Friday, April 4, 2008
The girl crush.
We’ve all had it. We hate them. We want to be them. We emulate them. Well, we try. Part feminine competitive indulgence, part sheer adulation, the girl crush is an obsession women have the unique right to relish. It’s unique because, at least for the non-Single-White-Female-type straight woman, it’s innocent and fun. It’s also a major way for women to bond. When a woman starts with another woman about their respective girl crushes, it’s over. Your relationship has now reached another level. It’s because you’ve both surpassed the pride threshold necessary to overcome to be able to purely appreciate other women’s beauty. Sure, there’s jealousy, but it’s an innocent jealousy. It’s not denial and resentment, but admiration and appreciation.
They begin like most crushes – dramatically. You have never seen a woman so beautiful with such immaculate features. She’s exotic and unlike anyone you’ve seen before. She’s striking, classically gorgeous and hot, all at once. It fucking sucks that you weren’t born half Pakistani, half Portuguese, or that you didn’t inherit your Ancestral full lips. In fact, when you compare yourself to her, side by side, you look starkly opposite to your crush.
In about two weeks, things subside. Suddenly the very thought of her doesn’t inspire the same warm awe in your heart it used to. The relationship has staled a bit. There simply isn’t the same excitement you had in the beginning. She’s still exceptionally beautiful, but it’s just that you’ve gotten to know her well enough for the butterflies to settle. She is now another stunning face in your arsenal of hot chicks to admire.
This is all great. I am obsessed with beautiful women. I love talking to my friends about our latest girl crushes and lovingly poring over the features that appear, to us, perfect. But, all this said – where’s the line between jealousy and admiration?
One thing that I have noticed with age is that I am able to more appropriately admire other women. By this I mean without pangs of jealousy and tremendous insecurity brewing inside me. We all know women are dramatically competitive and generally have a much more acute ability to be resentful and vicious than men. Getting past this nastiness is the key to being able to fully appreciate another woman’s beauty. The line between jealousy and admiration is established with confidence and a strong sense of personal security. Jealousy is so obvious and makes you ugly.
I like being inspired by beautiful women who carry themselves well. It’s similar to my attraction to men, where personality, character and class determine the level of attraction. Last night I saw a clip of Niki Taylor’s modeling show on Bravo, and I fell in love. She speaks so well, has beautiful lips and has a really warm presence. AND she’s a mom. Here we go again. Sigh.
Tuesday, March 11, 2008
This is a very exciting phenomenon for women. We are now becoming hotter and hotter with age! I have now, on multiple occasions, heard from multiple men two pivotal statements:
- “I don’t like hooking up with 22 year olds. They don’t know what they’re doing.”
- “Older women are HOT.”
We can assess this on several levels. I’m going to tackle my favorite – I have years of hotness to look forward to. YEARS! I think the reasons behind this shift have something to do with:
- Increased knowledge about personal care
When I was my 20 year-old, petite, 115-lb self, I was consumed with whether my hips were narrow enough and whether I was sufficiently sucking in my stomach…and, no, I wasn’t fully anorexic – I was simply unnecessarily (and detrimentally) aware of how I thought I looked. And I also had not yet accepted that I was meant to have T&A. I wanted to be able to snugly fit into boys’ jeans and have that lanky look our dear Calvin loves. The genesis of my T and my A did come later than one might expect, and it’s likely that it’s because I resisted it for quite some time. God forbid I have some extra meat. Our relationship (my T, my A and me) started off rocky – usually because it seemed impossible to have the correct balance between the two, and I felt I wasn’t built to have a well-proportioned figure. I constantly fought and didn’t give the T&A much love whatsoever.
Body image is an easy example because women are aware of it from the beginning. It’s something that’s deeply ingrained in our self-perception, whether we like it or not. Whether we choose to fight or control it or not, for most of us, it’s this demon tucked away in the back of our subconscious. The rough news is that it’s not just about our bodies. It’s about our skin, our hair, our nails – with every seven to eight years every cell of our body renews itself, that’s nearly another decade of constant wear and tear we bring upon ourselves. That’s a lot of pain, and we WILL age.
I am at the transitional age where I’m not 100% physically youthful but I’m not yet ready for Botox treatments, and I’m trying something new. I’m not going to fight it. I’m going to work with it. It’s easier to aggressively defy nature than it is to accept it. However, before you know it, your skin is pulled dramatically and tautly over your bone structure, and your hair is suffering from years of peroxide torment.
