Underneath it all

Well, is January 18th.

JANUARY 18th!

What the what.

It’s January 18th and I am here to talk about underwear.

Yes, underwear.

UNDIES.

The whites.

Bras.

Panties.

(I actually shudder at the word “panty.” Whoever coined that term should have been exiled immediately and fined all of their underwear, sentenced to roam the netherworlds (hehe) forevermore without the comfort of a protective layer of cloth to separate their genitals from their clothing.)

Just imagine the chaffing!

AHEM.

Back to the task at hand.

As a young, nubile woman I find the whole “underwear/lingerie” thing absolutely confounding.

Now don’t get me wrong here – I find nothing wrong with the concept of a beautiful undergarment, nor do I begrudge absolutely anyone who chooses to spend their hard-earned cash dollars on fancy, frilly brassieres and garter belts (or the what-have-you.)

It’s just for me – I cannot even.

I’ve believe you me, I’ve tried.

This past Christmas, I walked head-on into the new Victoria’s Secret megastore (the twinkling, garish purple and pink disco – cum – bordello that now takes up real estate on Robson and Granville) with the express intention of purchasing some new duds.

The problem being that I lasted approximately thirty seconds inside of the store.

I just couldn’t handle it all – the entire building seemed to be grotesquely pulsating: the too-loud pop “music” remixes blaring from every speaker; the raucous crowds of women careening about the “2 for 40” bins; the scattered detritus of disinterested boyfriends and husbands glued to their smartphones or desperately looking for a quiet corner in which to sit; the too-interested boyfriends and husbands, hovering about the change rooms with “their choice” bras clenched tightly in their fists –

IT WAS JUST TOO MUCH.

(Also, I’ve got to say – having some non-descript teenage boy wail on about how much he will love me no matter what while I peruse racks and racks of padded bras is a very strange experience indeed. I would recommended all lingerie stores employ string quartets to entertain their patrons whilst they shop.)

But I also have the tendencies and tastes of an eighty-year old, so they should also take my suggestions with a grain of salt.

Or Werther’s Original.

Okay, once again I am all over the road here.

What I’m trying to say is: underwear, for me, serves a function, and as long as that function is served, I am happy.

There are too many things I would rather do with my money then spend gobs of it on fancy-schmancy undies.

Because at the root of it all – I feel totally hot, (and awesome! and strong! and gorgeous!) without them.

I know I look great in my fruit of the loom, unpadded, unadorned plain underwear.

Also – if you’re using that stuff to present yourself as a sexy minx/naughty schoolgirl/lion tamer/etc. – all of that stuff just comes off anyway, doesn’t it?

(Doesn’t it?)

The dollar to time spent wearing the garment ratio is totally off!

Now, I’m sure there are many people out there who would (and probably will) tell me that if I ever gave lingerie its fair shake, I would feel completely different (and yes, I concede that they are probably correct).

But until that day – until I properly gird my loins (harhar) and make it into a store unaffected by all the glittery pomp and sexy circumstance, I will continue on as I do.

Wearing my whites.

Polar Bear Swim
Polar Bear Swim – 2014. In the whites.

Plainly.

Dress me – I’m your mannequin

Well kids – another day, another dollar.

Yesterday I skipped about downtown on my lunch, eager as I was to stretch my legs and prance about in my pretty purple dress.

PURPLE DRESS!

I wandered about Club Monaco for a bit, admiring all the beautiful pieces that have recently arrived in anticipation for autumn’s arrival.

(I also cowered in disbelief to see that the store would still charge forty-nine dollars for a tank-top at that tail end of summer – at sixty percent off at that! I couldn’t help but wonder who was buying them when they were still listed at full price?)

Anyways, as I drifted about the mall, I realized it had been ever so long since I last tried on insane mannequin outfits at H&M – mostly because they have been selling such stellar stuff of late, and I just haven’t had the heart to mock a store that has blessed me with such abominably cute outfits.

Even Mr. M the other day conceded that his views on this clothing conglomerate had changed. And I quote:

“I want to hate H&M so much, but I can’t, because every I like pretty much every single thing you own from the store.”

