Friday, March 29, 2013

Take Back Your Beauty

This show is everything that is wrong

I was talking with a friend the other day and she had tried out a new hairstyle. I asked if she liked it and she answered, "I think it's ok, but nobody has said anything yet."

My immediate thought was, "But I asked if YOU liked it."

This is something that we all (especially women) have done and most still do. We dress, we primp, we style - and we do it all for others. We look in the mirror and try to see our reflection through the eyes of our target audience. I don't know how many times I've actually taken a picture of myself in a new outfit with my iphone - not because I want to share the new duds, but because I'm convinced that my own eyes are broken and a photo is a more accurate representation of how others will see me.

We've built entertainment franchises around this - What Not To Wear is a prime example of telling people that their eyes are broken, that they really need to stop trusting themselves when it comes to their personal beauty. We take people who were happily wandering around wearing whatever the fuck they wanted and we said, "Oh no! Didn't you know you've been doing this wrong all along?" And we put them in a room of mirrors and show them the way that they "really" look.

I used to watch the hell out of that show. I used to watch it and laugh and joke about sending in a tape about my mom and her penchant for all items of clothing $2 or less - regardless of size, color or style. I would check out magazines to see what was "hot" for the season. I would throw out my leggings when the experts said I should. I moved from rounded toe shoes to pointy and then back to rounded. I drew my eyebrows heavy, then soft, now full. My colors were safe and my cuts were flattering. And I fit in and felt comfortable knowing that at the very least, I wasn't offending anyone and at best, someone would say that I was pretty.

Women in this world are made for external consumption. So much about us is voted on by committee. We are told from the time we are small that we are like a house for sale - spotlessly clean, painted beige, with subtle and tasteful decor that any man can see himself at home in.

If you are like I was - and sometimes still am - you've bought into this. If you don't know how to feel about the way you look until you get to work ,or your date says, "you look nice" - if you thank a friend for telling you that an outfit you are wearing is "unflatering," I have two questions for you:

Are you having any fun?
How would you dress if nobody could ever give you any feedback on how you looked or what was in style?

One day, I was lucky enough to discover that I wasn't having fun at all. I realized that the entire time I was agonizing over an outfit, or turning down a lovely frock because it wasn't what I was "supposed" to be wearing, or going for a more neutral color as to not seem "loud" - I didn't want to wear any of it. Even worse, I had no idea what I wanted to wear. 25+ years of going, "I dunno, what do you think?" will do horrible things for your sense of self.

So I started working on figuring out what my own personal beauty is. This is was my own personal method:

1. I started making more instinctual decisions. I would wander around clothing stores and if I saw a dress or an outfit that appealed to me, but it didn't seem "safe", I would find my size and buy it without trying it on.

2. I would put it on and just wear it around the house all day. I would pass by the mirror and look at myself. I would usually go "eek! How would people see this? Does this make my thighs look big?" But there was nobody there to answer, so I would just keep going about my day. And as I kept passing by mirrors (there are way too many in my house btw), I would take a look at myself and eventually I would get comfortable. By the end of the day, I would feel comfortable saying, "I like this" or "Nope, I don't like this." I can tell you that about 80% of the time, my gut instinct was right and I did like it.

3. If I liked the outfit, I would swap it in for one of my boring safe outfits which I would donate to charity.

4. I would wear the outfit to work, or out to dinner and I'd refuse to cover it up with a boring sweater and I'd refuse to ask anyone how I looked.

Eventually I had a closet full of things I like, and a pretty strong sense of my own personal beauty. And I realized two very important things:

1. What you wear will have zero effect on anyone's day but your own.
2, Nothing looks better than someone who is having fun

I don't know if anyone remembers how I used to be before I started doing this. How quiet and unsure I was all the time. How apologetic for my loud and colorful nature I was. Probably not, I was very hard to notice back then - I was trying so very very hard to stand out by fading in. It reflected every aspect of my life, something as silly as fashion.

my look this week

Currently, my own style grows and changes, I'm always trying new things. I'm still scouring magazines and the internet on the reg, but it's no longer for new "rules" to adhere to- it's now for new ideas, techniques and inspiration. I LIKE fashion now (and honestly, you don't have to like it at all) - I'm a creative person and I like putting together different looks. I am certainly not going to claim that I know longer care what people think of me - any of my facebook friends know I'm still a sucker for a compliment. But now, I'd rather people appreciate the way that I express myself, than my ability to conform. I'm already happy with how I look before I share another annoying selfie on the web (which I'm going to totally keep doing forever, sorry friends for clogging your feed) and that happiness doesn't change, regardless of how many "likes" I do or do not get. I appreciate myself more for  my ability to be myself. It's a subtle change, but it's been a big one for me.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

15 Super Great Online Dating Tips

This is my "you've got to be shitting me" face that I've been making a lot lately when responding to  OKC messages

Hey all! As a modern single gal - I've been spending a little time on the world wide web trying out this "online dating" if you will. It has been a fun, slightly scary, maddening, and thoroughly interesting experience. I am now, obviously, an expert on online dating after 2 months of OkCupid use and I've decided to put out a few helpful hints for guys who are scratching their heads saying, "man - why aren't these ladies on OKC sucking my dick already?"

