Kill the Babydolls

See this look? I am now officially done with this look.

They ushered it in a few years ago but come on: We’re going to go back to wearing baby clothes? I mean this chick is skinny but most of us look like we’re in total baby clothes when we wear tops like this.

Or wait are they actually maternity tops?

Some of us remember the days when maternity clothes looked like baby clothes, smocking and all.

I look at pregnant women today with their form fitting t-shirts and think Good for you, kid! Let it show!”

Some of us are old enough to remember baby doll pajamas which looked like this.

And how about baby doll dresses? Peggy Olson appears in such a dress on Mad Men’s Season 5 Episode 7. She wears it to the dinner her boyfriend asks her to when she imagines he’s going to pop the question. (He pops the question all right only it turns out to be, as Joan later puts it, “Want to shack up?”)

It galled me to see her in that dress. Here she is getting so tough this season, drinking at work with the fellas and not batting an eye when that moron who does the art makes yet another reference to his private parts and now she shows up dressed like a child?

What was that in the 60s?

I’ll tell you what it was: it was an effort to infantilize us, make us into little sex kittens (minus the claws, minus the fangs) at a time when we were slowly but inexorably gaining power.

Nice try fellas. It worked, but only for a while. True, in the 70s we dressed like extras from Little House on the Prairie but then came power suits in the 80s. I’m not sure where we’ve gone since then; we can look at that another day. For now though let’s just regard these images and ask ourselves What on EARTH were we thinking? When I got married women 60 came to the wedding dressed like this! I was 21 and I knew enough to stay away from the look.

I was built more along the lines of Madman’s curvy Joan, so I stayed away from this look back in good old 20th century….

…So what on earth made me fall for it in the 21st?


Free at Last

What’s wrong with wearing odd thing on your head like I was saying yesterday? My big sister and I wore sweaters on our heads as veils every time we put on the big Baby Jesus pageant in the upstairs hallway. She was always Mary and I was always Joseph. Well a short, pudgy version of Joseph, that good sport of a guy, forever befuddled-looking in the religious art, forever stuck wearing brown.

It helped that our mom had lots of brown – she looked great in the color – and that the great aunts had lots of blue, blue being the total signature color of the BVM. (Even her eye shadow was blue they used to say around Nazareth.)

It really is fun to customize your clothes like the Catholic-school girls have been doing since Day One. And when you get to a certain age you can go all out. At the end of her life my aunt was wearing her clip-on earrings at the top of her shirt collars just because she liked the way they looked.

I myself have taken to wearing my tops backwards and it’s really workin’ for me I have to say. Spill something down the front of your top and all you have to do is swing it right around and poof the stain is gone from sight, as far as I’m concerned.

Also as the pointiest-breasted pupil in my 7th grade class….

….I’ll admit that I’m also sick to death of my own cleavage, here in a world where you practically can’t buy a top that doesn’t have a deeply scooped neck. So there again I spin ‘em around backwards, having first delicately picked the label off with an X-acto knife and EVERYONE IS FOOLED ! 
I wear high-necked bathing suits even, Spandex right to the clavicles, They’re hard to find. yes, but you really really can’t be wearing a bathing suit backwards. I’d rather go swimming looking like this:

than like this:

Yes I have to to search hard for the high-neck suits but it’s worth it. This was me at the beach this past summer (and look! I finally get to wear blue!)















(I got the wind-machine think goin’ to blow back my hair  🙂 ) 

The Man is a Prince: He Does the Dog

The phrase ‘the second shift’ refers to that whole second workday most women put in after they get home from their real jobs. I read a recently that nowadays  men are doing just as much around the house as their wives.  I certainly hope this is true.

They sure weren’t when Arlie Hochschild spent eight straight years conducting the research for her book The Second Shift. Observing daily life in the homes of 50 working couples with children, she found that only 20% of American men shared the extra work of chores and childcare while women put in an average of 15 hours a week on those tasks,  which add up to an entire month of 24-hour days. 

