Manolo for the Big Girl Fashion, Lifestyle, and Humor for the Plus Sized Woman.

October 18, 2010

Retiring Crystal Renn

Filed under: Models — Miss Plumcake @ 10:44 am

Okay everyone, I’m retiring Crystal Renn.

This has nothing to do with her ability as a model.  As I’ve said time and again, she’s a wonderful model, probably talent-wise the best of the current crop of runway walkers.

But she’s a size 10.

There’s nothing wrong with being a size 10. She’s had a tough row to hoe body-image wise and if that’s where her body is happy then far be it from me to complain.

But she’s a size 10.

That’s not plus-sized, that’s not close to plus-sized and even though I am the biggest fashion industry apologist on the planet, I just can’t pretend that she counts as a plus-sized model in any meaningful sense and therefore she deserves no more and no less press or attention than any other model who doesn’t wear plus-size clothes.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m delighted to see a size 10 on the runway and I hope she stays relevant for years to come. She’s a smart girl, she makes interesting editorial choices and she knows how to play the semi-plus-size thing in her favor (witness yet another Paris Vogue photoshoot by Disgusting Pervert Hack Terry Richardson, wherein she’s orgasmically orally fixated on pasta.)

But she’s a size 10.

I’m a big proponent for variety and I’d rather see a size 10 model as a staple than a size 20 as a gimmick every few years, but the days of breathlessly reporting on her every move as a victory for fat girl kind –inasmuch as I ever have– are over, unless you tell me otherwise.

October 16, 2010

Random Bits of This and That

Darlings, I have spent the last couple of weeks recovering from my painful and painfully embarrassing back injury (I’m feeling much better now, BTW, and thanks to everyone for the good wishes), and it’s resulted in an oddly random approach to things. I’ve spent a lot of time lying on the couch or in my bed listening to my own brain and it’s… scattered.

I’ve decided to go with it and provide you with some links and random thoughts about stuff and leave you to sort through it all as best you can.

First off, check out this brilliant and awesome Riot Nrrd comic. And always remember what they say about assumptions.

Big Fat Blog has some interesting thoughts on weight loss maintenance, including links to a blog that supports weight loss, but is completely honest about the toll it can take.

If you read Letters to a Young Fat Girl: Lesson the First, and are looking for more support, go check out this touching post at The Rotund. Remember: it does get better, and you are not alone. And if you catch someone bullying someone else, DO SOMETHING. That last bit is from me.

I’ve been thinking about Halloween. I love Halloween. I love costumes and I love candy and I love the campy end of spooky stuff, and I even love The Monster Mash. My Halloween will probably consist mostly of handing out candy while watching a Hitchcock film. What about all of you?

And speaking of holidays, my thoughts have also included Thanksgiving. In fact I spent some of my time laid up poring over my lightest (in terms of their physical weight, not in terms of diet foods) cookbooks and plotting my ultimate Thanksgiving meal. Lo and behold, as I was doing this, the phone rang and Mr. Twistie and I were invited to spend the holiday with some good friends and their rottweilers.

We’re going. We’re going to have a great time. But it does bring up something about me: until quite recently I was terribly phobic about dogs. Any dogs. From teacup poodles to great danes, they freaked the sewage straight out of me. Then one day about five years ago, I decided I was going to get over this crippling phobia. I had no money for therapy, so I girded up my loins and started doing my best to interact with dogs one on one on my own.

It’s taken a long time and a lot of effort, but now I can talk merrily about visiting with rotts. In fact, one of them loves to sit on my lap. My only problem with it at this point is the fact that when she climbs up there, it feels like she’s going to break my knees.

Next I shall attempt to overcome my terror of heights. Or possibly fire. Or… yeah, yeah, I know. I’m a ball of phobias. Still, dogs are no longer immediate cause for panic attacks, and I call that pretty awesome.

October 15, 2010

Letters to a Young Fat Girl: Lesson the Fifth

Filed under: Be Super Fantastic — Miss Plumcake @ 10:00 am

A strong black woman trying to pass as a white southern belle

A group of gay men

A syndicated character written by The Manolo

A mousy girl’s alterego

Before I was outed as an actual living person who’s pretty much exactly what you read here, your Auntie Plumcake was accused of being all of these things, and more. The last thing anyone thought was the person writing about her life, loves, shoes and style was an actual person.

But let me tell you a secret: Years before I took my fruity name and before this blog was even a glimmer in The Manolo’s eye, I willed myself to become Miss Plumcake, and now I am. It illustrates today’s lesson:

People Buy What You Sell.

