re talking about, and
neither does Mr. Squiggles.
. Red or blue: Depends on the day and the shade. Usually blue.
. Spring or fall: Technically it’s called Autumn.
. Math or English: English. Math dyslexic you’re when stinks.
. What are you going to do after you finish this survey: Transcript
entry. Whee!
. What was the last food you ate: Chicken salad sandwich, cheetos and
pepsi.
. Are you bored: No, busy.
. How many buddies are on: 0 – not on AIM right now

What Was..
. Last movie you saw: Tomb Raider 2
. Last noise you heard: Random radio station
. Last time you went out of the state: Pennsic!
. Thing u look for in a guy/girl: Uh.. intelligent, friendly
personality, generally a nice person, good at flirting, nice eyes, strong hands,
not burly or too hairy, not emaciated, taller than me (yeah ok so this
isn’t difficult), doesn’t run himself or others (or me) down all the
time, knows mostly what he wants out of life. Not asking for much, am I?
. Do you have a crush: Errrrrrrrrr *cough* I’m too old for crushes.
. Do they know: Uh yeeeeeeeeeeeeaaah I’m gonna go with a big fat “NO”
on that one.
. What do you think of ouija boards: Woohoo! Mass produced board games
that when improperly handled/blessed/cursed can become portals to a big
nasty ick. What a stupid idea.
. What book are you reading now: World Religions… it’s a textbook LOL
. What’s on your mouse pad: At work – Marvin Martian. At home I use my
eye-pen pad.
. Favorite board game: Lord of the Rings. (No … I really have the
LotRs board games for Fellowship and Two Towers.. I JUST FOUND Two
Towers!!)
. Favorite magazine: Rennaissance Magazine, Design Toscano, any sort of
restaurant supply
. Worst feeling in the world: desperation, abandonment
. What is the first thing you think when you wake in the morning:
“EeewwwwuuugggghhbleghCATSTOPBITINGMYFOOT! Can I skip work today, please?”
. How many rings before you answer: A couple
. Future daughter’s name: I’m a geek, I’ve definitely come up with
children’s names. Ok so I’m sappy – I’d like a daughter named after my mom
– Stephanie Claire. And possibly one named Ellinore.
. Future son’s name: I like Nathaniel or Sean.
. Chocolate or vanilla: Chocolate…though Vanilla is good once in
awhile.
. If you could have any job you wanted, what would it be: Best selling
author with permission from Tolkien Enterprises, and also in original
works.
. Are you a lefty, righty or ambidextrous: Depends on what I’m doing –
I’m a right-handed writer, somewhat left-handed eater. Ambidextrous in
many other things
. Do you type with your fingers on the right keys: I’ve actually found
it to be much easier.
. What’s under your bed: I try not to look, I think something might eat
me…. Actually I think it’s shoes and some books…
. Favorite sport to watch: Sports? Um… fencing/heavy weapons I guess.
Archery?

You Have..
. Hair Color: Brown/Auburn with a few of silver strands finally shining
through (You laugh, my sister had streaks at both temples by the time
she was my age!)
. Eye Color: Blue/cerulean
. Height Currently: 5’3″ though my license says 5’5”
. Glasses/contacts: both, just depends on my mood and how tired I am
. Current Age: 26… oh.. as of the moment I’m typing this? 26 years, 6
months, 25 days, 8 hours, 29 minutes.
. Siblings: 1 biological sister, 2 step-brothers, plethora of
family-by-choice
. Siblings Ages: Uh I’ll stick with my biological one here… she’s…
crud…. 31 I think.
. Location: Middle of the Snowbelt, Earth.
. College Plans: Working through remitted tuition as a non-matriculated
undergraduate attempting to take as many core classes as possible
before I apply and declare a major in Nutrition & Hospitality
Management/Entrepreneurship/Medieval Studies.
. Any Piercings: one in each ear. That’s plenty for me.
. Best Friends: I have a lot of friends who are very very close, I find
it hard these days to exclude anyone by calling someone ELSE a “best
friend”
. Hobbies: writing, reading, cooking, medieval reenactment
. What Type Automobile Do You Drive: Either my roommate’s Ford Focus,
as necessary… the two-leg express. (I walk a lot)
. Are You Timely Or Always Late: I try to be timely or early. If I’m
late, then no more than 5-6 minutes late.
. Do You Have A Job: Indeedly-doodly. Someday I hold the hope that
everyone will learn to be nice to the people on the phones in my office.
Because each of us is there for 2 months at a time, at least twice a
year. I hate the phones.
. Do You Like Being Around People: Actually yeah, depending on the
people.

STUFF
. Have you ever loved someone you had no chance with: Oh yes.
. Have You Ever Cried Over Something Someone of The Opposite Sex Did:
Sure.
. Do You Have A “Type” Of Person You Always Go After: I’m a sucker for
tall, dark and handsome.
. Ever Liked a close Guy/Girl Friend: Er… well yes.
. Are You Lonely Right Now: Yes, sometimes. In my moments of weakness.
. Ever Afraid You’ll Never Get Married: On occasion.
. Do You Want To Get Married: Yes.
. Do You Want Kids: Think biological clock ticking on the biggest amplifier you can possibly imagine.

FAVORITE
. Room In house: It’s tied between computer room and bedroom.
. Type of music: Most things. Depends on what I hear and how I like it.
. Song: “In Your Eyes” by Peter Gabriel
. Memory: I have a lot of good memories from recent times.. anything prior to age 12 is gone or too fuzzy to speak of.
. Day Of The Week: Saturdays.
. Perfume Or Cologne: Hill Woman Scent, by Hill Woman Perfumeries (Sterling Ren Faire)
. Flower : Roses (first yellow, then red) and Orchids (white, then purple, then orange.. and bat orchids are just funny looking)

IN THE LAST 48 HOURS, HAVE YOU:
. Cried: Yes. Damn you Peter Jackson!
. Bought Something: Flea spray…
. Gotten Sick: UNCLEAN!!!!!!!!!! Um…… no.
. Sang: Yeah. I sing along with my radio, cd player, portable cd player (much to the entertainment or chagrin of people around me)
. Said I Love You: Didn’t I already answer this one?
. Met Someone New: Um no.
. Had A Serious Talk: Yeah. I frequently hit that ‘serious talk zone’ in the wee hours of the morning.
. Missed Someone: I miss people every day. If you mean someone in particular in the past 48 hours? Yes. I don’t think I’ve stopped missing him, her or it.
. Hugged Someone : No, thanks for reminding me.
. Kissed Someone: No, thanks for reminding me, jerk.
. Fought With Your Parents: No, actually.
. Dreamed About Someone You can’t Be With: Yes.
. Had a lot of sleep: No. I never get a lot of sleep.