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The Big Question: Is That Old Spice? Edition

I am, to the unending groan of both my bank account and my bureau, a confirmed fragrance snob. I have literally driven through a Texas snow storm (which surprisingly involved actual snow and not someone doing cocaine off a piece of Larry Hagman memorabilia) to wend my way to Barney’s New York in Dallas, the only place in Texas where one can get hopped up on my particularly favorite varietals of frog juice, Serge Lutens and Frederic Malle. I love high-concept, challenging scents. Tell me something smells “pretty, like clean flowers” and I’m asleep before you’ve finished the sentence. Tell me it smells like someone left an angry carnation in a Brazilian mortuary and I’m throwing cash at you like you were the last stripper in Chiang Mai.

But as I mentioned last week and Twistie chatted about over the weekend, scent is a funny old dog. It’s a rubber band that irrevocably snaps us back to times, places and people, high-concept mortuaries be damned.

A spritz of the perverse  “Jasmin et Cigarettes” from L’etat Libre de Orange sends me right back to Andre’s place in Times Square the night he proposed, the dizzying powder green icicle of Frederic Malle’s “Iris Poudre” has me driving cross country in the famously bleak midwinter somethingorother, using my fur coat as a blanket while I caught 20 minutes sleep in the parking lot of a Denny’s and I cannot even dab on Serge Lutens’ “Bois et Musc” without bringing back some Very Good Times Indeed involving, well…absolutely nothing I feel like sharing at the moment.

On the slightly more prosaic tip, I famously first loved gin because it reminded me of being hugged by my grandmother (who, btw has done nothing but drink Tanq and smoke Benson and Hedges for the past 50 years and is going to outlive everyone but Keith Richards) and when I left the newspaper one of the saddest parts was knowing I wouldn’t get to smell that delicious, delicious ink.

And then there are the boys.

My first boyfriend covered himself in Avon’s “Wild Country” with the sort of reckless abandon usually reserved for rutting disco elks, any number of my euroflings took Chanel’s Allure pour Homme in the way virgin statues take on milk and my current sweet baboo (P to the S: it’s very difficult to explain what a Sweet Baboo is to someone who didn’t grow up with Peanuts cartoons. He thought I was calling him a festively-buttocked monkey. I’m not saying he is and I’m not saying he ain’t, but it wasn’t what I was calling him at that moment) has a scent all his own that’s slightly reminiscent of Bulgari “Black” but is probably some sort of artist’s compound that’ll give both of us tails and cancer and maybe even split ends.

Last week I shared with you the heartbreak of having a lingering affection for a now-discontinued species of Axe Body Spray and many of you chimed in with the embarrassing favorites from your past. Today I’d like to make it an official Big Question.

Today Miss Plumcake wants to know:

What scent screams “first love” to you? If you’ve got an embarrassing scent story, I want to hear it! Put it in the comments and hold your nose!

Flat Month: Cole Haan Air Tali Mary Jane

The Cole Haan Air Tali Mary Jane

A Little Respect

If I’ve done my job, I’ve just given you a wicked Erasure earworm. For that you are welcome.

I may not be the smartest, or the nicest, or the prettiest girl in the room but I’m almost always the best dressed. Okay, I’m also almost always the smartest, nicest and prettiest too, but that’s because I spend a lot of time alone. Plus people find my modesty appealing.

You’re probably expecting me to bang on and on about how important it is to look your best at all times and don’t leave the house without full on pageant hair and makeup (butt paste and Vaseline optional) but I’m not going to. I actually don’t care about that. What I care about is respect.

Show of hands, back in college, how many of us every went to class in our jimjams or some jimjam-adjacent body covering? I never went the full pajama route, but I’m fairly sure I went to a botany lab in black slippers once. It’s a rite of passage, like your first Communion or flashing your first cab driver when you realize you didn’t have enough cash for a tip.

The thing is, that stuff doesn’t fly in the real world.

It’s not okay to leave the house in your pajamas unless you’re on the way to the emergency room. It’s disrespectful to the people around you and more importantly it’s disrespectful to yourself.

When I see a big girl wandering about in her pajamas, I automatically think “oh look, another sad fat girl who’s given up.”

Is it fair? Maybe not, but it’s accurate more times than not.

And I know, I know I’m going to get 800 comments from righteously indignant moms who Don’t Have Time to put on a pair of pants as they take little Madison and Mackenzie to their seventy-third holistic water polo lesson of the week. Yes, you do. I have taken off and put on all sorts of clothes in all sorts of locations, often in the dark and ALWAYS in a rush. You’re not proofing the Oppenheimer experiment, you’re throwing on a pair of cargo shorts because if you’re old enough to get knocked up on purpose, you’re old enough to leave the Makin’ Bacon’ novelty jammies at home. Or in the fire. Probably fire.

Fat Jokes

I don’t tell fat jokes, at least I don’t THINK I tell fat jokes.

