Girl, yuh gone

This is not the super fabulous popcorn movie review site, but I’ll try my best. I have been resisting the urge to watch any film not a Mission Impossible installation, but after watching someone’s walls cave in as she was faced with a crumbling marriage, I relented. I took her to see the film Gone Girl, this afternoon.

My aim was to illustrate to her that her marriage problems were not easily fixable and that she needed to not ask her friends and family to persuade him to stay. It is disrespectful and he’ll definitely react against any form of emotional blackmail. He said he wanted a one year separation and I advised her to go with it, along with a detailed separation contract so that she’s not financially supporting her husband’s mistress. It’s sound advice, which is what I thought she wanted but she says its impossible to agree to be separated because they’re married. Completely twisted logic, at which point I thought I would stop giving any more advice.

Her priest, relatives, mentors and attorneys have already advised her to get a divorce. “You’re being abused. Don’t put up with it.” I asked her what she thought of this advice and she says she’ll allow him any number of mistresses and help repay his huge debts if he stays in the marriage. This was said even as she was aware that her husband’s Disney World trip with another woman was marked in his calendar. Even as the repayment notices are piling up in her post box, she has asked everyone around her to cheer her on and guarantee results in the situation. Then she complained that he casually had breakfast, which she prepared for him, just minutes before leaving with his stuff. Insane, right? Now you know how I felt. I was screaming in my head as I calmly listened to all that. Lots of women behave like this when they should be losing their patience.

As I’ve discussed in October, a woman in love is her own worst enemy. My cousin will end up in exactly this position someday, and she is already incapable of seeing her situation objectively or hearing any reasonable advice. I found the film, Gone Girl, to be underwhelming for the hype. (What is it with the US media and the silly, over the top reaction to nothing in particular?)

However, there are valuable lessons to be learned. The story situates the characters at the lowest point of anticlimax. They are crushed by the weight of failure, but refuse to comfort each other. As it turns out, they loved their own avatars. Ben Batfleck’s character is a type of guy who demands, even believes that he is entitled to, the hottest woman in town. He believes his awesomeness will convince the woman to relinquish her right to a perspective. His every pronouncement is ambrosia, his bodily secretions are nectar.

Hotness. You don’t marry a person’s body parts. You marry their being. This is someone you trust with your life, but most people I know are not honest enough to admit they get caught up in that checklist of physical, sociocultural and financial assets. In doing so, they ignore the seed of bigger problems that’ll explode in the marriage later. The mistakes are made over and over again. The lessons are never learned.

Any woman can let a man talk and talk about his dreams and visions and go along with them to win his approval. But how many men would marry a woman who says, “You are a deluded wanker. Find something else to do”? Women are taught that it’s important to support a life partner no matter what, and many are prepared to lie to “get” one. Rosamund Pike’s character is interesting because she knows that her husband wants to be fed lies, which he needs to prop up his fragile ego. He’s prepared to marry a pathological, manipulative vampire in order to get his ego stroked. She needs to go darker and darker in order to maintain the first lie, which is that she thinks he’s awesome.

Lying requires a lot of energy. Ben Batfleck’s character needs a buxom young girl who is easily influenced to help him with his self esteem problem. He trained his mistress by overwhelming her with attention. After that, he fed her the “us” fantasy so she could self delude on her own time. He let her believe that frantic assignations in his office would guarantee his love and devotion. He should have thought of this strategy the first time around, and married a young, naive girl. But he lied to himself in the first place, thinking he was Batman enough to take on a sophisticated, overexposed woman and force her to submit to his mediocre ideations. “I’m better than you, and I can control you.” He does not have what it takes to achieve this, because she had the jump on him from “hello.”

The person I saw the movie with said it was a timely intervention. She then set about creating a social media account to keep up with the mistress. Her husband got it right with her, his second time around the marriage wheel. He took advantage of her inexperience and rigid thinking, and overwhelmed her with his physical and professional achievements. Fifteen years later, she is prepared to endure anything because her mother in law assured her he will come back, eventually, “dead or alive.” Cold comfort.

Batfleck’s problem is that he’s not a smooth operator. He figured he would ask an overly pampered muse “for a divorce.” Because life’s that simple, right? Use the woman and discard her when she is straining to hold it together for you. The bulk of the film shows his acknowledgement of the fact that he traded his freedom for undeserved praise. He was insane to think that any woman needy enough to go along with his delusions would not devolve into a bloodthirsty psychopath.

