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Manolo for the Big Girl | Archive | September, 2010
Archive - September, 2010

A Very Bad Shoe

So you know how some people like to spread goodness and light wherever they go, and if they had say, an opportunity to reach thousands and thousands people on a regular basis they’d use that influence to do something good and noble like raising money for clean water in southern Malawi?

Yeah, I’m totally not one of those.

But I DO make up for it by bringing you the ugliest shoes on the internet to compete for the highly coveted (in my head) Ferby Gallini Uggo Shooz award, named for two friends whose hearts are as big as their shoes are seizure-inducing, and I’ve got a good one for you:

Let’s just bask in their tragic magnificence shall we?

Because this? Is a lot of stuff happening on a shoe.

We have poison green suede, which in loafer or even pump form I could get behind. There is a dramatic kitten heel. There are not one, not two, but THREE count ’em THREE bands of crochet work in clashing colors AND there’s green snakeskin detail on the cuff and zipper.

My question isn’t why so much, but why isn’t there more? Whither the rhinestones? The studs? Would a smattering of purple fringed tassels have killed you? Sure you bring the ugly, J.J., but do you bring ENOUGH?

(also, anyone who thinks I’m not a sweet girl who loves her readers should note that I was totally ready to make a Stevie Nicks joke, but I know how you cat people are with your Stevie Nicks and your broomstick skirts and useless liberal arts degrees and I’ve put your through enough already, so I’m not. EVEN THOUGH I WANTED TO.)

Letters (okay, one letter) from the front

Friends,  I had kind of a sucky weekend. You know, the type where you sit in the dark listening to The Smiths longer than is probably strictly healthy and you’re fairly sure you’ll never be happy again and it’s just gonna be you and Mozzer sitting in a room together staring at each other until one of you actually dies from misanthropy.  You guys do that too, right? Right?

Usually when I have a sucky weekend, I don’t check my email because 99% of it comes from PR reps who are trying to convince to care about a whole lot of things I don’t even know about (What is a Jwow?) and your normal spam of Nigerian princes in seek of bank information and Ukrainian girls bending over and frankly I’m too delicate a petal to deal with that even when I’m feeling my normal chipper self. I definitely can’t hang when Truffaut films are speaking to me on any emotional level.

So it was with fear and trembling I opened an email from Beloved Reader Kylie.  I’m going to reprint it here in its entirety:

I wanted to share something that I think the plus-sized community needs to hear:

I have been plus sized since I was about 14 years old and NOT ONCE that I can remember has anyone so much as said ANYTHING negative about me pertaining to my size.  Boys have always been attracted me, girls have always been nice to me and my friends and family have always totally supportive of me in every way.  I have had my own self-esteem battles as anyone does, regardless of their size, but I have found I have more self-confidence in my appearance than my skinnier friends.  I decided long ago that whatever size I was (currently a 22/24) that I would do my hardest to not only love and accept myself for exactly who I am, but to be a confident woman who dresses and carries herself in the same way that any slender girl would, and I truly believe that this mindset has made all the difference for me.

My boyfriend of three years absolutely adores my Entire being and body completely.

Almost everyone I know has positively commented on the way that I look, and not only just my outfits.

No one has ever made me feel bad about myself in any way, shape or form and I have a feeling that I am in the minority in this, and on one hand it makes me feel sad that other curvy girls out there have had more difficulties with their size and how people react to them, but on the other hand, I feel completely blessed.  I have never been treated with anything but respect and kindness and I wanted to let people know that being a larger woman does not always mean that you have to fight adversity because I have never had any adversity to face.

I truly hope that I am not the only plus-sized woman out there who has had this experience, and I hope that I will hear that others too have been supported and loved for every inch and pound of themselves exactly for who they are and how they look just as I have.

Sincerely,

Kylie

This is something I’ve struggled with because my experiences generally have matched Kylie’s. I won’t say I’ve never been made to feel bad, but it has been extremely rare. What I HAVE experienced, however, is other girls who haven’t been as fortunate as Kylie and I, who try to convince me that in fact, I HAVE been treated as badly as they have but I’m not noticing it (and thus the inference that people are laughing at me and I’m too stupid to get the joke). This is particularly true of girls who once were fat and no longer are.

Now, I’m going to be intellectually honest and say that it is a possibility that despite being hyperaware of how people perceive me and borderline obsessed with the image I present and how it’s received, that in my thirty-one years of life I have been completely oblivious to all but a very few examples of the ugly, hateful and all-pervasive anti-fat bias at play around me.

But honestly I don’t think that’s what it is, and I’m so, SO glad to hear from Kylie because now I know although I might be in the minority, at least it’s not a minority of one.

Have people made fun of me because of my size? Sure, probably. Who cares? Have guys that I’ve thought were cute not been attracted to me (as unfathomable as that is) because of my size? Quite possibly. But you know, them’s the breaks. If some guy isn’t attracted to me because I’m fat that’s not any worse or more offensive than me not being attracted to him because he’s got spindly legs.

