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shoes_iaec1042194I hate Crocs. Always have. They were a dumb, over-bloated fad I liken to the Great Jelly Shoe Terror of 1982.

Personally, I like a well-structure shoe and am always of the opinion that feet should look like feet and not like pods.

Hence, to my utter joy, Crocs has gone bankrupt, has too much inventory it can not sell, and has now laid off one-third of its work force. Now maybe those damn ugly shoes will go away and people will get back to wearing real footwear…like flip-flops…oh hell…we all know some schmoe will buy a million of these things, bury them in his backyard only to re-surface twenty years from now when they will become “retro”.

I really hate American culture sometimes.

21691377_a13b65dbc4_bAnd while I am sorry for all those good people out there who have lost their jobs, I think back to what my dad told his brother in the late 1970’s when my uncle quit his job to become an “artist” and paint landscapes on the sides of conversion vans: “Don, you can’t make a career out of a fad.”

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As I was dressing for school today, I pulled on a thermal long sleeve shirt followed by a sweater, scarf, sock liners under my wool socks, jeans, my winter coat and hat. Since it is expected to only reach the mid-teens termperature wise, and since I would be walking all over campus today, I am wearing glove liners under my winter gloves.

I was raised in Detroit, lived in Northern Michigan for a numbers of years, headed south for while, back up north to the great state of Maine and now I’m back in the Great Lakes region. Basically this means is that I know how to dress for winter.

alexander-mcqueen-jet-crystal-bootie-styleI try not to look like a schlub in the process. I have a cute hat and a decent coat. But really, at my age, style can be damned when it comes to keeping warm and dry. This point has been particularly driven home with the severity of this winter.

So I’m sitting in my Math class next a fellow student, one who hails from the Erie area, and we’re dicsussing our future plans. I am unsure of mine as of yet, but my classmate is bound and determined to head south.

“I can’t handle the cold anymore.” Is what she tells me.

I consider this for a moment as I take in her attire: skinny jeans that barely reach her ankles, ballet slipper-shoes with no socks, a rather flimsy looking jacket that only just reaches her waist and really doesn’t stretch the length of her arms. Lastly, a filmy scarf with no evidence of mittens or hat.

Her hair and make-up is perfect. Her coat probably costs a couple hundred dollars, as does her jeans and probably her shoes. She looks polished. She looks fantastic. She also looks like she’s freezing her butt off. And it’s not as if she is new to winter. She grew up here for Dog sake.

And she is clone of dozens of other girls I see on campus every day.

My classmate goes to say how much she loves the area. She loves the spring, summer, and fall in Erie. She is close to her family. She has a tight circle of friends. She has been dating a boy for a few years (he’s from just over the New York border) and they are discussing marriage. In addition, this girl and her boyfriend have the option of working for family businesses upon graduation.

It sounds like a good life, but she really can’t stand the cold, and hence, must leave.

This puzzles me to no end. Sure, Sailor and I’ve moved around..a lot…but merely because we have been seeking community. Find a community where we belong and a reasonable job and we’ll stay put. I know myself enough to say that I’ll never live down south. I hate the heat. I know myself enough that I’ll not settle down in Erie because this just isn’t my kind of town. I know we will probably head back east eventually, not because we particularly love the harsh winters, we don’t, but because it has what Sailor and I want: a nice life around great people and reasonable employment. As far as the winter goes, well, we own good boots and thick winter coat. Plus, I rock at making a fire.

So I wonder about this classmate of mine. Out of a dozen mentioned criteria for a place to settle down, Erie has 11 things going for it and one against. The winter. 3 months out of 12. Given that, isn’t it simply much easier to, oh, I don’t know, dress appropriately for the damn cold than remove yourself entirely from a place you clearly want to be?

Where’s the sacrifice in buying a sturdy pair of boats and a wool coat when you can have everything else you really want, and let’s be honest, really need in life?

Ye, gads, the hordes of New Years Resolutionists have yet again descended upon my happy place: the gym. It’s been a slow trickle at the Y this week but I’m expecting the Monsoon to start tonight. More like a Rain of Fashion Terror.