(By the way, I’m not saying I’m completely against any sort of “procedures.” I refuse to judge, because who knows where my head will be in another 15 years – and I can guarantee it won’t evade falling victim to gray hair. I’m not going to sit here and denounce the fantastic benefits we’ve seen from scientific developments. I just think there’s a crucial level of moderation that must be achieved for all the procedures’ maximum benefits to shine.)
There’s a precious and obvious ingredient in life (and aging) the power of which we overlook. Confidence is consistently the dominant trait that conveys to people how we should be perceived. I’ve noticed this tremendously with my T&A. When I work it, it works for me. I’m not perfectly toned like I was 5 years ago, but I’m a hell of a lot hotter. It’s because I’m not asking for your permission. I’m telling you how it is. Also, I really don’t care what you have to say. This liberation and control holds a stealth attraction.
I know better now how your mind works, and that makes me more attractive. I’m more aware of your motivations and intentions, and this creates mystery around how well I have you figured out, because I am certainly experienced enough by now to know when to show my cards and how to play your psychology.
42 is fairly arbitrary, but the realm of 22 (or 19…or 25) is less and less the epicenter of female hotness. The 20s are huge exploratory years. We women grow into ourselves in our 30s. We are learning to work what we’ve got, and we fine tune these skills throughout our 30s. We now know what you want, and we know better than ever before how to (not) give it to you.
A man once told me, “You know what I love about you? You don’t give a FUCK. If I tell you I don’t like something about the way you look or something you said, you’d tell me, ‘There’s the door. Don’t let it hit you on your way out.’”
My experience and confidence › my youth and physical beauty.
42 = the new 22.
Wednesday, March 5, 2008
I have always insisted that people shouldn’t (and that I would never) develop an alter ego specifically for the workplace. I was to be the person IN the office that I was outside its walls. I’m ready to concede that fight. My personality, including traits such as friendliness, approachability and charm, has absolutely helped me in my career, but there’s an unclear tipping point where too much personal transparency can begin to sting.
I struggle with finding the balance between being myself and assuming the appropriate workplace alter ego. What’s really helped me somewhat detach myself from work bullshit is realizing that it’s simply all part of the game. This game has no emotion. It has no exceptions. The game is solely about winning. Winning can be achieving one of many specific objectives: making money, winning elections, abolishing or creating policies, writing awesome PowerPoint presentations and cranking out even awesomer Excel models. Whatever the particular game is in which you are involved, it exists. Furthermore, and more importantly, the game does not define you as a person.
The mistake I’ve made again and again is allowing the game into my heart and not limiting its impact to just my head. The game is the game precisely because it’s played with logic, not emotion. As a result, we should keep our emotions out of it. Particularly for a chick, this is so much more easily said than done. Of course I take shit personally. Of course I view the perceived quality of my work and opinions as a reflection of myself versus a reflection of the level of intelligence my management or peers possess. At the end of the day, it usually comes down to opinions and egos, and it’s important to not take this stuff seriously.
Ultimately, I have to remember that people are acting (or should act) according to the game’s rules (ps – I’ve not yet clearly understood what our “game” is here – it’s either making EBIT or protecting people’s fragile egos). Sometimes this means stepping on toes and acting less than tactfully. So my boss thinks he’s right when there’s really no barometer for right versus wrong – it’s nothing against me, it’s simply a subjective outcome. Whatever happens in the office that would normally piss me off I need to learn to brush off because it has absolutely nothing to do with me, and the same works in reverse. I shouldn’t worry about hurting feelings, because, really, I’m not here to make friends (and, judging by my “promotion” entry, would I ever really want to?).
In any kind of business, feelings get hurt. These feelings morph into a different beast in “office” settings. They must be addressed from a completely different perspective because, as the Trump cliché states, “it’s not personal, it’s business.” While I don’t love my boss as a boss, I don’t hate him as a person. It was quite liberating to realize that I could leave those feelings in the office because, outside, it simply doesn’t matter.
Some people are better than others at separating emotions. Some of us rely on whatever we do at work to define us and keep our moods positive. It’s a terrible dependence to have. A healthy balance is where you can do whatever it is you do and leave it at that. We are all much bigger than what we do and shouldn’t rely on our occupations for our ups and downs.
As Omar in HBO’s “The Wire’s said, “It’s all in the game, though, right?” It IS all in the game. And while there really should be a specific objective we’re trying to collectively achieve, people bring a lot of annoying baggage to the table, and it’s up to us to cut this out of what affects us. Dumb work will always have dumb office politics – ALWAYS. There will always be politics, egos, emotions, bad personalities and less-than-brilliant people. These should be disclaimers versus fundamental rules, but they’re rules I’ve learned I need to play by. As a result, I need to check my emotions at the door and put on my workplace face at 10:30 every morning. And when I leave every day at 3:30 pm, I can resume being the awesome, charming, fun self I am.
