Friday, October 23, 2015

Rolling on the Floor with Fat People

            I should have been suspicious of any activity that requires me to be poorly dressed and voluntarily on the floor.  To get myself out of my comfort zone and experience new things, I have been telling myself to say “Yes!”, so I agreed to partake in what was called yoga/couch potato stretching with some people from my church.  Although I do not watch TV, I do read on my couch with a frequency I could keep hidden if it weren’t for my FitBit weekly report.  And while I like to believe if I were a potato, I would be a great one (perhaps twice-baked), a tater is still a tater so I said, “Sure”.  It was held at the Southern California Dance Academy and, as I danced more than most Baptists while in college, I felt I would reasonably fit in.  Ah, delusion.

            I arrived at the appointed location and time to find the small building filled to capacity with leotard-ed toddlers and tweens.  I immediately retreated to my car to wait for my friends to show up.  Bear in mind I am wearing (with extreme irony) running shorts and a t-shirt.  I did not wear a Spanx undershirt because I felt it might lead to some sort of internal organ damage should I twist inappropriately, as I am wont to do.  When bereft of my foundation garment, the excess skin from my weight loss tends to hang in an ineffective manner.  By ineffective I mean assisting in the illusion that my body is shaped normally when in reality it appears to be melting with a decidedly laissez-faire gait and path.

            The back row of the class consisted of four men from my church, plus me and a strange young man who may have inadvertently wandered in as he was ill-prepared both by his outfit and lack of mat/towel.  The front row held three actual ballerinas, one normal woman and Jeff! who was Super! Pumped! to be there.  Based on the size, shape and motor skills of the inhabitants of my row, the class could have been called “Rolling on the Floor with Fat People”, but I digress.

            We lie down on mats purchased expressly for this purpose.  Sadly they were not for napping as we did on very similar mats in kindergarten.  Once we were prostrate, I looked up and only then realized the entire wall was mirrors.  Quelle Horror!  Not only am I being viewed in clothing that leaves me feeling vulnerable especially with so few discernable seams, I am directly behind a ballerina who couldn’t be more than twelve and I’m not being sarcastic about her age; I think she was literally twelve.  As waves of self-loathing threatened to sweep over me I again took notice of those in my row.  This is what winning looks like, y’all.

            The chirpy gentleman in the teacher’s role, I will call him Snape as he is pure evil (not really), starts talking to us about how this is low-impact conditioning.  And in the beginning moments it wasn’t too bad.  However, as we made our way through the motions, I felt a bit like Judd Nelson from The Breakfast Club, on the back row with attitude, eye-rolling, a little smack talk and what can only be described as a smoker’s cough.

            Snape asked us to lift our legs but only about six inches off the floor.  Then he said to hold them there as long as we could.  I was about to reach my breaking point when he said, “For those who feel advanced enough, feel free to scissor your legs while keeping the height.”  I thought he was surely joking as my yoga-neighbors had begun to collapse around me.  However, the young man to the left of the old man began scissoring his ridiculously in-shape legs, grinning like a 14 year-old Eastern Bloc gymnast on her first trip outside of “Mother Country”.  I could see his smile as I had long ago given up on the lifting of the legs to scan the room and rest from all this impact.

            Snape walks alongside me and encourages me back down onto the floor and then asks me to elevate my pelvis, which was alarming.  I followed his instructions but apparently not to a sufficient degree so he grabs my pelvis pulling it into the air encouraging me to “Lift your hips higher! Clench your buttocks tighter! Stop growling!”  To be honest, the growls were involuntary and not so much as a way to communicate my displeasure but more a way for my body to tell the world I am not who I appear to be (i.e., reasonably in shape).

            Do you remember the Stretch Armstrong dolls from the 1980s?  You could stretch his goo-filled limbs and he would typically return to previous form.  However, if you stretched him too hard, too far or one too many times, he did not return to his original shape and you would just cut his hand off and squeeze out the goo.  At least according to my cousin Jody.  To save whomever is my handler the trauma of having to cut off an appendage and squeeze out the goo, I have decided to refrain from further stretching other than my paycheck ‘til the end of the month and the occasional truth for entertainment purposes.  It’s for the best, y’all.

            And that’s all I’m saying for now.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Isaac Mizrahi and Movable Fat

                I was bargain shopping this weekend with my birthday money and I have to put on paper some of my frustrations with men’s fashions.  Everything these days is Slim Fit, Super Slim Fit or Extreme Slim Fit.  Who is the target audience for these clothes?  I can’t even get one of these shirts to button across my chest and it’s not like I’m all bowed up like some dude from the gym.  Or at least the dudes I remember seeing at the gym, the last time I went, which was in 2010.  Oh, like you work out every day. 

                And it’s not like I’m fat.  This is the thinnest I’ve been since I was in utero.  I wear an L in some brands and an XL in others but I cannot get a XXL Hugo Boss to button across my chest.  Its’ called a sternum, people.  It’s a bone.  It’s not going to shrink and it’s not like I can just have it minimized or removed.  I don’t care what you think you read Cher did in the 1980s, sternum shaving is not a thing.

                And some of these designers I get.  Ralph Lauren is short and thin, Tommy Hilfiger is tall and thin and Calvin Klein is skeletal.  I’ve never actually seen a photo of Hugo Boss.  Let me google him.  Okay, Hugo Boss is no longer with us.  He was alive during WWII and may have been a Nazi.  Yikes!  The current designer of the Hugo Boss line is Jason Wu, an irrationally skinny designer whose dress Michelle Obama wore to the first Inaugural Ball.  I didn’t care for the dress myself.  I’m not a fan of a one-shouldered anything.  At least not since Jennifer Beals rocked her sweatshirt in Flashdance and even then it was only because she was a welder like my Dad and I felt an obligation.