It’s preference, not persecution.

I think we create more problems for ourselves when we project our own insecurities onto other people’s actions (yeah I know, novel idea, right?) so when a woman who once was fat and insecure becomes less fat and less insecure, all of the sudden people who our girl felt were giving meaningful glares when she ordered the pasta instead of the side salad are now just people in a restaurant whom she may or may not notice.

If some passing girl gives me the stinkeye because I’m fat, who cares?

Lord knows I wouldn’t leave the house looking like 75% of the women I see for one reason or another. It doesn’t mean anything. I’m not going to treat them like less of  a person, I’m just going to hate their shoes. And honestly, that’s fine. I don’t need to like them and they don’t need to like me. It’s not like after the random disapproving girl rings up my groceries we’re going to go home, French braid eachother’s hair, have a slow motion bra-and-panties tickle fight and practice making out.   She’s going to ring up my criminally overpriced olive bar purchase and we’ll move on with our collective lives. C’est tout.

I’d like to hear from both sides of the aisle on this one. Has your experience been more like Kylie’s or less?

Twistie’s Sunday Caption Madness: The Clifford, is That You? Edition

Yo, caption fans! It’s time once again to play Twistie’s Sunday Caption Madness.

You all know how this works. I post a picture that’s simply expiring for a good caption. You provide said captions via the comments function. Next week I declare a winner and… that’s pretty much it, but it’s fun.

This week’s image comes to you from the is that a dog or a pony? file and looks a little like this:

Ready… set… snark!

Maybe They Have Bat Ears

There’s a nice coffee house about two blocks from my house. It’s a pleasant, relaxed place to get a good cup of coffee or tea and a decent snack (everything from dainty madelines to hearty sandwiches, and an all-you-can-eat buffet on friday nights). Several clubs and organizations meet there regularly to discuss things like organic gardening, knitting, etc. In short, it’s a great neighborhood hangout.

They also have live music. Last night, the act on the bill was Oak Ash and Thorn. I’ll give you a moment to go check out their website. Don’t worry, I’ll be here when you get back.

Familiar with the concept, now? Good. And for those who didn’t check the website, all you really need to know is that this is three guys who sing English folk songs (mostly about beer) a cappella. The only instrument they have with them on stage is a soprano recorder much like this:
which they use more or less as a pitch pipe.

There was a sound system, yes. Three microphones, one for each member of the band, but they were only turned up high enough that the songs could be heard in the back row of a room that holds, maybe a hundred people when it’s crowded. It was low enough that if you were in the way back of the other room ordering a coffee, you could hear that there was music but the words weren’t clear.

And yet someone called the cops because of the noise.

Seriously?

When Mr. Twistie’s rock band played there two months ago – and four months ago – nobody called the cops. That’s for a four man electric rock band with a pretty darn loud sound system.

Nobody called a few weeks ago when Avalon Rising (five members, much louder sound system, electric guitar and bass) was there playing their special brand of souped-up Celtoid music mixed with Jethro Tull covers.

But we were there when the police arrived because Oak Ash and Thorn singing The Wind and the Rain from Twelfth Night were too loud.

The mind boggles.

That is all.

Oh, except for this: support your local music venue! Good live music is not a nuisance.

In Praise of Men, Again.

It was interesting to read the comments to yesterday’s post because I think what many of my beloved readers picked up was not what I was intentionally putting down.

I’m not going to tell you how to Get The Guy.

First of all,  I don’t KNOW how to get the guy. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve got a fantastic guy but I fell backwards into it, just as I do into most of my relationships and frankly, though my relationships are usually full of fabulous prizes and exotic men, I wouldn’t exactly say they’ve been entirely successful.

That wasn’t the point of yesterday’s post –which was really just an appreciation of men– and it’s not something I could do even if I tried. Although if I did try it would probably go something like this:

1)Be interested.
2)Be interesting.
3)Don’t be psycho.
4)If you are psycho,  at least have great tits.

That’s all I got.

But honestly it wasn’t about how to meet a man, although I can see how it might read that way. It was about not perpetuating these bogus gender wars that make men the enemy and our lives more complicated than they need to be.

When I used to watch television I would get so riled because almost every commercial and sitcom would feature a smart, sassy wife and a dopey, oafish husband. What is wrong with us that we think men are these stupid creatures? I mean there are plenty of stupid men out there, I nearly hit one with my car today (THERE IS NO EXCUSE FOR FRONT PLEATS, OKAY?) , but there are just as many stupid women.

The point I was trying to make, not very effectively, is that men are great as a species, not just as potential objects of desire and it’s a lot easier to have a good time in life if you don’t view them as the enemy or a bunch of dopes who automatically judge you in the negative for being fat.

More Important Than Lipstick

Today I was going to write about something incredibly important: Namely, I found a really fantastic long-wearing neutral-but-better lip color for cheap yesterday and I want to shout my love for it over the reverberate hills. However, today the base color is pilling a little bit (I think I would’ve preferred a gloss to a balm as the top coat) and I’ve got something even nearer and dearer to my heart than functional and affordable cosmetics.

