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Miss Plumcake’s Rules for Sexual Health

Don’t Be Stupid.
Don’t Hurt Yourself.
Don’t Hurt Anyone Else More Than Necessary.
Get Yours. Repeatedly.

As much as I like poking fun at my own uh, poking fun, I don’t actually like to talk much about sex on this blog. One it’s a family show and I’m actually kind of a prude, but the whole subject is so fraught with fraughtness that it’s almost impossible to say something meaningful in 600 words which The University of the Internet tells me is about how many words I’ve got before you get distracted by your reflection in the toaster or start googling “Xabi Alonso Shirtless” for the 247th time that afternoon.

If you’re old enough to read, you’re old enough to know not to have unprotected sex outside of a committed relationship where both have you have tested clean, so that’s not the sort of stupid I’m talking about. What I mean is make sure you’re doing what –by which I mean who– you’re doing, for a not-stupid reason.

We’ve all done stupid stuff. The first professional soccer player I ever dated was a rebound guy carefully selected because he was Belgian and my first love –who now gratifyingly looks like Ooter from The Simpsons– was Dutch and hated the Belgians. I did that poor guy wrong and it still bothers me more than ten years later.

That was stupid.

Sleeping with a guy because you want to feel better about your body, your desirability, rebel against mommy or daddy or try to develop a relationship by injection so you won’t feel so alone? That’s even stupider.

It’s also self-destructive, which brings me to my second point. Don’t Hurt Yourself. You can’t, you CANNOT, screw your way to self-worth. If you could, there wouldn’t be strippers or therapists or strippers (I won’t say which I find more crazypants as a species, but I will say they don’t pay their rent in glitter-covered singles.) A big part of Not Treating Yourself Like Crap is not treating yourself like crap, and while I understand –boy do I understand– that mama needs to get herses, you gotta think about the long game. If what you really want is cookies, you can’t eat all the dough before they go in the oven. You’ll just end up sick, cookieless and probably in the hospital with salmonella.

Don’t hurt anyone else is almost as important as not hurting yourself, and for me, much more difficult. It takes discipline, and it’s a subtler art than not being self-destructive. It’s also more of a relationshipy thing, and thus it doesn’t really fit into the subject of sexual health, but seriously…don’t be a jerk.

Finally, Get Yours.

A good sense of your sexual self is the gift that keeps on giving, and no partner is required. Knowing what you like and what gets you where you need to go (and making sure you get there as often as you desire) is one of the best parts of being a grown up, with the bonus that if you know your body can make the earth move (for yourself and possibly a friend) it’s pretty hard to hate it.

It also saves you from a LOT of bad sex and there are few things worse on God’s green gumball than bad sex.

Okay gang, I’ve fixed the world and I’ve got some strawberries in balsamic waiting for me so I’m blowing this popsicle stand. Have a great weekend, don’t be stupid, don’t hurt anyone including yourself and get yours. Just don’t tell me about it. I said I was kind of a prude.

Thoughts on Capital F Fashion

I’ve been thinking a lot recently about the exclusivity of fashion and I’ve decided I just don’t buy it.

That being said, we ought to differentiate between Fashion and the Fashion Industry.

The mainstream fashion industry and media has its head so far up its own emaciated backside that it can use its own lungs as convenient and ergonomically sound in-flight neck pillows.  That’s not going to change any time soon, so take whatever good you can find from it as a pleasant surprise and leave the rest. My current scientifically bangin’ measurements are 53-361/2-54 and I cannot buy ready-to-wear from any major designer.  That is screwed up.  I have –albeit on a larger scale– pretty the exact same proportions as Marilyn Monroe, Sophia Loren and the Venus De frickin’  Milo.  If you can’t design clothes that look great on my figure *coughMiucciaPradacough* the problem? Is not with me.

But Fashion? Fashion is by no means the exclusive provenance of 15 year-old Eastern Bloc automatons with bones but no faces. Sure that may be what we see on the runways right now –although admittedly with the revival of the early 90’s looks, we’re getting a bit more diversity of look on the catwalk– but after poring through thousands of editorial fashion images this weekend, particularly from the How to be a F**king Lady tumblr stream which is beyond fabulous I’ve decided one thing:

When you create something unusual, maybe even shocking, put it on your body and  sell it so hard that it becomes fabulous by sheer force of will, THAT is Capital F Fashion. It doesn’t belong to the thin or tall or blonde or rich or whatever actress has a new movie coming out. It belongs to anyone with courage and courage doesn’t give a damn about measurements.