1) Hey - why don't you try reading the profile before you send a message?
If someone went through the trouble to fill out their profile, answer all those ridiculous questions (quick: who do you hate more - Hitler or Stalin?) and take a quiz or two (I'm a "Window Shopper" apparently), they did so for a reason. Read the profile. Love Jesus? Maybe don't try to pick up on the Atheist. Hate kids? Don't write to a single mother (unless she puts in her profile that she also hates her kids). Rush Limbaugh fan? Don't try to pick up women who live in Seattle.

2) I know pictures are neat and all....
But seriously, unless we list our favorite hobbies as "being pretty", you may want to try a different approach than, "did you know that you're pretty?" "You have eyes, I like eyes." "BOOBS." I know we don't know each other at all - but if you read tip #1, we put a lot of effort into making more interesting info available for you to comment on. The pictures are up there so that you know that we are real people and it seems to be pretty important to you to know what we look like.

3) I know it's hard to not offer up your expert ranking on the attractiveness of a woman's pictures from most to least attractive - but please restrain yourself. 
Also, if you can't help it, and a woman doesn't appreciate your efforts, she will certainly appreciate you telling her that she is mean and will die unloved.

4) Was a woman mean to you? 
Did she make you cry? Wow, no adult human has ever been through a breakup and it's very interesting. You should TOTALLY write about that at length in your profile.

5) While most women will not be interested in starring in your "giant-porn fetish" films, you really do need to continue to send random women links to your portfolio and ask if they want to star in your future works. 
I'm not being sarcastic at all - that shit is awesome.

6) Do you know what makes you not seem like a serial killer at all? Messages from a totally blank profile with no pictures.
You should also ask really weird questions about someone's profile, like "You work in marketing? I was always wondering - what's marketing?"

7) Nice guys don't have to say they are "nice guys."
They are also not rare, they are not unique, they are not hard find. NICE SHOULD BE DEFAULT people, you don't get awards for nice. I don't want to sleep with you because you are nice. I'm nice too (not really)! MAYBE WE ARE THE LAST TWO NICE PEOPLE ON EARTH, THANK GOD WE FOUND EACH OTHER.

8) Don't ask women which exotic fish they would be - if they were an exotic fish.
Lionfish, btw.

9) Hey, Portland guys. I don't know if you are sitting together in a room coming up with these together or not, but I've received like 3 of these all from mid-twenties Portland guys:

"If I owned a coffee shop I would ask for your number since you are dark and hot"
"If I owned a jewelry shop I would give you all of my attention since you shine"

Is this some sort of college assignment? Is this an MRA think tank? Please, get better at this.

10) I don't want to join your marriage.
Do you know how you can know that? Because I put it in my profile. Why did I feel the need to put it in my profile? Because apparently I have a face that says, "I would make a spicy addition to your marriage." Also, how come it's always the guy asking - never the wife? I'm calling bullshit.

11) Don't tell a feminist you want to "take her off the market." We really aren't commodities - it's not sweet, or quaint. It's creepy.

12) Don't ask a feminist if she's too busy "rock climbing and going to parties" to cook dinner for her boyfriend.
The answer is always fuck you.

13) It's an awesome idea to make a music video/commercial about yourself and how awesome your car is.

14) Have you tried sending a message yelling, "WOMAN - LOOK AT MY ART!"?
If you haven't, don't worry - there's a creepy old artist who already tried it and it doesn't work.

15) The following questions should not be answered honestly if you are an asshole:
"Do you think stupid people shouldn't procreate?"
"Do you think nuclear war would be exciting?"
"Do you think women are ever obligated to have sex with you?"
"Do you respect someone if they sleep with you on the first date?"
"Do you think gay people should be allowed to marry?"
"Do fat people make you angry?"
Actually, continue to answer these honestly - we need to know who you are so we can avoid you.

So, in closing let me say this: none of us are special. I'm not special, you aren't special. Don't have a gimmick - a set speech. Don't just dust crop the entire internet with "you're hot, let's fuck." You will get rejected a lot, and then you will be even more sad and angry. Try finding someone you might have something in common with and send a message saying, "hey, we have this in common". No matter how weird you are, no matter what you look like or do for a living or whatever crazy shit you do for fun - there is someone out there for you. Even if you are horrible - there are plenty of other horrible people out there for you. Find that horrible person. Good luck!