And they say chivalry is dead!

Anywho, today I WAS in the mood for a good game of grotesque dress-up, so I ventured into the store with the express intention of finding the absolute fugliest pieces I could find and snapping snaps for all of you, dear readers, to see.

This ended up being much harder than I initially expected.

You see I was immediately drawn to this insane mess of a dress:

What the what…!?!?

But you know what? I just didn’t have the heart to try it on. First of all, it felt like a cross between a bathroom shower mat and those thick wool sweaters that are of the express domain of Independent Swedish film makers and skiing instructors from the late 1970s.

Plus, it cost eighty bucks! My whole system went into revolt just thinking about this and there was no way I wanted this dress anywhere near my body.

I did, however, manage to find all the appropriate pieces to scrape this outfit together:

Erm, I have a couple of questions about this.

WHAT IS THIS MADNESS?

And, like, do any chicks out there actually do the shirtless + suit jacket combo? I mean, other than those who are paid extravagant fees to march down a runway looking equal parts pissed off and nihilistic?

And would anyone in their right mind wear this combination with shorts?

If you would and you are out there reading this, please contact me because I want to interview you on my next radio show happening next month. No joke at all, and no mocking either – I want to pick your brain and learn your secrets. E-mail me!

I actually don’t mind either the shorts or the jacket as separates, but together I felt as though I left the house with only a portion of my originally intended outfit on my body. Like I had been told that I only had thirty second to vacate the premises before it was blown to smithereens and this was the best I could do while still keeping myself alive.

The next two ensembles I tried on were what I like to call the “Chatalaine editorials circa 1993 – beach house chic!”

No. 1:

Claaaaaammmm diiiigggeeerrssss

This cardigan would be tolerable if it had a giant fake A (or some other letter) to connote a varsity sports team of which I’m not actually a member but would make me feel collegiate nevertheless.

No. 2:

Caaaabllleee knnniiiittt.

I cannot tell a lie, I kind of want this sweater, but only if it comes with a pipe and a large, red, velvet wing-backed chair.

Although something tells me that I’m not going to be picking all that up for $29.95.

A girl can dream though, can she not?

For afterall, we are the stuff that dreams are made on.

Except that first dress of course.

Because that friends – that is most definitely a nightmare.

One tough cookie

Hey friends!

It’s Friday, it’s June, and it’s raining and winding like a raining and winding thing.

Tough Mudder is tomorrow, so as I may never see (write to?) you beauty cats ever again (due to my imminent death by hypothermia), so let me just say that it has been an absolute pleasure conversing with all of you.

For the (mayhaps final) Fry-Up, there are three things heating up docket, so let’s dive right in.

Number one:

Pretty pretties from the internets.

I’ve always been super weary of purchasing goods from the world wide interweb, however when I saw this dress there was little I could do to stop myself from taking out my credit card and buying it on the spot.

It was thirty-five dollars – which included shipping – a price so low I half expected the garment to dissolve into dust as soon as I opened the packaging.

However, as it is a non-structured dress (a slip, with a sheer overlay) that came with its ridiculously cute pink belt, I figured if I know my size pretty well, there was little chance that the fit was going to be completely off.

(I mean, for thirty-five clams there was no way I was going to go through the effort of returning the thing. If by bad luck it hadn’t fit, I would have bloody well made it fit.)

And it ended up being brilliant! On the whole, I am just so enamoured with its retro style that I half expect an American GI to walk up to me as I walk down the street and ask me if I would like to jitterbug with him as soon as the band returns from its break.

It’s also comfortable as all get out, both work and play appropriate, and as flattering as a grade school crush.

Now I just need to figure out how to curl my hair properly and heck – no one will be able to stop me!

Onwards!

Number two:

Fab books and belly laughs.

I am currently reading this book:

It is hilarious.

Today on skytrain I was busting a gut so hard the fellow sitting next to me leaned over and asked me what I was reading.