In the spirit of full disclosure, I’m not so good at remembering things. One time someone passed around some quotes from an article about…well, of course I can’t remember, Iggy Pop maybe? Reinforced heel stocking? It’s anyone’s guess really, but I was all “yeah! This dude knows what he’s talking about!” and started feeling slightly better about The State of Music Criticism Today only to find out I’d actually written it about three years earlier. Ah, the NyQuil years. Good times.

Anyway, I guess my problems with fat jokes is that there aren’t really very many new or interesting takes. Which isn’t to say I wouldn’t make jokes out of camaraderie about our shared fat girl experience, but generally, they just leave me cold. It’s lazy humor.

Once upon a time, the second of my mother’s string of Ill-Advised Marriage Choices moo-ed at a large woman getting off an elevator. A grown man –obviously I hesitate to say adult– saw a fat woman and thought it would be the height of Baudelairian wit and satire to go “moo.”


Now, I do not say there isn’t a space in the Venn Diagram of Life where incisive social commentary and barnyard sounds overlap, but I think it’s safe to say that unless it’s 1945 and your name is George Orwell, odds are you do not fit in that category (also, if you actually ARE a barnyard animal who makes incisive social commentary, in which case a: cool, b: what on EARTH did you google to get to this site?)

I guess they just still seem offside to me. Maybe it would be one thing if anti-fat bias wasn’t still so strong and tacitly (or not so tacitly) accepted, but Lord knows I’m about as sensitive as Don Rickles’ therapist and even I know it’s going on.

So what about you, what’s your take on fat jokes?

Telling You Things

Okay my little carnitas, I’m sorry for the lack of posts –I’ve been traveling and dealing with some serious dramz– but I’ve got to Tell People Things and YOU, you lucky little limpopos, are my beloved audience so strap in because mama’s got Things To Say.


HOW? HOW is that so hard? It’s not hard. Hard is fighting cancer. Hard is sneaking into the Real Madrid locker room for that ever-risky third time. Hard is being 6’2″ in heels and convincing your 5’3″ tango instructor Osvaldo to not use them as pillows, no matter how tempting and conveniently located they are because you’re pretty sure his wife and her paramilitary unibrow are both in Mossad and will cut you. THAT is hard.

Swallowing a pill once a day?




Listen, I know it’s not that simple. Really I do. I’m a Southern writer, we collect mental illness the way Yankees collect hard vowels and undeserved literary prizes, and yet I implore you: If you have a mental illness that you are not 100% on top of at this very moment, get on top of it. If you need help getting on top of it email me at plumcake@shoeblogs.com. I can find you help, or at least a starting place for help, any place in the world except in Antarctica. If you live in Antarctica maybe you should look at your choices. I know penguins are cute; they’re still not a valid lifestyle choice. Though I do appreciate their approach to formal wear.

Happy Mother’s Day, and remember

We’re not mad at YOU, we’re mad at the dirt!

The Big Question: Thirty-two times?

Happy Monday my little cassoulets, how’s every little thing?

Me? I’m peachy. Got some new tango shoes, went to church, went to the gay bar after church (doesn’t everyone?) to watch Obama’s Bin Laden speech, the import of which was only slightly marred by having an extremely…floppy….male stripper who had Seen Better Days give some guy in front of me a neck massage which was, uh, less than inspiring. I mean let freedom ring and everything but let’s try to keep the stripper grease out of my mimosa.

If you haven’t read Twistie’s post from yesterday, do it.

Now full disclosure time: I’m biased. I’m a slow eater. That whole chew thirty-two times thing? I’m like fifty, on a good day, and that’s IF I don’t get distracted by a bit of shiny glass or a piece of string, which I always do because –and I feel I can reveal this to you now– I’m pretty much a brain-damaged magpie with surprisingly facile typing skills.

I know that makes everyone hate me and I’m no fun at dinner parties and blah blah are-you-gonna-finish-that blah, so my admonition to take your time and savor what you eat is partially good advice and partially so I can finish my damn shrimp cocktail before everyone’s moved on to dessert.

My grandfather used to tell a story about how he watched Orson Welles eating lunch alone at the Raffles Hotel in Singapore one day. He –Welles, not my grandfather– ordered an enormous meal and ate it all by his lonesome, not speaking to anyone.

I remember the slight note of scandal in my grandfather’s voice when he would tell the story. When it came to food, my grandfather was a bolter. He loved his food, but I don’t think I ever saw him savor a single mouthful. Dinner was on the table at 6:00 p.m. and he was firmly ensconced in the living room with a bowl of ice cream and/or a cigar by 6:30 for the Nightly Business Report.

Most of us are bolters now, I think, and I wonder if big girls aren’t more prone to it because –at least in public– the act of Eating While Fat is somehow shameful, embarrassing and best to be done quickly.

It’s just an idea, but I’d be interested to hear what you think. Do you bolt your food? If so, why? What about eating in public?

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