Are you looking at me?

untitled-26.jpg

Photograph, “26” [The photographer himself].

untitled-23.jpg

Photograph, “23”.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/98546018@N06/9225519861/

Photograph, “29”.

untitled-18.jpg

Photograph, “18”.

When we look directly at someone’s face, we offer the person inclusion, appreciation, and acceptance. A look can say, “Are you alright?” “You look good,” “I trust you,” or “I like you.” We know that when we look at others, we will hold them, and the contexts in which we see them, in our memory.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/98546018@N06/9228285870/

Photograph, “24”.

untitled-13.jpg

Photograph, “13”.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/98546018@N06/11845923443/

Photograph, “1533”.

A look can be an entire conversation in itself, or a tentative invitation to start one. We don’t look directly at people we don’t accept, appreciate or value. We hold them in our field of vision, but make sure to look away when they face us, look off to the sides as we walk by them; anything to avoid the reflective glare of disdain from the other.

EPSN1538_E01

Photograph, “1538”.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/98546018@N06/15324091540/

Photograph from “Trip to Hisakajima”.

The participants looking into the photographer’s lens are engaged in a conversation. They’re displaying various levels of engagement, but they are looking right at him. Their expressions are non confrontational. They’re saying, “Alan, you’re alright. Drop by anytime.”

https://www.flickr.com/photos/98546018@N06/9224532287/

Photograph, “7”.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/98546018@N06/9227325766/

Photograph, “14”.

All photographs courtesy Alan Clayton WilliamsVeritalens, Tokyo & Nagasaki, Japan.

Appreciation

One dimensional colouring is something inexperienced artists get stuck doing even though they’re great at sketching. Later, they get disheartened when their work isn’t admired, even after spending countless hours working on a canvas. In an after hours tutorial last month, I asked painters to choose four colours they didn’t like. What colour isn’t a flower? The next challenge was to use up all the colours they’d squeezed out of the tubes. They were to use them together on the canvas without blending.

Before we start, let's get our acrylics together.

They protested at first, but eventually saw my point: Pink is equivalent to “a colour you like”. Pink flowers will get stale or boring really fast because we’ve seen them before. One artist was brilliant. She’d improved on her past work and practiced a new skill. She tossed the brush and used the back of a spoon and a knife, as I had taught her to do in previous sessions. Even after she was showered with compliments, her response was “Oh, did I do something interesting? I’m not sure.” I can’t stand false modesty (compliment fishing) but what’s worse is a total lack of self belief. I’m not going to chase after a person and tell them how great they are a second time.

We paint life experiences, friends, acquaintances, strangers and loved ones the way we want to see them. But when we do that we miss the chance to make ordinary experiences feel new and exciting. My advice is simple. Use your voice effectively to create a beautiful world in which others appreciate your talent, beauty and wholesomeness. It’s time to start writing our own happy ending. What don’t you expect will make you happy? How don’t others define you? Choose four things. Experience them all together without trying to blend in.

When you look at your work just before you post it to the world, or at your reflection in the mirror just before you step outside, know that in that moment no one is more worthy than you are to share your experience.

A Word …

Bitch!

I’m livid, so many more words. This person gives scientists, researchers and educated women a bad name. Sheltered little girls like her are why I stayed out of academia. I thought her takedown was a done deal in April when it was clear her research was faked. There are things you can’t grind your way out of Haruko!!!!!

I’m shocked to hear that she’s only just resigned in December. There are qualified people out there who must jump through hoops to get rejected and there she is lolling about in self satisfied, sanctimonious, blame ducking swank.

She must give really good head to hang on to her job and her PhD for so long. Or, her employers were very careful to investigate before assigning blame. But wait. That’s not right. She’s an adult with a PhD so why are a bunch of men holding her hand?

I bet you when she meets people she leads with “I’m Dr Obokata.” I know the type well. They’re so insecure, they feel they have a right to not be spoken to and they act as though conversing with people with bachelor’s degrees will make them less Holy.

I spent a month in Spring ranting and thundering about this bitch and I don’t want to hear about her anymore. May she simmer in unemployed hell until the End of Days. Then I want to fork her myself. If she gave head to get a position, I’m sure her Professor Sugar Daddies will pick up the slap. Sorry, slack. What will she do now without Prada?