“A hilarious Canadian book about the absurdity of academia and our electoral and parliamentary systems!” I responded. “It won the Stephen Leacock medal!”

I don’t know whether to describe the look that flickered across his face as incredulous or withering, so let’s go with both.

If I had known that he would have greeted my description with such non-plussed scorn (hey, it’s a thing!) I probably would have said something different.

I should have just hollered, “MIND YOUR OWN BUSINESS YOU ULTRA MAROON!” and then farted loudly.

(P.S. This is how you get a seat to yourself on transit at all hours of the day.)

Anywho, the book is blinkin funny as heck, so if you have a chance, ch-ch-check it out. This goes double for all my Canuck readers out there.

You won’t regret it, I promise you.

P.S. for my international readership, the Stephen Leacock award is for Canadian humour writing. People who win it often have genetically modified funny bones. I am currently in the process of saving up for an F.B. enlargement so I too may one day compete in this illustrious field.

Number three:

SHOWERS.

I am one of those people who LOVE to shower.

I love being clean.

I love the process of becoming clean.

Everything about the venture that is involved with standing inside an enclosed bathing vestibule – I BLOODY WELL LOVE.

And tomorrow, during Tough Mudder, I am going to get very, very dirty.

The dirtiest.

Perhaps (and by perhaps I mean it is certain) that I will reach levels of filth I cannot even begin to imagine, sitting here at my computer.

And while I don’t fear that mess, I very much look forward to that moment where upon completion of my race, I will step into a shower, feel that cascade of hot water on my skin, and scrub the absolute shit out of my dermis.

Take that as you will.

So there you have it dudes.

On one last T.M. note, I am so excited to start off tomorrow I can hardly sit still.

I have trained like a madwoman and now it is time to see what I can do. I promise to take lots of photos and let you know how both Mr. M and I fared throughout the sixteen kilometers and twenty-five obstacles.

We’ll be seeing you at the finish line.

Top tips to get you asked out by teenagers

I’m a twenty-seven year old gal who’s had more teenagers (or those freshly out of their teens) ask her out in the past six years years than, well, the entire time I spent as a teenager.

Now, in the sake of full disclosure, I was a pretty unfortunate looking person for a good chunk of my adolescent years – but even after I got hot as hell, I was still the one making the first move at the beginning of my relationships.

(This, I’m sure, is because people were so amazed by my overall transformation, that they were unsure as to whether or not I was the same person they used to know.)

I kid.

Kind of.

For serious, had I not had ovaries the size of basketballs, I would still be languishing in a sea of unrequited crushes, being tossed about by white-capped waves of sexual frustration.

I was a champ at asking people out (the two times I did it.)

Now, since I wrote earlier this week about how a twenty year old boy asked me out on skytrain last Saturday night, I’ve had quite a few friends ask me what exactly it is that I am doing to have this be a semi-regular occurrence in my life.

I didn’t have a coherent, non-self-deprecating answer at the ready, so over the past few days I’ve given this query some thought, and think I may come up with a probable (but perhaps totally erroneous)  hypothesis.

However, in the spirit of science, I’m forging ahead.

Ladies and gentleman, (but really ladies, because, well, I am one of you) may I present: 

Top tips to get you asked out by teenagers*.

*or those in their early twenties.

1.)    Ride public transit. Ride public transit all the live long day. Not once or twice a week – we’re talking multiple times a day here (and weekends too). Teenagers, for the most part, don’t have a ton of money, so if they need to go anywhere, they take the bus, or the skytrain, or subway, or streetcar, or what have you.

Duh, duh, duh, another rides the bus...

I ride transit all the damn time, so it’s inevitable that I’ll find myself sitting next to someone whom I could have babysat ten years ago, had I not  instead chosen the high school career of Safeway cashier. And because of this inevitability, it is in fact unavoidable that at some point one of them will strike up a conversation with me, and before I know it – BAM!

They want to take you me out to coffee (at bloody 7:45 in the morning.)