Which isn’t to say there’s anything wrong with wanting to be pretty, but good Fashion –like all good art– is challenging and challenging ain’t always pretty.

So take this as a call to arms.

If we want to do Fashion, we can do Fashion. In fact, as big girls, we might actually even have a natural advantage because we command more attention with our physical presence. After all, there’s a reason Cadillacs are in parades but those little SmartCars aren’t. BE the Cadillac, girls and go commit some Fashion.

A Lesson in Trends: Over-sized Sunglasses

I was a little surprised to find such shock and awe over the idea that over-sized sunglasses are in bad taste the other day and I thought it might be a good opportunity to talk about the lifespan of a trend.

If you go for a trend you mark yourself as trendy. That’s fine, but trendy has a shelf life and you’d be wise to know when to jump off that band wagon before it drives itself into gas station and dollar store wasteland.

Let’s talk about over-sized sunglasses. The trend? She is over.

I have three problems with oversized sunglasses.  Four if you include they look dumb.

First and foremost they are played. out.

Way played out.

Way WAY played out, and have been for a good couple of years now.  They were fresh-looking in 2004 and stayed more or less on the right side of gauche (see what I did there?) until late 2007. It had a standard three year trend run. Fine and respectable. And I’m sure they’ll come back again in say, 2025 so if you bought an expensive pair, keep ’em somewhere.

However:

It is now 2010.

The industry-standard two year trickle down grace period is well over. It’s time to put ’em away.

Generally speaking, if you can buy a trend at the dollar store or a gas station, then chances are that particular trend has officially become saturated and is now followed only by People Who Don’t Know.

You are not People Who Don’t Know.

The other thing about big sunglasses is this:

They’re not glamorous.

They’re not going to make you glamorous or mysterious or interesting if you’re not glamorous or mysterious or interesting already, and if you ARE glamorous or mysterious or interesting already, you probably already know better than to make that sort of rookie mistake.  (For further reference please see fig. 142a in your texts, tit., Mathematical Odds of Women in Shirts Spelling “Classy” in Rhinestones Actually Being Classy.)

Also: You’re Not Famous (probably)

Most of us aren’t famous.  I’m the level of famous where I get recognized for who I actually am maaaaybe  once a month, and then get the “Hey! You’re! Uh! Somebody!” about every other week (we will not speak of the dark days as a 20 year-old big girl in our Nation’s Capital where I was constantly mistaken for Monica Lewinsky) and yet somehow I manage to avoid the papparazzi glare on a regular basis.

I’m not Jackie Onassis and this isn’t 1974.  I can get away with regular sized sunglasses. I’m pretty sure you can, to0.

The thing about a trend is you’ve got to know when to let go.  I’m not talking about the hyper-militant Fashionistas who wouldn’t be caught DEAD wearing last year’s Balmain military jackets. That’s dumb, but a good rule is if you’re playing the same card now that you were three years ago without a significant tweak in a modern direction then maybe you want to go ahead and give yourself a little revamp.

Hope this helps! Ask questions in the comments field

Five Great Lessons from Finishing School: Pt 2 Merci Mercy Me (ugh)

“Thank you.”

“Oh thank you! You’ve just made my day!”

“Stop, stop.  I couldn’t listen to more than another hour of this.”

“Well, one tries.”

“You’re too kind.”

“Can you write that down? I want to send it to my mother.”

“Aren’t you the sweetest thing?”

“Well, a girl’s gotta have a hobby.

Those are just some of my tried-and-true ways of accepting a compliment, today’s finishing school lesson.  For some reason we are just not taught how to respond graciously to a compliment.

It

drives

me

INSANE.

I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve told a girlfriend she looked fantastic only to have her automatically touch her hair or make a face and respond “No, I look awful.”

It takes all my generations of breeding and counting to ten not to snatch her bald and say “Listen, I’ve got better taste than you do. I’ve ALWAYS had better taste than you do,  so when I say you look nice, shut up and say ‘thank you’ because people pay me a LOT of money for my approval and it doesn’t come easily.”

And while I understand women are conditioned to deflect any compliment because GOD FORBID a woman think highly of herself (or worse, actually be BETTER than someone else) denying a honestly-paid compliment is one thing and one thing only:

Rude.

Okay two things: rude and stupid.

Wait, three:  rude and stupid and annoying.

