Wednesday, August 25, 2010

My Training Bra

When I was eleven, my mother bought me an apparatus called a 'training bra.' I was supposed to wear it next to my body under my blouse or t-shirt.

Now I had not developed yet, and had not as yet begun to experience the anxiety as to when or even if it would happen. Therefore, it seemed to be an unnecessary and uncomfortable garment, once the novelty and big-girl aspect of it wore off. I expressed resistance; and it required maternal firmness, I'm ashamed to say.

Soon I had more reason, and required a more serviceable bra. But, again, my assets until my high school graduation were rather modest. I got by.

I'll spare you the details, but now I have a reason to wear a bra. But I reflect on the concept of the training bra:

a) What do they receive training in?

b) Who evaluates this training in Tennessee?

c) Is the training program that they receive accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools?

d) What if it loses accreditation? Do I have to get another one for retraining?

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Stalking the Wild Northwestern Male

In my time out in the northwest here, I find that social subtleties are somewhat less refined; and there is a more direct approach to dealing with the age-old dilemma facing women of whatever age they might have: how to get the male of the species interested in you without being too forward about it. [I have heard that in Wyoming women actually set bow snares to trap men; but that might just be an idle rumor, something we're all good at.]

Hair-tossing and too-long stares don't seem to work on these guys who are not really tuned to nuances. (The only exceptions are those who are gay or Californian.) And the charming smile and the softly modulated come-hither voice move these brickheads not. But, fear not: the anscestors of our proto-western males managed to pair off and reproduce, largely due to the resourcefulness of western women who gave up the ways of the dissembling East and became more direct in their approach, themselves. After all, men who say "Yup" may make good mates.

Anyway, here are the techniques that seem to work.

1) The most effective way into a man's heart is through his stomach. And let it be guy food: no soufflés or salads. Ribs and hamburgers work wonders, especially if garnished with Cheetos and chili.

2) Invite hime over to watch a DVD. The prospect of watching Die Hard can serve as a mating ritual in Montana. No you can't have The Bridges of Madison County or American Beauty. Not yours.

3) Unless the Big Game is on. If so, ask to watch with him and his buds. And refrain both from asking too many questions or displaying too much knowledge of the sport as to be intimidating.

4) Discreetly omitting buttoning some buttons of your blouse. One or two for sure; three if you are desperate. Beyond that, concede it all as hopeless. A little boobage is a foolproof attention draw.

5) Lose some surplus dignity, and present yourself as fun, fun, fun. Even if it takes singing karaoke. Yes, Jessica; I'm afraid that's how it works. So you can't sing? The truth is, nobody sounds great in karaoke bars.

6) Learn about the natural history of the type of male you choose. Very clearly, the Cowboy, the Granola, the Eastern Transplant, the Californian Wannabee, the Small Town Businessman, and the Yokel have different things that move them. More fundamentally, choose a type well so as to not be disappointed.

7) Go into settings where they can be found. In gyms, athletic fields, rodeos, fern bars, roadhouses, even art galleries. Don't go into rooms of buildings labeled "Men."

8) Develop a taste for the art of Charles Russell.

9) Politics: lite, unless you're in Idaho. There, right-wing extremism rules! For the left-wing male habitat, check out Seattle.

10) Religion: vague. Referring to the Great Spirit usually gets you out of most thorny theological questions.

11) Fashion: Minimalist (bare), Western, jeans, turquoise jewelry

12) Dialect: American Western

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

The Truth About Friday the Thirteenth

This Friday is Friday the Thirteenth.

Wondering if what they say about Friday the Thirteenth is true or not, I decided to see out an expert. However, he did not lurk in the usual places: the Halls of Academe, government think tanks, in the stratospheric realms of corporations. Finally, acting on a tip from an informant and free-lance yogurt pusher, I found him.

