Tallulah was right: ”It’s the good girls who keep diaries; the bad girls never have the time.” Many people don’t realize this, but the life of a bad girl is quite arduous and time-consuming, which is why you haven’t heard from me lately. Forgive me, my darlings. It isn’t easy being sublimely scandalous!
Happy Valentine’s Day, my darlings! Want to know the most romantic thing I’ve ever done? Read on…
As many of you already know, my Van is a private person so I try not to put her and our life center stage in my blog. But since Valentine’s Day is coming up–which I love as only a femme can; V-Day haters step away now!–I don’t think Van will mind me telling you a little of our own love story. The truth is, she’s the best thing about my life hands down. Even after 14 years, I’m a smitten kitten.
Van and I have often surprised each other in little or big ways on Valentine’s Day. This tradition dates back to our very first V-Day together, when I told her that I couldn’t drive to her city as planned because of the epic snowstorm that was coming. I was just too nervous to attempt that drive, I said. Van was super disappointed, I could tell, but she was understanding and of course said she wanted me to be safe.
Then as soon as we got off the phone I hit the road. You knew that was coming, right?! Yes, I was crazy enough to drive through a raging BLIZZARD in my little Ford Escort with no anti-lock brakes. (I was a poor grad student then). Seriously, I’ve never driven in worse conditions–snow, ice, terrible visibility, and wind so severe it blew my car all over the road. It was positively harrowing. But somehow I made it to Van’s apt in one piece.
I let myself in and immediately got to work cooking dinner, baking a heart-shaped chocolate cake, decorating the apt, and of course making myself gorgeous. There was a lot to do, but I knew I had enough time because Van would be working late. For a finishing touch, I took a bag of those Necco candy conversation hearts and made a trail from the elevator to the front door of her apt. (Yes I know it’s cheesy and tacky–that’s the point!)
My little plan worked perfectly. Van got off the elevator, sad about spending Valentine’s Day without me. She was grumbling about the V-Day revelers who left all those candy hearts on the floor until she realized that the trail led to her door! I still remember the look on her face when she opened the door to find me there. Happy is an understatement. What did my ensemble look like, you ask? Mamie Van Doren with a dash of Susie Bright. (It was the 90s, after all.)
Now it’s your turn. What’s the most romantic thing you’ve done for Valentine’s Day or the most romantic thing someone has done for you? (For the record, I’m defining “romantic” broadly; I certainly don’t think it has to follow traditional ideas of what constitutes romance or romantic love.)
Van and I just had a fight. I’ve been repeatedly asking her what she wants for her birthday, which is right after Valentine’s Day. I thought I was being nice; after all, doesn’t everyone want to open a present on their birthday? But Van is angry at me for pressuring her for a “wish list” when she’s told me over and over again that material things don’t matter to her.
The truth is I don’t feel comfortable not buying her a gift. Van loves it when I give her experience gifts instead of objects, so that’s something I’ve been doing more. But this year I felt like I didn’t have the time or energy to put together a more creative, experiential birthday present for her. I’m ashamed to admit this but I just wanted to buy something and be done. How could I have forgotten that the best way of saying “I love you” is not with a credit card? This shows just how successful the ideology of consumerism is in our culture. I know that expressing love through “stuff” only serves the interests of global capitalism–and yet, here I am, desperately trying to commodify my love.
I adore Van and truly cannot imagine my life without her in it. This post is my Valentine for her. I’m so sorry, honey. I love you more than objects can convey and words can say. Thank you for 19 wonderful years. xoxo
My Saint Bernard always carries an ample supply of Maker’s Mark. This morning Van and I used a little to make eggnog french toast topped with bourbon cranberry compote. This proves my theory that everything is better with bourbon. Cheers!
This image is re-blogged from Mothic Flights and Flutterings
Are you working on your Halloween costume, darlings? I know you’re busy shopping for wigs and whatnot, but take a few minutes to read this terrific piece by Portland’s Freddie Fagula, co-director of the drag-u-mentary Third Antenna: The Radical Nature of Drag (which I love). I’ve reposted from Angry Black-White Girl’s blog–thanks for posting, AB-WG!
While we’re talking about costumes and cultural appropriation, a few words of advice from yours truly: for heaven’s sake, don’t piss off Screaming Lemur by dressing up as a witch! As she says in her post Green Skin Optional, “Witches are a big part of the imagery of Halloween…. But honestly? I find it to be as stereotypical and lazy as putting on some buckskin and a feather headband and calling yourself an ‘Indian’ for Halloween. It’s othering, it’s tired, and frankly it annoys me.”
Actually it sounds to me like Freddie’s piece is indebted to Lemur’s post. If so, it’s unfortunate he didn’t give her credit or acknowledge witch costumes as a form of cultural appropriation. For the record, that sexy witch pic in my Halloween Pin-Up Girls post is a subversive reinscription. A-hem.
Top 10 Reasons Not To Wear A Culturally Appropriating Halloween Costume – Please Repost [by Freddie Fagula]
10. That shit is tired and you’re more creative than that. You can be anything.
9. You don’t wanna be “that guy” at the party.
8. You won’t be endorsing a history of domination, colonization, and genocide through your flippant, cartoonish, or stereotypical portrayal of cultures other than your own.
7. People of color won’t have their night ruined by your costume.
6. No one will have their night ruined by your costume, (well… unless you’re like me in fourth grade and your home made zombie make-up gets all over some girls princess dress. Sorry Christy Godwin!)
5. People who you’ve never met won’t take one look at you and decide to avoid the ignorant person who would wear THAT.
4. Your odds of getting laid will be dramatically increased because you won’t have offended half of the people at the party.
3. You aren’t an unfeeling jerk who likes to insult and hurt people.
2. You won’t be asked to leave Fruitcake’s All Homo’s Eve party because you are a white person dressed in black face or as a “native,” a Nazi*, Indian, gypsy, geisha, sheik, or hula dancer, etc.
1. You are an awesome, deep, conscientious individual who understands the importance of respecting the life, experiences, culture and ethnicity of people different from yourself.
*Yeah, I know it’s not technically “appropriating” but please, not okay.
Here is how wikipedia defines cultural appropriation: Cultural Appropriation is the adoption of some specific elements of one culture by a different cultural group. It denotes acculturation or assimilation, but often connotes a negative view towards acculturation from a minority culture by a dominant culture. It can include the introduction of forms of dress or personal adornment, music and art, religion, language, or social behavior. These elements, once removed from their indigenous cultural contexts, may take on meanings that are significantly divergent from, or merely less nuanced than, those they originally held.
Obviously, there are many ways to create an offensive costume that may not be pointed out above or fall into the cultural appropriating category. If you’re wondering whether your costume will offend someone than it probably will. If you’re still thinking about wearing it, ask your more thoughtful friends to weigh in on it. I realize this is a multi-faceted topic deserving more attention than once a year on Halloween, but this is as good a time as any to bring it up.
I believe it’s healthy for people to want to transform themselves, and Halloween encourages that. It gives people a sense of possibility. It’s a creative outlet in a culture of full rules about who can make legitimate “art.” It’s the extra nudge one may need to let go and be someone else. Even if it’s just for a laugh. It’s an opportunity that I wouldn’t want to deny anyone. What I do want is a Halloween where one persons liberating costume is not another persons insult to their life, experiences, culture, or race.
Please give it some thought and don’t be “that guy” on Halloween.