Men.

DAMN I love men.

I mean sure, individually they can be problematic and loathsome, but generally speaking I like guys.

Now let’s not pretend I’m breaking new ground, or have a single thing figured out about relationships that’s going to make your life better. I’m not and I don’t, but I do like men and I think it’s a damn shame there are so many barriers we put up, especially as big girls, that –although we probably come by them honestly– put us in an adversarial relationship with men at, uh, large.

Because men? Are kinda great.

First of all, you can sleep with them. I really feel this can’t be overstated. You certainly don’t have to sleep with them (ever!) and plenty of women don’t, but it’s a nice option to have. Plus they’re not women. Now don’t get me wrong, I think women are fab. Some of my best friends are women, many of whom were born that way, and yet there’s something to be said for the whole la différence thing that’s been vive-ing for years in France and although the idea of dating a French man ever EVER again takes me from zero-to-fetal position in under six seconds, (and frankly I already have a Birkin, so I don’t need to!) they’ve got a point.

And the reciprocal side is: Men love me too.

Yes, even though I’m fat, opinionated, and crazy as a a hamster in a g-string a good 40-50% of my waking life, they still love me.

You may think I’ve got some special potent allure. Hell no. I assure you, I’m a pretty enough girl but I’ve got all special potent allure of a decomposing ferret. Men like me for two reasons (no, not those two reasons, although thank YOU Lane Bryant plunge bra): I like myself and I like them.

That’s it. No special allure, no seven simple tricks. I got nothin’ but a loud mouth, a flawless rack and a great appreciation for men –even the ones I don’t want to see naked– and myself.

And let’s talk about the guys we don’t want to sleep with. The guys at work, our guy friends, because unless you’re the reincarnation of Blanche Devereaux, odds are the vast majority of the men you meet will fall into this category.

It’s important to like these guys too. Or heck, maybe it isn’t important, but it makes life a lot more fun if you can flirt shamelessly and harmlessly with these fellas instead of becoming “One of the Boys” (ASK ME how much I hate that term. You do not have to give up your gender identity to have male friends. I promise.) or living in an Us vs Them dichotomy of grimness, pink books and cats.

And then there are the guys we DO want to sleep with.

I worry about my big sisters who say they want to date but haven’t been out with a man in X years.

Sure there are guys who are dicks out there, especially if you’re fat. But you don’t want to waste your time with them anyway so it’s no loss.

However, there are also a ton of great guys out there and a lot more of them than maybe you’d think are perfectly happy to go out with bigger women. I get asked out on dates all the time (sometimes even by guys who are neither drunk nor homeless!) and as I said before, I assure you I have no special man-trapping qualities, I’m not a bad lookin’ gal but no one’s going to confuse me with Carmen Dell’orefice any time soon. The best I can figure is they keep coming because they want to buy what I’m selling, and they want it because I believe and more importantly project what I’ve got going on –and I’m talking the whole package, body, brains, crazy and all– isn’t just worth having, it’s worth getting on all fours and begging for.

What do you all think about the “gender wars”, men and big girls, men as friends in general and the whole shebang?

Patterned Tights!

Okay, so we all know and love We Love Colors for our colored tights needs because they have awesome plus-size tights that actually are plus-size. Their EE fits women that are 5’5″ – 6’0″ and 320 – 375 lbs. BUT a girl cannot live in pumpkin-colored tights alone, which is why I am So. Freakin. PSYCHED about the Avenue releasing a whole slew of patterned tights at an incredible price point for the quality.

Patterned tights are a great way to transition from daywear to datewear (yeah, I hate myself for saying that, but it’s true) and add just enough downtown cool so you look put together and polished, but not stuffy or like you should be behind the counter at Macy’s telling me about my gift with any $25 Estee Lauder purchase.


And I’ve gotta tell you, I’m also kind of psyched because it’ll let me get away without buying a ton of new dresses.

As you know, Miss Plumcake keeps a very tight rein on her wardrobe, but I’ve got several pieces that have seen their seven years of service and are being set out to pasture this fall, making my wardrobe that much smaller.

A fab pair of patterned tights is an excellent way to dress up a relatively conservative dress and create a new look from a capsule wardrobe. Since the visual focus will be on the tights, not the dress, if you find yourself traveling and only being able to take one or two dresses with you, this can save you a world of heartache by creating new looks with a minimum of pieces (also try to find a dress you can wear back-to-front).

Plus, and I’m just putting this out here. I got short legs.

Yep, although I’m tall like giant, I don’t suffer from an overelongation of pins and these vertical stripes? Make my legs go on for MILES (or kilometers, depending on where you’re reading this and where my legs happen to be at the time).

(how cute would these be on a dress that’s just a teensy bit too short to rock  without legwear, so the lace peeks out a bit?)

Remember, when wearing patterned tights, ideally you want to go for a closed-toe shoe unless you KNOW you know what you’re doing.

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