I wasn’t born especially stylish, I didn’t emerge out of Hubert Givenchy’s forehead a fully formed Glamazon. But when I was younger and realized I didn’t really like who I was, I decided to…adjust.  I didn’t fundamentally change who I was any more than adding ginger instead of cinnamon to an apple pie recipes changes the fact it’s an apple pie. And now, my beloved little brother who knows me better than anyone does (Hi little brother! Love you! Thanks for shaving your goatee and not looking like a homeless viking anymore!) says he loves reading my blog because I write just exactly as I talk.

This is different than the idea of “fake it ’til you make it” because it’s not about pretending you’re something you’re not.

It’s about honing the things you have inside you that you like, and graciously ignoring those things that perhaps you don’t love as much, like putting on a flattering outfit, except if you sell an idea long enough, eventually it becomes true and people will accept those things –confidence, beauty, sex appeal, brains– at face value.

So don’t lose hope. If you’re not exactly who you want to be at fifteen –and who is?– don’t change your nature, just rebrand a little. Even if it’s just a tiny glimmer of something inside you, you can fan that flame into a big bonfire of kickassity (is that a word? I don’t think that’s a word. BUT, if I kept using it, soon other people would use it too, and then it would be a word.  See? It works everywhere.) Good luck!

Gin and Tonics,

Auntie Plumcake

October 14, 2010

Letters to a Young Fat Girl: Lesson the Fourth

Filed under: Be Super Fantastic — Miss Plumcake @ 10:46 am

Don’t Give a Damn.

Do you know why I love hanging out with cranky old people? I like them because they have mastered the fine art of Not Giving a Damn.

The sooner you can learn to Not Give a Damn the better.

We are constantly bombarded about how we’re supposed to look and act and be and think and live and blah de blah blah blah. Especially since we’re already at fault for being fat and have to make it up to society somehow.

If you don’t have a filter, a little bitchy Giminy Cricket inside your head that says “Hang on, I’m not going to do that.” then you’re sunk. You’re just going to be battered by the waves of pop culture and consumerism until you look like everybody else and have absolutely no personality and you STILL won’t be happy because:

You will never ever be “good enough” in the eyes of popular culture.

Never? Never.

And that’s because people like to be right, and companies like to be rich.  I’ve got my opinions and I share them (for a price.) Companies have their products, and they’ll sell them (for a price.)  But no matter how much any of us insist your world won’t spin the way it ought unless you’ve done this or listened to that, you do not under any circumstances have to Give a Damn.

And I know what you’re thinking. “Yeah, but people already dislike me because I’m fat. Now they will hate me.”

No, they won’t. That’s the amazing thing. People will FLOCK to you, because if you Don’t Give a Damn –provided you’re still a decent human being and socially gracious (there are some people who Don’t Give a Damn but also are socially graceless: These people have no friends)– that signals power, and it’s in our gregarious nature to want to have the approval of powerful pack-members. Meanwhile, if you’re a groveling little thing that plays nicey-nice all the time, I have a theory that people will sense your weakness and insincerity and more often than not will look down on you. Which isn’t to say that you can NEVER give a damn — I bend over backwards for people I genuinely like to make happy, but it’s a choice, not a default position.

It’s difficult, especially since women are supposed to be Nice all the time, but Nice only has one place in my vocabulary, and that’s in Italy.* Be good, not nice. And if you’re not? I don’t give a damn.

Gin and Tonics,

Auntie Plumcake

*Before you pedants send me any more emails: this is a joke.

October 13, 2010

Letters to a Young Fat Girl: Lesson the Third

Filed under: Be Super Fantastic — Miss Plumcake @ 9:14 am

Don’t Sleep Around.

Okay, I know human sexuality stuff is fraught with peril and honestly I’m just some gal on the internet so you probably shouldn’t let me dictate your intimate interactions BUT I will say this:

Being the fat slut has been done and from what I understand it is really, really hard to rally from that.

At this point you’d probably expect some story ripped from the headlines of my own youth, but actually out of all the many, many questionable choices I made when I was too young to vote, none of them were sexually transmitted. I had a fantastic boyfriend who was my first proper kiss, we dated all through high school and although there was some hanky panky, we abstained.

And you know, I’m glad I did. I’m not saying you should –although you might give it some thought– but I avoided a pitfall a lot of girls, especially big girls, fall into: being easy.

It’s tough being a over-developed and precocious teenager. I looked 20 when I was 13. So do many of you. I had a big sexual appetite, and more importantly I loved the power having sex appeal gave me.  And let’s make no mistake: Sex appeal IS power.  So yes, Virginia, there IS a Santa Claus and if you let him look down your top he’ll probably give you what you want.

In the short term.