2.)    Wear quite a bit of colourful clothing. I notice more and more just how varied in hue and tone my wardrobe is compared to most of the other people who work down town. When I exit the train every morning, and the station is flooded by a stream of black, grey and brown, I am the bright red life boat, carried along by the push and pull of the tide.

1 coat, 2 coat, red coat...

I don’t necessary think that it’s my clothing per say that’s getting me asked out, but since I’m not afraid to experiment with, and wear a ton of colour – in addition to taking different risks with my outfits (wearing traditional mens clothing, and mixing formal with casual pieces) – my style seems to attract a younger demographic.

Teenagers in general like to make comment on my choice in clothing and, or colour palette.

Animal print and stripes.

Then they want to take me out to coffee to talk more about my fashion sense.

3.)    Read science fiction and/or fantasy books. My only caveat being – please, please for the love of pete, read good science fiction and/ or fantasy. None of this Sword of Truth/Sword of Shannara bullshazzle.

That will get you disqualified right out of the gate.

(However you’ll gain ten points if you read your sci-fi books on the bus.)

But to get back on topic: teenagers always want to talk me up about the books that I’m reading, but particularly if they are of these two genres. They want to talk to me about A Song of Ice and Fire (even back before it got all HBO-ed and coolified); they want to talk to me about Terry Pratchett; they want to talk to me about Richard Matheson. (Okay, so that last one’s more horror that anything else, but we’ll have to let that slide.)

Even Mr. Penguin wants to talk about Game of Thrones.

They want to talk to me about books and then take me out to coffee to talk about books some more.

4.)    Laugh to yourself. Whether you’re walking down the street, riding transit (seriously, RIDE IT!), sitting in a coffee shop, or waiting in line at the grocery store, be so completely lost in your own thoughts that you bust up your own gut like a busting thing.

I love to laugh. ALL THE TIME.

Older people will think your completely bonkers (and rightfully so) but teenagers want to know what’s so funny.

And they’ll want to take you out for coffee.

5.)    Quote the crap out of movies and TV shows. I was on transit once (did I mention that you should probably ride transit?), talking on my mobile, TO MY HUSBAND when I said, “that’s, just like, uh, your opinion…man” and the fella sitting to my right, spoke up literally, the second that I  hung up, wanting to talk more about the Big Lebowski (aka re-enact the whole movie for the remainder of our ride.)

And then he wanted to go to a coffee shop, to re-enact our re-enactment – just in case we missed a part!

Yowzers.

He was pretty surprised when I declined, citing the fact that I was, you know, a married woman.

Which brings me to my last point:

6.)    Wear a wedding ring. First, teenagers don’t look for wedding rings, so they are basically a moot point. Second, the longer I remain married, the more teenagers ask me out. And third, most of the teenagers who’ve asked me out haven’t cared when I told them that I am forever removed from the dating scene.

Ring around the rosie...

They all want to convince me of the reasons why I should no longer be married.

Over coffee, of course.

So there you have it ladies – six, very simple tips on how to increase the number of your youthful suitors.

But, let me finish off by saying this. Don’t wait around for someone else to make the first move. If you like somebody, go-go-gopher it.

It’s always better to know, and heck, if they like you back? Well, there’s no better feeling in the world.

Seriously, I’ll tell you more about it.

Tea anyone?

She works hard for the money

On days like today, when the weather gods and goddesses are smiling down on the fair (or otherwise) inhabitants of Southwest BC, there is a tree visible from my office window.

Standing alone, its branches spindly and ramrod, reaching for the heavens, it glows golden, as though kissed by a rogue ray of sunshine – it has been set aflame.

Glow little tree, glow with all your might!

It’s a spectacular sight to behold, and one I so often miss on days dominated by cloud cover and rain.

In an attempt to jazz up my work days, I have been making an attempt to incorporate more pretty things (most of which are predominately dresses) into my weekly wardrobe.

Another factor playing into this decision was my (still current) self-imposed restriction on purchasing new goods – this ban has been making it harder and harder to recycle my most tried and true outfits. For real, there is a limited number of times I can wear my pink cable-knit sweater before my skin will end up permanently dyed rose, and my skin tattooed with that unmistakable braid pattern.