Friday, February 29, 2008
I consider myself a triple threat. A “triple threat” possesses beauty, brains and class. I’m just going to go ahead and get cocky, but it’s pretty simple. I’m gorgeous, brilliant and have a pretty fucking great personality. While this seemingly perfect package is a great advantage in certain settings, I’ve learned that it is not only a threat to insecure women and Napoleon complex-ridden men, but it can sneakily work against me.
A lot of what I’ve written has been about overt discrimination and mistreatment based on my gender and appearance. I appear personable, kind and happy, and it’s obvious I deep condition my hair and buff my (medium-length) nails. That makes me a real woman and thus less capable of really playing on the same field. What I’ve recently learned is that there’s a subconscious and even scarier level of judgment that we underestimate and often disregard. This is the judgment that leads a man to believe that a woman in an office is more than likely the administrative assistant of the office and would happily bring him his manorexic sugar- and fat-free decaf latte.
When I interact with someone, I generally like to believe that the person gives me the benefit of the doubt and doesn’t automatically assume that I a) am stupid, b) blindly succumb to men’s charm or c) act to compromise my integrity and sanity, among other things. What I mean is I expect people to take me for what I believe I am and how I live my life. I don’t expect to be taken for a floozy because that’s just not how I roll. As a result, I expect that our interactions are based on this common understanding and that our relationship develops honestly and mutually.
I’ve learned that many people doubt the existence of the triple threat. If you’re smart, you probably aren’t hot. Vice versa. And if, for whatever reason, you’re an anomaly and possess both traits, you’re absolutely 100% going to be a bitch. Or, maybe you’re smart and driven, but that means you’ll do just about anything to get ahead, including use your ASSets. GUESS WHAT. There are actually people out there who live their lives with class and integrity and happen to be blessed and hard working enough to hit all three notes.
My warning is this: do not ever overestimate people’s expectations and integrity. This is particularly relevant to women who happen to turn heads, challenge minds and keep a clear conscience. People WILL underestimate you and expect you to slip. People will expect you to take short cuts and cruise the easy way out of (or into) a situation. Prove them wrong. Always take the high road because you can’t lose.
Your very own triple threat self can be your biggest enemy because you expect the best in people. You expect them to see you for who you are and what you can offer outside the sheets. The problem is most people struggle to let their best out. They are out for themselves and that’s about it. As a dear friend once told me, “there are always strings attached. ALWAYS.”
Thursday, February 14, 2008
My last entry got me to thinking about something. I bitch a lot about how women have it rough, but let’s get real. There’s a serious, ugly inequity between the two genders! I mean, I’m not completely joking about the spa treatments and other gifts, but I’m sure there is an agreeable medium we can reach.
Here’s an example. Guys want to touch us. Guys touch us all of the time, and there’s very little we can usually really do about that. You guys get your kicks, and what do we get? We don’t want to touch your goods. It’s pretty simple. Your goods aren’t good enough for a mere pat or slap. And you know ours are. You get a massive rise out of the humps and lumps. When you decide to touch us, you should owe us a present. I don’t care what it is – slice of pizza, diamond, stiff cocktail, candy…we’re reasonable negotiators. I’ll even take one of those roses from the guys selling them in the streets. It’s the gesture.
The mating dance is incomplete and in dire need of tactical revisions. We wear provocative clothes to get your attention. We allure you with low-neck tops and curve-hugging skirts. We don’t blame you for wanting to paw. The problem is that, generally, those of you who do paw aren’t the ones we wish would. We can eliminate this imbalance by making it an even exchange.
From a girl’s perspective, this is technically no more like prostitution than is accepting a drink from a guy in exchange for your brief company. It ends up being more equitable because the girl gets a drink (or some other gift to her liking) and the guy cops a feel. I don’t see anything wrong with that.
The biggest roadblock here is that the process needs to be enforceable. You (guys) have to live up to your end of the bargain. I’m thinking IOUs. Think of it as sexual currency. I’m not quite sure who the enforcing party might be, but it’d have to be an impartial group. Maybe the gays? No offense whatsoever, but same-sex parties don’t QUITE fit into the conflict we’re talking about here – considering they’re bringing the same ammunition to the table and it’s much easier to return a grope without much of a fight versus getting someone to throw down for a gift.