When you fail to accept a compliment graciously, it’s an insult to the person who paid it.

You wouldn’t go up to someone and say “Hi, you know your favorite green cardigan? It’s awful. Seriously. It looks like a tennis ball sexually assaulted your grandma.”  (well, I’d say that, but you all are nicer than I am) because obviously they LIKE the sweater and you don’t just go up to people and tell them they have bad taste, even if they really really deserve it.

This is doubly true in states with concealed handgun laws.

See, it doesn’t matter whether you believe the compliment or not. If someone says you have a lovely singing voice and you say you sound like a frog, what you’re telling this person is they have bad taste in music.

Rude.

So, next time, instead of making an ass of yourself, make  A ASS of yourself:

Acknowledge – body language, a nodded head or a hand to the chest (preferably your chest) conveying you heard what they said and it’s touched you.

Accept – the actual words you use, “Thank you” is a good start. Keep it brief.

Smile – a smile lets them know they’ve made you happy, even if you don’t believe them

Shut up – Don’t devalue the compliment or try to repay it. You don’t want them to feel like they were fishing for a compliment of their own.

That’s it.

Feel free to use some of my favorites, but you’ll want to be careful with using humor at first since it’s so easy to be self-deprecating. Do your best to just say “Thank you” until you feel more comfortable.

Good luck!

There’s No Crying in Baseball!

From Why I Hate Fashion by Tanya Gold

“But I got so fat that even fashion wouldn’t pretend it could fix me. You can get so fat they don’t actually want you in their clothes. It is bad marketing; if very fat people wear their clothes, thinner ­people won’t buy them. There was no point rattling through the rails any more, seeking a satin redemption – nothing would fit my unfashionable bulk. I was ­consigned to M&S smock-land, across the River Styx. And it is lovely here; no heels, no stupid dresses-of-the-moment, certainly no thongs. Fashion has died for me, with an angry little hiss. Ah, peace.”

Okay, it’s time for Miss Plumcake to give an Important Life Lesson to all you budding writers out there, so take heed because I’m only going to say this once:

Don’t

be

pathetic.

Seriously, just don’t. The one exception is if you’re funny. Really funny. Funny to the point of inspiring incontinence, and not just in old people on cold days, because you know how they like to dribble. Then SOMETIMES you can get away with it, but even then, it’s better to err on the side of NOT sounding like you own fourteen cats and have an impressive collection of cobwebs in your lady garden. See,  professional media is not myspace, you’re not a 14 year old girl and no one gives a patent leather damn about your speshul speshul poignant pain.

Oh, uh, too harsh?

Let me explain.

I don’t care that this lady has decided fashion is eeeevil. I really don’t. I don’t care that she blames the accidental death of a sixteen year-old on her high heels –heels I’m sure Anna Wintour personally FORCED onto her feet because surely a young woman can’t make her own informed decisions– instead of just marking it up to a sad accident. I don’t care that she calls the models who appear in fashmags “anorexic children” because apparently it’s okay to judge people’s bodies when SHE’S doing the judging. I don’t care about any of that.

What I care about is crying in baseball.

You know how there is no crying in baseball? Well, I come from the newspaper biz and let me tell you, there’s no crying in journalism, either, and there’s ESPECIALLY no airing of your own depression/anxiety/unresolved abandonment issues from that one time in 1987 your dad missed your ballet recital.

Do you know how you deal with that when you’re a REAL journalist? Alcoholism and failed relationships, that’s how. None of this namby pamby moaning on the internet under the guise of journalism. No, it’s cirrhosis and child support and eyebags so big they’re being knocked-off in Chinatown, THE WAY THE LORD INTENDED IT.

I don’t even have the energy to talk about the problems with the bulk of her emo screed article, like how just because SHE doesn’t like something doesn’t make it evil (as opposed to when I don’t like something, because, to quote Lady Beauchamp: “I’m right because I’m always right and anyone who says I’m wrong is mad and wicked.”) and that for propagating the stereotype that big women are happier wearing tent dresses and shunning fashion she deserves to be taken behind the woodshed and beaten soundly by a pair of size 42 Christian Louboutin peep-toe glitter pumps (which you may then send to me) until she realizes that being frumpy is not the same as being superior, and caring about fashion is not the same as being owned by it.
ooooh sparkly
Fashion isn’t going to make you beautiful any more than eschewing it is going to make you interesting, ducklings. Remember that, and will someone please fix me a cocktail? Mama’s feeling a little piqued.

