I was in the mood for an orgy of consumerism. It had been a while since I got myself did so I made a hair appointment downtown and planned to buy myself a sweet new outfit. Going through the pages of glossy top selling magazine at the hair salon for an idea of what blouse would go best with an A line skirt I found myself instead assaulted with advertisements for shit I can’t afford and the knowledge that my big toes may not be sufficiently alluring. Trips into most department stores are like a safari of despair. I tried buying jeans at a Forever 21 once. They all had flies with a half inch zipper.
“Awesome.” I thought. “If I could just keep my vagina in a safety deposit box in Albuquerque, New Mexico I would fit into these fucking things.”
After managing to molt out of the tiny denim hell pants I then took myself to the local H&M to try on one of the sexy button down dresses in the window. In the dressing room I attempted to get the fasteners over my vast tits and promptly shredded the front of it. I snuck out, hid the tattered dress on a rack and went home to contemplate eating disorders. Then I decided every retailer could just kiss my ass and ate Frito Pie while watching Dark City. Lather, Rinse, Repeat.
It’s hard, Isn’t it? You’re a nerdy girl. You are self aware, well read, dedicated to furthering yourself as a human being and collecting Carla Speed McNeil originals. You can hold forth on topics that range from social customs of the late 17th century to the class dynamics in Battle Angel Alita. There is no room in the lofty, intellectual world of geek culture for the frivolity of fashion! What you wear doesn’t matter!
And yet you totally think Christian Louboutin makes the hottest shoes ever.
There has always been a perception about us nerd-wads that we couldn’t dress our way out of a paper bag. The image painted of genre lovers is one of the hulking, mouth breathing, greasy hambeast in a Sailor Moon outfit three sizes too small clutching a Naruto plush doll. That image is for the most part bullshit and yet it persists. Although to be honest the general culture of fashion and beauty can be just as guilty as we are. Remember a few months ago when it was all the rage to wear velour track suits with “Juicy” embroidered across the ass? I do. I wish I didn’t but I do.
But what to do? If you are a nerd looking for interesting new ways to dress yourself in a way not shameful and humiliating to yourself and others or other girly health and beauty content you may, like myself, feel left out in the cold. Fashion shows and beauty magazines are useless for advice. The general tone of most style guides is somewhere between the first day of preschool orientation and that health class in middle school where they sent the boys out of the room so a woman five times your age could tell you you were “Becoming a woman” and “Flowering” and all the other euphemism she had to use because the school board can’t stomach the word “Vagina”.
For example a quick trip to Cosmo.com brought up an article that says it can make me “Feel So Freakin’ Sexy”. In a section detailing how to be freakin’ sexy while in your own home watching a movie with your guy I come across the recommendation to:
“Give each other hand massages. They aren’t so distracting that you’ll miss the action, but the physical connection will make your bodies hum.”
Is that what we are calling them now? Because I’ve received hand massages during a film and I wasn’t paying attention to what was on the scre- Oh wait, they mean actually massaging each others actual hands. My bad. I was thinking of something different.
Anyway, my point is that for most of us lady nerds most Fashion rags don’t cut it. The cutesy, condescending language is off putting and the fashion advice useless to a group of women who for the most part would rather stand out instead of conform to a strict and narrow idea of hip modern style. We want to look good but not look exactly the same. Yet everyone needs help sometimes picking out a flattering dress or new way to style our hair.
A few months ago I was in a Body Shop with my friend Pancha trying to decide on a new shade of lipstick. The incredibly helpful lady in the make up section applied a shade of pink to my lips and stepped back.
“Oh that one looks pretty nice!” The clerk beamed.
Out of the side of my mouth I muttered to Pancha. “Does this look pretty nice?”
“Sure” She said. “It looks nice if you are the sort of person who gives hand jobs behind the 7-11″
“Christ.” I scrubbed the pigment off of my lips and bought a new eyeshadow instead.
It’s my most fervent hope that in the following series of articles that we all can have a conversation about style that is fun and relevant instead of demeaning and restrictive. That we can openly discuss how to look smoking hot while not feeling like our bodies are ugly and wrong. Because as my mother once put to me as I sat weeping in a department store dressing room: “There isn’t anything wrong with you. It was just a bad top for your figure. Now buck up. This is supposed to fun not make you upset. Something is out on that floor. We just haven’t found it yet.”
So let’s find some good stuff shall we? It’s out there somewhere and if I don’t know where the best dresses can be found for tall girls with big hips then I’m sure one of you readers will.
(And as for you gentlemen who may be reading, don’t worry. I’ll get to you too.)