There’s a disconnect with people and how they dress in “public” versus how they dress from the “gym”. There’s a failure to understand that the gym is public and while I’m not suggesting you go in dressing for a business meeting, I am suggesting that clean and appropriate clothing that covers your body should be the order of the day.

Please note that I am not trying to make fun of the NYR’s. They took the first step towards health and that is a good thing I wish to encourage. The following list of fashion offenses is not limited to just NYR’s. I fully admit they occur in the rest population as well. So to all you NYR’s planning on invading what I like to call my State of Grace, here’s a few gym attire tips you might want to consider:

1. BOYS! For the love of all that is holy, can you please refrain from wearing the shirt thong? And don’t pretend you don’t know what I am referring to either. That ratty old t-shirt that you should have thrown out yet somehow decided that cutting massive gaping holes from collar to hip so that your underarm hair is flying full glory when you leak your sweaty man-juice all over the damn place because you were clearly raised in a barn and are incapable of wiping down equipment…oh hell, let’s just be honest about this. You wear that shirt that way because it shows off your nipples and you have this grossly mistaken notion that peekaboo nipples on a man is hot. Which they’re not. It just makes you look like a schlub who doesn’t own an proper shirt. Do us all a favor and leave the torso-loin-cloth to the privacy of your own home.

flips2. Flip flops? In the gym? Are you mad? The rules requiring members to wear shoes exists for a reason: one, feet stink, especially in gyms; and, two, shoes provide you with a minimal chance to save your toe when someone eventually drops a very heavy weight upon it; and three, they save you a toenail or two when you trip amongst the cardio machines because you weren’t watching where you were going. So don’t go getting all pissy with me when I rat you out to the staff. It’s a liability issue and you need to get with the program.

3. Who exactly are these goons wearing jeans and construction boots into the gym? How do they even move? Granted the boots will better protect you against dumbell drop-age, but they also tend to chew up floor mats and squeak to ear-splitting decibels on floor tiles.

4. The appropriate donning of spandex, like a speedo, is a privilege and not a right. Some people really need to give themselves a good honest look in the mirror prior to venturing into the gym. I am not suggesting that only perfect bodies sport this stuff, I’m just saying that when your fat rolls pop out between your stretchy layers is precisely when nudity becomes less revealing and more modest.

nudegym5. Ladies: VPL’s under spandex? Do I really need to elaborate? How about Backside Billboards? Do we need to go there? Let’s just leave it a simple agreement, shall we? You agree not to wear short-shorts with the waistband rolled down below your hips bones and I’ll refrain from jokes about “cracks in the pavement” when you bend over to tie your shoes.

6. Sportbras are exactly that: a bra. Like the guys with the shirt thong, ladies, please, throw a shirt over it. It’s messy when you sweat, embarrassing when I can see your nipple piercings through the fabric, HILARIOUS when you over stretch and nip-slips occur, but inappropriate in a gym with a family environment. Luckily, I don’t have kids, but I would hate to have to explain the abundance of sloppy uni-boob cleavage and tramp-stamps I’ve seen to a 6 year old.

and lastly…

7. Gentlemen, please leave the t-shirts with the foul language and offensive slogans for home where you can drag your knuckles on the ground in private. Believe me when I say this is a personal safety issue. I am the last broad you want “all up in your grill” about this, or at least that’s what the jackass I had words with last summer said when it happened to him.

Please remember that you are in close quarters with others and that gym is jot an extension of your living room. The nasty, holey, ill-fitting clothes you wear to clean house, mow the lawn, and wear in front of the TV while swilling beer and watching the game is fine when it’s just you and those who are supposed to love you regardless.

However, the other strangers and I at the gym are not yours and we will not love you regardless, so please, cover that business up.

If I weren’t so devotedly female, I swear, I would give up on the endeavor entirely. Now I know why parents hope for boys, it’s because being a woman is so damn complicated.

For all my recently discovered inadequacies as of late, you know, my inability to touch my toes, breath properly, what have you, I have a new unlearned skill set to add to the ever growing list: I don’t know how to wear a bra.

Yeah, I know, I was shocked too. How do you fuck up something as simple as wearing a bra?