Face palm, out.

TOKYO – The Japanese researcher whose claim of a major breakthrough in stem cell research was discredited resigned after the government lab where she worked failed to replicate her results.

Haruko Obokata said in a statement Friday that she was leaving the Riken Center for Developmental Biology after the lab concluded the stem cells she said she had created probably never existed. The center said it had stopped trying to match Obokata’s results.

“Now, I am just exhausted. For the results to end this way is just perplexing,” she said.

Obokata initially was lauded for leading the research that raised hopes for a discovery of a simple way to grow replacement tissue. But questions about the validity of the research prompted Riken scientists, including Obokata, to retract two scientific papers.

A V P (It’s got to be real)

Timiny
Do you love me?

Hubby
What?!

Timiny
I love Tim-Tams.” If you love me, just tell me and stop being a pussy about it.

Hubby
Timineth, please! You know I didn’t mean any….

Timiny
We go at it like caged rabbits every Tuesday from three to four…

Hubby
…thing by it.

Timiny
…while your wife’s chatting with her mates from uni, downstairs. And don’t tell me it’s my highest service.

Hubby
You’re asking me to commit to an uncommitted situation.

Timiny
You’re xyzing your way out of the situation. Don’t treat me like a convenient sugar high. I’m not an Australian chocolate treat.  I’m a person.

Hubby
This is difficult.

Timiny
What is difficult? Not have people around you bow and scrape while passive aggressively sucking up to you? Sir.

Hubby
That’s not fair. You can’t use that against me.

Timiny
You can’t have it both ways. You wanted me, you have me. It’s … it’s your prerogative. Even though I have no say in the matter, it means something to me to give myself to you. I need you to acknowledge that.

Hubby
I did not force you.

Timiny
Are you serious? I’m a woman of colour who happens to be your wife’s Lady in Waiting. I’m not in a position to say “no”, no? When so much has been given to me.

Hubby
You have rights…

Timiny
Do you know what you’re saying? I signed them away with the Official Secrets Act. My only way out of this hot mess is off the London Bridge!

Hubby
That’s not…

Timiny
Your wife’s a robot. And you’re acting like one, too.

Hubby
I can’t …

Timiny
If I have to do you doggy style every Tuesday, with staff eavesdropping, I would like to have some dignity in the situation.

Hubby
Timineth, I’m sorry. I’ve let … I’ve let … let you down.

Timiny
Say something else.

The Church II

No man waits in time alone?
Carmine shadows row o’er my soul
A coat of mail, the silver breams
Fretfully it hastens fretful gleam
In gothic passages taxis bloom’d
While now it grips, the dark, am doom’d

EPSN2426

Photograph, “2426” and all following, by Alan Clayton Williams, Nagasaki, Japan.

EPSN2417

Photograph, “2417”.

DSCF5255

Photograph, “5255”.

EPSN2434

Photograph, “2434”.

Time to deflate

WW
This just came to me yesterday. CBS has a position open for GMA, and I want to go for it. So, I’m here to see if or rather, what I can use to make myself a shoo-in.

Krajeck
First of all, you need to be robust. How’s your health?

WW
I’m managing. I’m on a new healthful diet. At the moment, I’m going vegan for a month to do a health special for the show.

Krajeck
How’s it going so far?

WW
It’s a challenge, but I want to stick to it. It makes me need less medication because I don’t have the processed food toxins and preservatives in my body.

Krajeck
So when does it end?

WW
I’m on the last week, and I want to continue because I feel great.

Krajeck
The reason I asked is that definitely, the one month trial will go over well with the CBS executives. How did you document it?

WW
I have a video diary that I recorded with Glass. I thought that for the Google endorsement I would do something that people can relate to. Everyone eats, and most people are struggling with high blood pressure, diabetes and weight problems.

Krajeck
Excellent. Can you send us the raw footage? Instead of using your YouTube or Google Plus accounts, you will need to promote it through some of our other CBS connected clients: Chefs, journalists, and documentary filmmakers. We use their websites and social media feeds. The keywords are health, managing chronic illness, career and smart living. You will interview vegan chefs, nutritionists, endocrinologists and ordinary people going through the same issues. I can get one of them to make a film about you reporting on your experience. He is a genius. We bury Glass under the credits, so it’s not obvious you’re doing an endorsement.