Next time I get groped, rather than get all pissed like I usually do, I’m going to manipulate it to my advantage by letting the guy think I’m charmed and would LOVE to have a cocktail with him. Hopefully we can begin to manipulate behavior and fix the game.
What’s up with guys suddenly becoming obsessed with eating like birds? I googled “Manorexia,” and I guess the relatively new term’s already been coined to describe dudes who get anorexic. Maybe this is naïve of me, but I wasn’t aware that anorexia was isolated to women.
Anyway, my beef is with the fact that somewhere along the line, a bunch of dudes went to a seminar and learned that it’s really attractive to be super skinny. IT ISN’T. Maybe this is just additional justification that anorexia is a mental disease in which one completely loses track of their true physical appearance and uses eating as a control mechanism. And, thus, all these dudes who are skin and bones have serious control issues they need to reign in.
Along the lines of my belief that the true man has become an endangered species, a lot of guys have adopted female behavior. It all comes back to the tipping point. It’s cool for guys to use a few higher-end personal products (Kiehl’s, etc.), but once you men become all concerned with your figures, it becomes a bit much. Maybe it’s just my personal preference, but it’s your very nature as men to crave meat and potatoes and be a little less well-versed in gourmet culinary selections (clearly, exceptions, like CHEFS or restaurant owners, don’t apply here). I’d take the man who doesn’t eat sushi but loves his greasy burgers over the man who special orders to eliminate all carbs from this entrée. That’s hella boring and LAME.
Guys, anorexia is female territory and dudes should stay out. Leave the obsessive self-scrutiny and enduring physical perfection tactics to us. It’s emasculating for you to care so much. Give yourselves a break and focus on sponsoring our spa treatments, exotic vacations and other nice gifts.
Tuesday, February 12, 2008
This election year is exciting for so many obvious reasons. The country craves monumental change. It’s a pivotal time for the
I’ve been thinking a lot about how I feel about the contenders and what they mean for us as a society. I’ve been mostly fascinated by Hillary, mostly because I am a Democrat but also because I’ve been unsure about how I feel about her and what she represents for women. There is an interesting dichotomy. How cool is it to see a woman rise to such a position of power? On the other, what exactly has Hillary had to do to get to where she is now?
After Hillary and Anna Wintour's little blow-out (www.wwd.com/issue/article/121588?page=0) last month, I got to thinking about what Hill’s progression in the election actually means. And I realized that, based on how I value femininity and what makes me proud to be a woman, the conclusion is mixed. Women do have an increasingly growing spectrum of opportunities in what is still a man’s world, but women are not held to the same requirements as men in order to get just as far. I have a ton of respect for Hillary Clinton and give her mad props for playing the game, but, at the end of the day, the game is fundamentally flawed. In conclusion, Anna Wintour was right. And so was Hillary.
Hillary probably made the right decision to back out of her Vogue shoot because her objective is to win the Democratic presidential nomination. I’m no soothsayer, but I’m going to go out on a limb and say that showing an alluring, feminine side to the American public probably would not have been the most secure move in her campaign. As someone who loves her Nars, Jimmy Choos,
I agree with everything Anna Wintour said in response to Hillary’s backing out and believe that it wasn’t really an attack on Hillary. It’s a statement on how our society works. It was an expression of frustration over the concessions women have to make in order to receive equitable treatment and opportunity. It’s really sad when a woman who wishes to continue to be taken seriously by the entire world has to censor her image’s femininity. It would be so exciting and victorious to see a classy, strong, tastefully-dressed woman who isn’t afraid of sharing her femininity lead this country, but I simply don’t think we’re there yet.
People love to talk liberal. People want to appear progressive and cool and trendy (as if it’s a trend, right?). There’s just something about how people view and treat women on subconscious levels that requires major generational shifts to ever really change. And I am talking about men AND women. Many people have a blindly ingrained idea of what a president is. Older. Slightly aging hairline and color. You know, the older traits that make Robert Redford hot but make women “hags.” Even Andy Rooney has an idea of what characterizes a presidential name (www.cbsnews.com/stories/2008/01/04/60minutes/rooney/main3676075.shtml). Are we truly ready to shift this paradigm? We may want to, but the country isn’t ready.
Hillary has the daunting task of balancing maintaining a relatable persona while keeping the thick skin necessary for women to be able to compete on a level playing field with men. Men can simply get away with a lot more. They have many more options along the emotional array. Women constantly battle swaying too far in one emotional direction at the risk of appearing sensitive and overly emotional.
So while Wintour’s proverbial blue power suit may have become a little more fitted to a woman’s curves, it’s still a style derived from the male wardrobe’s fundamental element.