It started innocently enough, I was window shopping with Sailor Man on our weekend away and came across a frilly-frilly lingerie boutique. Since Sailor Man has been exceptionally wonderful as of late, I thought I would treat him to a little frou-frou-fun-fun lingerie shopping. But while trying to determine size and shape, nothing I was trying on was working. So in sweeps The Shop Matron who informs me I was wearing my bra “All wrong, completely wrong. Really, honey, how do you get through life like that?”.

I spent the next hour being prodded, poked, felt up in a very Molly Ringwald/Sixteen Candles kinda way, measured and fitted. I protested, really I did, but you can not fight The Shop Matron. Think of a WWII German tank with hands and you’ll get the picture. Sailor Man wisely slunk into the book store across the street. The mood, needless to say, was ruined.

I don’t feel too bad about it though. Apparently most women wear their bra improperly, hell some even the wrong size, so I’m in good company. Slouchy and incorrectly fitted, perhaps, but good company all the same.

And my bustline, baby, has never looked better.

Winter clothes shopping. I hate shopping. I try to buy off the internet as much as humanly possible, but when you’re an athletic woman with an athletic build, you have to actually go to the store and try crap on if you want to find something that actually fits.

So I have this wedding next weekend. I have the dress I’m going to wear to the ceremony, but I need something casual, yet nice, for the dinner the night before. I head to the Mall, manage to navigate the parking lot amidst all the freakin’ motorcoaches from Canada (can someone tell me what the hell is up with that anyway), and head into Macy’s.

I grab about a dozen dresses in various shades of grey and black and head into the changing room. I’m grabbing anything from a size 10 to a size 14. I find if something fits around my shoulders and arms, then it’s swinging like a bell down below. And if I try for something that fits the hips on down, then I can’t fit my arm through the sleeve. So multiple sizes are required.

A few salesperson were nice enough to grab different sizes and help zip, but we all had a moment of pause when I came out of the changing room in spaghetti strap dress to check myself in the large mirrors. Under the ever-so-attractive lighting that are in dressing rooms, what can I say? I looked like an inner-city, trannie hooker in a dress.

The next one fared much better. Less like a transexual and more like an NFL linebacker. Still, I remained optimistic and pushed on.

The next dress had puffy sleeves. Seinfeld jokes aside, and the obvious rant about the infantalization of women by the fashion industry, my shoulders are so broad that the sleeves started somewhere around my ears. I didn’t even bother zipping. Next, next and next!

Last dress. Halter top, black, knit. Fits shoulders because there are no shoulders, knit so that it fits everywhere else. Black, because it came in no other color and when you are as pale as the Mistress of Death, like me, not much else seems to work. 

It also looks like everything else I have in my closet.

Sigh, the search continues.

mannequin3.jpg 

Ladies, if I could have your attention, please, we have a few short announcements:

1. In case you haven’t heard, we’re all supposed to be 6 feet tall now, so do remember when you go shopping for pants, that you will have to add on an additional $10 for hemming. I know, the average woman is still only 5’2, but please, work with us.

2. Oh, and to further fufill that height requirement, poorly made, stilleto heels will be available for you at a price comparable to your monthly grocery bill.

3. In addition to the pants that only cover you one inch above your crotch, high waisted pants that didn’t look good back in the 80’s are now back to  further embarass you as well.

4. Large sized clothing will now be cut to fit smaller frames, but for convenience sake, will retain the “large” size tag.

5. Fitting rooms will continue to have garish lighting and mirrors tilting at a downward angle, so rest assured, you’ll still look like a troll in whatever you try on.

6. Customer service at retail establishments will continue to be snarky, unhelpful, and will never have your size.

7. Oh, new development, shirts this year will be empire cut and balloon shaped, however, you arms must now be the size of broom handles in order for the sleeves to fit.

8.  This year grey will be the new pink, and yellow will be the new brown.

9. Now, just a reminder: you are required to wear oddly hued tights with high-heeled ankle boots. Please check with your insurance company regarding coverage for high risk activities, because we’re fairly certain that emergency room visits for ankle sprains, ligament tears, and cut appendages are not covered.  

These rules are subject to change without prior notification and management shall not be held responsible for the bitching, complaining, any and all ensuing eating disorders, and violence against department store clerks.

Thank you for your continued cooperation and have a good day.