You could resent the heck out of your spouse living this way, but what many women do is create a ‘story’  that allows them to keep resentment at bay. One woman named Nancy explained that her husband Evan ‘did’ the downstairs while she did  the upstairs – only in their house doing the upstairs meant doing all the work relating to the kitchen, living room, dining room, bedrooms and bathrooms, while Evan, for his part, handled the garage.

Oh, and the dog. He did the dog.

But this  way of framing things allowed Nancy to think of Evan as pulling his weight. When asked by Hochschild to reflect on this, Evan said, “We don’t keep count of who does what,” quickly adding, “Whoever gets home first starts the dinner,” a statement which did not in any way line up with what Hochschild saw as a frequent visitor.

This was just their ‘story’, the ‘family myth’ as she calls it that they had devised to cover up the imbalance. “The truth was, Nancy made the dinner.”

Other husbands in her survey had stories of their own. One said, with a perfectly straight face, that he made all the pies.

“But I was brought up to do housework,” explained poor Nancy, in charge of every room in the house. “Evan wasn’t.”

And there’s the crux of it right there. As Hochschild puts it, “the female culture has shifted more rapidly than the male culture, and the image of the go-get-‘em woman has yet to be matched by the image of the let’s-take-care-of-the-kids-together man.”  

Or as Gloria Steinem said a while ago to a standingroom-only crowd of fellow Smith College graduates, “The problem is that when I go around and speak on campuses, I still don’t get young men standing up and saying, “How can I combine career and family?”

The day will come though, I feel sure – provided we work hard on raising up strong  and fair- minded little girls  – AND  get them the heck away from all that appalling sex-kitten apparel they’re showing these days in the stores.

Tomorrow I won’t be so crotchety, I promise. 🙂

A Guest at the Wedding

If you’re going to the royal wedding even in your mind. it’s not enough to make the appropriate gestures. I tried the royal wave but it just looked like I was hailing a cab.

Also you can’t just smile your same goofy smile  like some camp counselor so I got that wrong too, see?

What you have to do really  is sit up straight,

suck in your stomach,

then sit up even straighter.  

Really though?  Really it’s all about the hat.:-)

Button it Babe

In thinking about teeth yesterday I tried to  come up with elebrities who have NOT gone the caps-’n-veneers route and in doing so thought of one of our best actresses ever: Susan Sarandon who was born in 1946. believe it or not.  I looked at a dozen pictures of her and still couldn’t tell if those were still the original surfaces of her teeth we were seeing or if she’s now wearing some kind of siding on them.

Of course I actually didn’t get too FAR in my research before realizing that probably she doesn’t care all that much about her teeth since her major assets lie elsewhere, as you can see.

To this I can only say Good for you Susan. You’re a braver woman than I am.

And I’m sorry if I hurt Robert Redford fans by remarking on his big fake teeth. Certainly I’m no one to be talking about teeth with my two front ones leaning hard to the left the way they do. And teeth just darken with age, what can we say? Look in the mirror. Open your cat’s mouth. It’s true.

It’s true and it’s sad. since we have little enough left to us as we age.

Once I was a big midriff person. No more. Now the only parts of my body I expose are my knees and my shoulders, and only those because the nice round bones underneath keep the skin looking at least somewhat taut.

I was once a great one for low-cut clothes, God help me. No more o’ that either – which makes life hard since it seems like all women’s tops these days come with these deeply scooped necks. It used to annoy me to no end – until I started wearing them backwards . People keep coming up to me in the Post Office to say “Uh, do you know you have your sweater on backwards?” I know. Believe me I know.

This is me at a Come As You are Party I went to at our best pals’ house with my poofy 80s hair. I had been sitting on the back porch writing when the call came. 

And here just for fun is another shot of that fun time. That’s David on whose lap I’m sitting. He gets why I’ve buttoned up finally but I think the backwards dressing makes him a little nervous. 🙂