It was a dimly-lit bar, in one of the seedier areas of Music City. The air was filled with smoke, and a desultory tune. This was clearly a place to be careful in! He was pointed out to me, sitting alone and nursing a Jack Daniel. Astonishingly, I found that the place was also a gay bar! And a setting that was inexcusibly furnished with bad furniture choices.

Clearly, I was nonplussed. As a card-carrying female, I immediately thought that someone had impishly routed me in here as a joke, but I thought I'd find out for sure. After all, sometimes sources are accurate.

I inquired; and this large black cat stood up, bowed courtly, and introduced himself as Belial. Was he the authority on Friday the Thirteenth?

After offering me a drink (which I, in the interests of objectivity, politely declined), I got to the issue: what's the story about Friday the Thirteenth, and is there anything to worry about. His answer, given with the soft, cultivated accent of the Old South, was soothing. There's nothing really to worry about particularly on this day. Bad things will happen; but they're just as likely to happen on other days as on the Thirteenth. He did say one thing of concern: People don't worry as much about the Twentieth as they should. However, he did offer solace with the suggestion that celebrating 4:20 was an effective talisman against unidentified evils. There were also stories linking the superstition regarding the number 13 to The Last Supper and to Good Friday. Anyway, some people don't even get out of bed on Friday the Thirteenth, just to be safe.

He did opine, however, that Friday the Thirteenth, because of the myth, is not a healthy day for a black cat to be going around. That's why he was hanging out in a Nashvillian gay bar.

Truly, I have never met a cat as charming.

By the way, next year we have Friday the Thirteenth in May.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

The Devushka Style

The Devushka (Девушка) style adopted by many young women in Ukraine (and those not so young) might be described as "hyper-feminine" in neutral terms or "neoslutty" in more judgmental ones. This is an edgy, sexy style that might bring out negative reactions in unfamiliar and insular Westerners, but especially people from Islamic countries who have more strict conceptions of proper female attire. In my opinion, it's rude and incorrect to conclude that she's immoral if she dresses Devushka: she just likes to show off her body. In the post-Soviet cultural landscape that is emerging in this decade, the old standards of dress and conduct are being challenged, and a more festive approach to life is emerging. To put it in another way, women are liberated from their socially-sanctioned roles as Heroine Worker or Tractor Driver or Party Official. The message is implicit: it's fun being a young woman, and I plan to enjoy it to the fullest.

What are the basic traits of the Devushka (Девушка) style?
First, there is greaer permissiveness as to what is proper: there is no such thing as clothing being too tight, too sheer, too low cut or too short.
Spiked heels is high couture: try to adopt those no greater in circumference than an icepick. Open-toed shoes, but preferably heels, is acceptable.
It is quite the mode to employ accents such as ruffles, flounces, bows, puffy sleeves and lace.
The distinction between day and evening wear is not recognized. Sequins, sparklies and rhinestones are just as appropriate standing in line at the aptek as they are at the most exclusive and toniest night clubs.
Bright, attention-drawing colors are preferred; and nyet to fibers that appear in nature. This is not a style for the nature-oriented set.
Foundation garments, if they must be worn, should be viewed as accessories. Thongs, if undergarments must be worn, are meant to be seen or at least hinted at.
Intriguing tees with non-sensical English phrases ("Punk It Up Rock Slacker," "Nuke the Whales"), coy witticisms ("Voulez-vous coucher avec moi ce soir"), or classic tees (the Rolling Stones tongue).
Hints of nipples are acceptable.
Some aspects of a similar style to this independently manifested itself in Southern California, where the warm, sunny weather merges with greater acceptance of hedonistic lifestyles. As yet, the cultural and linguistic barriers are still formidable, but not totally unbreachable. Presently some aspects of styles like the Devushka are seen in Southern urban areas like Nashville, but the old norm of separate daytime and evening wear persists. After all, one has to have a day job.
One important consequence of the Devushka (Девушка) style is that it minimizes the level of anxiety associated with the Walk of Shame. Now no one knows for sure. But, even better, people are left hanging in wonder.