                After seeing row upon row of shirts, in patterns and colors I like, only to find they were all slim fit, I was not happy.  And I noticed those I preferred were from two specifically chubby designers, Isaac Mizrahi and Michael Kors.  Micheal Kors I will let slide because (1) he looks downright slippery from far too much fake tan (his complexion is an aggressive hue I call “East Texas Mud Puddle”) and (2) Mr. Kors has shirts in Regular Fit as I have several and I love them.  I’m wearing one as I type; pink windowpane plaid and I receive many compliments each time I wear it, sometimes from other people.

                Mr. Mizrahi, on the other hand, needs to just stop it already.  His chubby butt couldn’t fit into his own shirt and for this he should be punished, but not in some vicious way, like forcing him to wear white denim or watch a “The Bachelor” marathon.  I’m not a barbarian.  I just think he should be forced to wear his own fitted shirts with the gaps between the buttons where his fat would sort of poke out and say “Hi!” much like his bangs do, except not curly.  Does fat curl?  I know fat moves.  Anyone who sat beside me on an airplane at the height of my weight can vouch for the kinetic properties of, at least my, extra pounds.

                Designers are an artistic lot and I understand they want the most attractive canvas for their work.  But who exactly is their target market?  The one pro football player who shops at Macy’s and somehow wants a raspberry gingham dress shirt?  Who is this man?  There are a few extremely well-dressed athletes but I can assure you they are not wearing off-the-rack; most of their clothes are much more high-end.

You know who is actually buying these shirts?  No one, that’s who.  How do I know this?  They are all on the double-clearance shelves in department stores and the triple-dog-dare-you clearance rack at TJ Maxx, which is where I gravitate in any store, y’all (see previous post “Uncle Dusty’s Guide to Fashion”).  I mulled over buying one anyway but I don’t think I have enough ropes and pulleys to get those shirts on my body, at least without assistance and no one wants to come by my apartment to help.  Well, not for the money I’m willing to pay. 

I guess I could go down to the Jack in the Box and find someone to do the work.  I’ve been led to believe there are illegal immigrants who will do the things Americans won’t, so I should be in good shape.   Hmmm, now I’m thinking about this, it would probably end in tears or a fine of some sort because I don’t speak much Spanish and trying to pantomime helping me put on a shirt that’s too tight might be misinterpreted as a proposal less than Christian.  
Maybe I should just stick to buying clothes that fit.  Based on the world around me with their ill-fitting garments, stretched to within a centimeter of their breaking point, this might be considered a particularly un-American proposal.  However, since some of those big girls and dudes might actually read this blog, I guess I'll hush.  And I think that's all I can safely say at this time.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Columbus: Clown, Conqueror or Both?

                 The second entry in my art wars with Andy Warhol
                 My undated portrait of Christopher Columbus is crying out for interpretation.  Firstly, did I use the Latin root ‘ifer’ meaning “bearer” as testament to his claim to be spreading the word of Christ to the natives he came across?  I assume I misspelled it intentionally as I feel pretty sure this assignment was related to Columbus Day.  I have no recollection of any particular interest in the subject other than the proximity to my birthday.  As an adult I relish it as it is a federal holiday for my government employee self.

                As to the actual portrait there are several questions.  Was the peculiarly-drawn mouth intentional to show him as a clown?  Did I know the real history behind the story we were spoon-fed in public schools across this great nation?  Did I have insight into his ‘discovery’ of a land populated with indigenous people?   Was I aware of the reality he subjugated and enslaved these same people?  Did I know the only reason the slave trade stopped was through the intervention of Queen Isabella of Spain who threatened to withdraw financial support, not from Columbus’ change of heart?  Was I knowledgeable about those he enslaved were simply the ones who survived small pox, which he introduced to their country via his sketchy sailing companions?  Did I know he was a liar, a shameless self-promoter and a general buffoon who thought the world was shaped like a pear even though at the time most educated people were aware the earth was round?  Had someone told me he offered a prize of gold to his crew for the first person to sight land but when Rodrigo de Triana reported land, Columbus stated, “Oh, I saw it last night, I just didn’t tell anyone” and then kept the gold for himself?  Did this knowledge lead me to political commentary of a kind foreign to most elementary-aged Southerners?  Was this my first inkling of a rogue mindset or simply I wasn’t very good at drawing mouths?  I do like I gave him a rakish collar and very stylish bob (it was very now in the late 1490s).  As a benevolent fashionista, I have always felt everyone needs a cute outfit regardless of the condition of their soul or their proclivity to destroy entire cultures.


                 Columbus Day 1977, was celebrated on Oct. 10.  I feel certain my drawing was completed prior to the date, but was unveiled appropriately.  On this day, Mr. Warhol spent time at socialite and designer (Princess) Diane de Beauvau’s and they gossiped about Barry Landau who, like Columbus, was a society hanger-on and obsequious glory hound.   The only person of my acquaintance with possible ties to royalty, with whom I would have spent my day, was my mother.  Because of her regal bearing, I felt strongly she was of royal lineage.   

                As Mr. Warhol spent time with an actual princess talking about a fame-seeking lothario, much like Queen Isabella surely did with her courtiers, I will give this match-up to Mr. Warhol’s favor.   Snagging a Princess is no easy feat; trust me I’ve been unsuccessful for 45 years.

                The score now reads Dusty 1, Andy 1.  I would say the race is on, but it would mean quoting George Jones and I need to ensure I remain sufficiently pretentious as to not hinder my chance at victory so this is all I’m saying for now.