How To: Cure a Hangover

Okay, you’re hungover. You had too much to drink or the champagne didn’t agree with you (champers hangovers are the very worst) or who knows WHAT’s wrong, but right now you’ve got the remaining wild population of Northern White Rhinos doing the opening number from A Chorus Line in your head and you would REALLY REALLY like it to stop before either you or they become extinct.

If you were smart, you took an aspirin and drank a big glass of water before bed, but if you’d done that, you’d probably not be hung now, so tuck that away for next time and keep reading.

There are all sorts of magical, mystical ways of “curing” hangovers: raw eggs, hair of the dog, menudo (though how a bunch of hairless closet-cases are going to cure a hangover I have no idea) but they’re all pretty much nonsense.

To cure a hangover (or almost any headache) you will need:

bc powdercoke

Really. That’s it.  And drink some water when you’re done.

I discovered this years ago at a Rose Tea held by the Daughters of The King when one of the doyennes bemoaned the loss of her “Beecee’s breakfast” as it was the only thing she missed from her “drinkin’ days.”  Now, in the South one does NOT question a Daughter, particularly not on the subjects of etiquette or drinking as they have developed both into art forms.  If you cross a Daughter you might as well sell your silver, move North and become a Unitarian. (I am sure there are very nice Yankee Unitarians out there, and someday I will teach you how to make pimento cheese the way the Lord intended and you can teach me how to …do whatever it is your people do. Order from LL Bean? Shovel snow? Give me a clue here.)

Anyway, you pour a little packet of powder on your tongue –Goody’s also works, or I guess you could crush up an aspirin or Excedrin– and wash (I feel like I should say “warsh”, but I just can’t) it down with your cold-as-you-can-stand-it Co’Cola.  You’ll see that the picture says Mexican Coca-Cola, and that truly is the ideal. It’s made with cane and not high-fructose corn syrup and is infinitely superior in every conceivable way to the stuff we get stateside.

Obviously if you live in Texas or California or any place with a large Mexican population, this is dead easy to find, but if you’re further north I’ve heard you can buy it at Jewish delis and markets, marked “Kosher for Passover” although it might not be available year ’round.

If you positively cannot get Mexican Coke, go for the red can. The plastic bottle doesn’t get cold enough and the diet ones don’t work (plus they’re gross).

All Walks (kinda)

I shamelessly stole this from Style Spy because

a) it’s awesome

b) I’m about to go on vacation so I’m not even trying to come up with my own material.

All Walks Beyond the Catwalk from ALL WALKS BEYOND THE CATWALK on Vimeo.

On one hand, YAY! On the other, uh, not to look a gift cat in the mouth, but is this really all walks?

Because it kinda looks to me like it’s “mostly the same walk, but some have bigger shoes and oh there’s a black girl too“.

It’s like you can have ONE thing working “against” you: you can be plus-size if you’re tall and young and gorgeous. You can be black as long as you’ve got processed hair and fit all other standard model requirements. You can be old as long as you’ve got the bone structure of a patrician flamingo. And you can be tall if you’re…well, you kinda have to be tall.

Don’t get me wrong, I still really like this video and the concept behind it.

Maybe they didn’t include women who are more than just a hair out of the mainstream because they didn’t want to seem like it was a gimmick.

I mean Jackie Robinson was a great ball player, but he wasn’t the best the Negro Leagues had to offer by a long shot, but the reason you know Jackie Robinson instead of Ray Dandridge –widely considered one of the best ever to have played the game– is that Mr Robinson was far more palatable to white working class America than Mr Dandridge. Maybe they wanted to make sure the women were still palatable enough for fashion consumption: thus the being tall and beautiful and mostly slender.

Clothes as they’re designed now look better on tall women and on thin women.

They just do. Being tall means you can carry off a lot of stuff short chicks can’t, and that’s just the way it is (you pocket people get all the men, so let the tall girls have this one) but just because tall girls have an easier time of things doesn’t mean designers should be expected to design only for tall women. But they do.

I believe the average fit model is about 5’9″ which is fine for me, I’m just an inch taller, but the average American woman is just under 5’4″ oh, and petite models? Generally between 5’6″ – 5’8″.

So should we be glad that in an industry so totally skewed and screwed that designers are getting and embracing SOME change and take what we can get or do the All Walks people get a “close, but no style cigar”?

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