Tuesday, 14 February 2012

On this day like every other one (2012 redux)

Because my views on the topic haven't really changed in the last decade, I thought I'd post a slightly edited version of a piece I wrote in 2010 on the topic of Valentine's Day. Hope you enjoy it the second time around...just like you did the second time you got back together with your sociopathic ex-boyfriend. I genuinely hope this brings you more joy than he did, and maybe even a better orgasm.

My sentiments on Valentine's Day can be summed up in one elegant, monosyllabic word — meh. I feel no resentment whatsoever towards happy couples who use this day to reaffirm their love for one another. Please, go forth and splurge on dinner, flowers, jewellery, lingerie, sex toys. Lord knows our retail economy needs the shot in the arm. Stare deeply into your love's eyes, gesture as grandly as your wallet will allow, kiss with tongue! Just don't expect me to look longingly at you as tears well up in my eyes. Nor should you expect to find me slumped at the bar, slurring lonely-cat-lady clichés like, "José Cuervo is all the man I need!" while flashing the bartender some skin. I just don't care that much. Besides, I don't need an excuse to drink tequila.

I've certainly celebrated my fair share of Valentine's days. I've cooked special dinners, lit scented candles, worn kinky panties, waxed, polished, buffed and disrobed. And you know what? Save for the uncomfortable underwear, it always felt like just another day. In fact, the last time I celebrated Valentine's Day with a boyfriend, everything we were required to do was done by 10pm and we started calling around to see what everyone else was up to. If memory serves, I cozied up to both my boyfriend and José that night.

To be perfectly honest, I completely forgot it was Valentine's Day today until I received an old standby message from my dear friend Lindsay. It read: "I choo-choo-choose you!" as it does every Valentine's Day. And it beats any flowers or candy I've ever received. I may not be spending today with one special someone, but I do have a whole bunch of them in my life, not the least of whom is my dog. I want to apologize to my sisters out there, both single and spoken for, who think I should feel sad or lonely, elated or entranced by this day. In truth, all I feel is ambivalent. And maybe a little hungry.

But if it makes you feel any better: I love you. Yesterday, today and tomorrow.

Friday, 10 February 2012

Damnit, Karl!

 Fat Karl

To paraphrase Sinatra: disappointments, I've had a few. There was the Michelin-starred restaurant in France that gave me heartburn, the limited-edition sneakers that I trekked all over LA to locate that gave me blisters, the luxury moisturizer that gave me a rash, Martin Scorsese's Gangs of New York, chocolate-covered bacon, high school, rollerblades, Atkins, the push-up bra, Berlin, magic mushrooms, Victorian literature, YSL Tribute heels, and muffins. But no one disappointed me more this week than Karl Lagerfeld.

In an interview that ran in Paris Metro, Lagerfeld is quoted as calling singing sensation Adele "a little too fat" but with a "beautiful face." Which is just the kind of backhanded compliment all girls love to receive. Now, the thing with Kaiser Karl is that he used to be fat, so I kind of get that his subtext is probably all, "eef I deed eet, you can too," but he doesn't have to be such an asshole about it.

The problem with Lagerfeld isn't just that he's a former fat guy who looks down his reconstructed nose at anyone who has an affinity for carbs, but he also has an industry full of backup. He's been spewing offensive rhetoric about anyone larger than a size -2 for years yet has never really come under fire for it. It's like he's the Roman Polanski of the fashion world. But in case you're worried that he might be a one-trick-pony of insults, in the same interview he also called Russian men ugly, and said Greeks and Italians have disgusting habits — one can only imagine he was referring to the regular consumption of food. As an Italian, all I can say to that is: touché, M. Lagerfeld.

Thankfully, Adele doesn't seem too fussed about it. She hit back with the requisite, "I represent the real woman" blah blah blah. A response that really doesn't need to be spoken aloud. Least of all in response to something an emaciated artifact said. I don't know if you, dear reader, can possibly comprehend how much it hurts me to say negative things about Lagerfeld. I respect him so deeply as a designer, an artist, a visionary; he helms the house of Chanel, which is nothing short of a religion for me! But I'd be lying if I didn't say I think he's slipping. His spring/summer 2011 cruise collection bordered on predictable and cliched, and his recent couture collection largely fell flat, in my opinion. I think he's lost sight of who his customer is and remains stuck in the early noughties notion that the young customer controls consumer spending. Is it any surprise that he's still dropping bombs about someone being "a little too fat"? He belongs to a bygone era of corporate omnipotence and cigarettes-and-coffee diets. Perhaps it's time he bid adieu.

Monday, 6 February 2012

Gray matters

Just when I thought celebrity culture and hair trends couldn't confuse me further (disclaimer: I'm not that bright), out come a bunch of starlets, ingenues and Olsens rocking gray hair well before their time. I think it's meant to be ironic, but I can't tell because I'm one pair of Ray-Ban Wayfarers and a denim vest short of being able to decipher pop cultural "irony." Besides, I might be getting too old for any irony that doesn't directly derive from the Socratic method, national politics or my food intake-to-thigh girth ratio. 

On the one hand, I suppose I should be applauding these Pretty Young Things for attempting to destigmatize gray hair. I'd love to walk around with a photo of them in my wallet to show to those people who think it's appropriate to point out my roots when I've gone too long between visits to my colourist. "As far as Mary-Kate Olsen and Kelly Osbourne are concerned, gray is the new ombré!" I'd yell at anyone who glanced at my roots askew. Then I'd follow it up with a sharp, "my eyes are down here."

Unfortunately, not even the earning power of an Olsen can sway public opinion on graying ladies. It has been suggested to me in the past that I allow my gray to run free, that it would, in fact, act as an avant garde contrast to my youthful face. (Which is just a nice way of saying: you might as well go gray since you've always got those hideous roots showing and who do you think you're kidding anyway?) But succumbing to gray is like the follicular equivalent of sweatpants. The message is so clearly, I give up. And while I may have given up on the youth peddling power of mini skirts, five-inch stilettos, 3AM pizza binges and bottle tokes, I will not give up on my hair.