In the long term it’s like drinking sea water when you’re shipwrecked: an incredibly tempting and almost certainly fatal bad idea.

I know it’s nice to be wanted.

I know how great that power feels.

I know what a damn pleasant change it is to be accepted, even temporarily, by the type of guy who makes your life miserable when the sun is up and how tempting it is to say yes, especially because part of you wants to do it too.

Here’s something else I know: I know that girls who learn that sex is the only thing they have to offer a man don’t often end up in the sort of relationships they really want, and why would you do anything that would prevent you from getting what you want?

So be thoughtful about your sexual activity.  Not just about safer sex (although ALWAYS practice safer sex) but about what YOU want. What it means now, what it might mean in the future and whether it’s really, truly reflects who you want to be as a person.

Gin and Tonics,

Auntie Plumcake

October 12, 2010

Letters to a Young Fat Girl: Lesson the Second

Filed under: Be Super Fantastic — Miss Plumcake @ 9:55 am

Don’t be afraid to look stupid.

Picture it: Sicily, 1935.

Wait, I’m channeling, Sophia Petrillo again, hang on…

Picture it: Washington, D.C., 1993

A young Miss Plumcake starts her first day of high school. She is wearing a trop chic vintage mustard yellow cloche that belonged to her great grandmother and an aqua blue Adolfo boyfriend blazer with some seriously significant shoulderpad action. I believe there was also some sort of makeshift bustier involved, and it might have been gold lame, though I can’t quite be sure (I am quite sure I owned a gold lame bustier as a 13 year-old, because I remember buying and then hiding it.)

As you can tell, Miss Plumcake went for A Lot of Look.

Sitting down in my all-grades Spanish class an older boy took one look at me and said “You’re really brave to wear that. I mean it. Really brave.”

Which I guess I was.

Now he was probably making fun of me. I mean I was a chunky, less-than-conformist girl in a yellow suede cloche and possibly a bustier. That’s not really an ideal look for anyone.

Did I look awful? Probably.

Did my world end? No.

I did discover I looked fantastic in hats though, and although I don’t really wear vintage ones all that often anymore –it’s a little too costumey for my tastes now– taking that risk and looking stupid without the world collapsing around my ankles taught me that I could try anything.

So do it. Try anything. If you want to spend two months as a goth and then go straight to pin up girl, punk rocker, dandy, farm girl, whatever, do it. People will always talk about you, even if you’re the most perfect conformist little darling to ever shake a pom, so why not enjoy yourself?

But word to the wise: lame sometimes itches.

Gin and Tonics,

Auntie Plumcake

October 11, 2010

Letters to a Young Fat Girl: Lesson the First

Filed under: Be Super Fantastic — Miss Plumcake @ 12:00 pm

Lesson The First:

It gets better.

You’ve probably heard a lot about Dan Savage’s It Gets Better project.  Savage and his husband have established a project dedicated to giving hope to LGBT youth, many of whom are bullied, confused or depressed to the point –entirely too often to the point– of suicide.

It gets better for being a fat kid, too.

High school sucks. It just does. Even when it’s great it sucks, because being a teenager sucks and although you’ll look back with a sort of yearning once you’ve got car payments and rent and a stupid job in a stupid cube where your stupid cube neighbor WON’T STOP CRACKING HER GUM *CRACK CRACK CRACK* ALL DAY LONG OH MY GOD WHAT IS *WRONG* WITH YOU??? at how carefree your life was, don’t you believe it.

No one who has ever done or been anything close to interesting ever looked back on high school as their glory days.

I actually didn’t have a terrible time of it in high school. I had a wonderful boyfriend, got good grades, was relatively popular and talented and even was homecoming princess.  And still it sucked. The thing is, high school is like the first time you drive your borrowed luxury vehicle into a Mexican border town at midnight, drink the most rotted tequila this side of a paralytic worm, get violently sick all over your aformentioned luxury vehicle  –which you parked on the street–  and try to communicate with the incredibly amused townsfolk in VERY LOUD FRENCH when regular-volume French wasn’t meeting with the desired success. It’s awful, but you’ll have terrific stories to tell at cocktail parties and you can remind yourself in grim situations that things might be bad, but at least you’ll never have to go through THAT again.

You’ll graduate. You’ll probably go to college (but seriously consider taking a year off to travel first. I didn’t and I regret it in many ways) and soon the people you went to high school with who were the most important movers and shakers in your world will be little specks on your memory. The ones you’ll cyberstalk every five years or so to see they’ve gone gratifyingly bald or have ugly children.

The point is: Don’t give up hope.  Don’t think that what you’re going through now will mean anything in five, ten, fifteen years. It won’t. Unless you let it.

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