Eep.

Plus, I have a pretty solid collection of frocks that don’t see much action outside of weddings and fancy events, which unfortunately can be few and far between in the winter months. Just seeing them in my closet makes my heart skip a beat – I’m not one to purchase things willy-nilly. If I buy it, it means that I like it. 

I like it a lot. 

A closet dominated by “work” clothes. Don’t worry, I’m a champ with the iron.

I am also not ashamed to admit that during the long stretches of time where I don’t have a chance to wear these beautiful outfits, sometimes it can be pretty fun to play dress up or have an impromptu fashion show, trying out different shoe-dress combinations – whether I’m on my own, or I’ve gotten M to act as my audience or critic.

(Mostly audience, sometimes critic.)

Yet, to be honest, getting into this new work-fashion grove was a little harder than I thought.

I was really nervous to even try it out.

Why, exactly was this, might you ask? I asked myself the same question.

It has been pretty darn interesting to sift through the many reasons that I found this decision to be much more of a challenge than I’d originally imagined it to be, particularly when it came down its execution.

It was not just a simple change of clothing to me.

I should stress that it wasn’t the opinion of colleagues or random passersbys that played into this aversion (in fact, I receive wonderful, reassuring, reactions, not to mention blush-inducing compliments every time I have donned a new outfit) – at the root of it, it was me.

Mostly I was afraid of looking like I had mistakenly showed up to a corporate workplace, instead of my intended destination (high tea with the Queen of England – aka Helen Mirren) after having taken that wrong turn at Albuquerque.

Or you know – that I was ten years old.

But mostly, and here I am a bit ashamed to even type out the words, I think I was afraid that the more feminine I dressed, the less likely I would be taken seriously – at the different lunches I go to, presentations I give, meetings I attend, interviews I conduct.

I am much younger than many of my colleagues, and I find that I often make myself hyper aware of this fact.

I put myself on edge, feeling as though I have to prove that, despite my age, I am a bloody rock-star at my job.

As such, if I dress too “womanly,” (combined with my obvious youth) I might command less respect, whereas when I dress “manly”, I have already knocked down one barrier (whether it be real or not – at least in my current position.)

Now, I understand that in reality, in my current situation, this hypothesis is most likely total crap. Assigning a gender to my clothing choices, and then evaluating my job performance (or at least how others may perceive, and therefore assess my performance) is pretty ridiculous.

However on a macro level (and micro for many, many others), both age and sex are two huge factors that negatively impact an individual’s professional success.

(I am also aware that the age factor is also a problem as you reach the other end of the scale.)

So it’s interesting to note, that while I am not in a position myself to be harmed by these attitudes, I have already internalized them, rendering an outsider’s imposition of them onto me a moot action.

In one word this is completely crazy.

One of the dresses I was originally too afraid to wear to work.

I’ve worked with enough people to understand that confidence in your abilities, coupled with a stellar work-ethic and solid output outweighs whatever outfit you may or may not be wearing on any given day – particularly if you present yourself as a professional, put-together individual.

And yet I stress over whether or not a beautiful, semi-formal dress, coupled with a cardigan/suit jacket and flats would somehow strip me of my professional legitimacy.

Thinking about this has really tripped me up, and opened up many other questions.

For instance:

When I wear a suit to work (specifically if I wear it with a tie, as I often do) and I doing so because I like the aesthetic of the outfit, or am I subconsciously trying to fit a preferred mould (aka presenting myself as a “male” somehow legitimizes my position?)

Or, am I able to just write it off to nothing more than the fact that I have always been attracted to men’s clothing, and because I am tall and lanky, this style of wardrobe works particularly well with by body type?

Or, at an even simpler level, am I just nervous of overdressing at work? As much as people may dislike the chronically underdressed, those who show up daily, ready for a black-tie formal, rarely escape criticism either.

At the root of it, I know this:

I first and foremost pride myself on presenting myself as a professional.

I just need to remember that first and foremost I am a professional.