WW
Okay. Alright, but I’m not sure that I have enough time to work on a documentary.

Krajeck
My people will do the interviews with the individuals I’ve mentioned. You’ll need to read the narration, which we can draft with you. We can green screen you into the interview sets later so it looks like you were there. Then, we can add snippets of you in a vegan cooking class, and in a candid group chat with some audience members who are vegan. Do it after your upcoming Monday show. We can write the advertisement copy for you.

WW
You think super fast! I’m just so relieved there’s a way to do this.

Krajeck
That’s why you’re here, isn’t it? We will need to take over your after-work life this week. You’ll need to postpone everything on your schedule that’s not strictly show related, and delegate everything but the essentials. We will invite some nutritionists to your home for lunch or dinner and shoot footage. We need new head shots of you.

WW
Okay. Are you thinking I’ll need to change my look?

Krajeck
In terms of fashion, you’re on cue. We don’t want you looking age appropriate. But we might want to tone down on a few things, so you’re more natural looking. A braided chignon, bring down your hemlines and heel heights a bit, maybe some ballet flats, leather and copper accessories over gold and silver. We’ll have to redefine your color palette and bring in a new team of stylists. Women stylists. Male stylists dress you the way they see women: As making too much of an effort. You need to dress the way women see themselves.

WW
I hear a … Okay. I can manage that.

Krajeck
A correspondent’s job is active. You’ll need to be robust, because there’s going to be a lot of literally walking around and talking to people of all ages, from all walks of life. They all need to be able to relate to you. If you look untouchable, that will destroy your chemistry with people.

WW
Alright.

Krajeck
You’ll have to reduce your cup size by half of what it is now. I’m sorry but those enormous boobs make you look stupid. They’re practically under your chin. You have to get rid of them. I see the expression on your face, but rather than tell you that, CBS will not even consider your application, or they will interview you and not give you the job. If you want to make yourself into an anchor, you’ll have to deflate.

WW
I know. You’re not inappropriate. It’s just strange hearing it from outside of my head. It’s why I was hesitant to apply.

Krajeck
Your clothes, hair and makeup are the very minimum.

WW
What do you mean?

Krajeck
Do you want to be a CBS anchorwoman?

WW
Let us say I do the reduction.

Krajeck
You would need to do it right away.

WW
There’s no guarantee I’ll get the job.

Krajeck
Let’s examine your motives, first of all. If you’re going for an anchor position for the money, it’s a bad idea.The sacrifices are too great.

WW
At this stage, for me, it’s the prestige. I get the feeling that a woman who is fifty something needs a more uplifting occupation than gossiping about Kardashian butt implants.

Krajeck
I agree, and I’m not a conservative. So you can just imagine your average CBS viewer. At an average age of 57, you’re in a room full of your peers. They’re not looking up to you. You’ll have to give up standup shows in Vegas. You could do stage plays, and we can play up your previous appearances for your presentation. You cannot be seen in a bikini or skimpy clothing, anywhere. Delete anything problematic from your phone and media libraries. As for what is online we will scrub data for you.

WW
Thank you.

Krajeck
You will have to commit to the changes even if you get turned down. It might be a test to see how committed you are to a new career. CBS likes to play head games. They’ll build up your rival to test viewer reaction or create buzz, drop them at the last minute and shoo you in. Instant ratings spike.

WW
Wouldn’t they do that to me, then?

Krajeck
Only if you don’t deflate. Then, you’d be cannon fodder. You could use it to boost ratings for your show, but if you don’t get the anchor position, you’ll be the “woman who didn’t get the CBS job.” That’s too risky. You’ve lived a charmed life so far, young lady. This is a new level of the game. That’s why you came to a professional matador to tire out the bull. So, do you want to be a CBS anchorwoman?

WW
Yes. I’m just…breast reduction is going to hurt!

Krajeck
You’ll be fine. You have access to the best medical professionals. You might have to commute to your show from hospital with a medical team in the week after the procedure. That means, you won’t see your family at home until you’re healed. I suggest spending next week preparing. Then, in the following taping three shows in a row on the Monday and Tuesday, and take the weekend off from Wednesday. Five days post op recovery. Your Monday show will be the vegan special.

WW
That’s a lot to take on. The risk of complications, infection, and adverse reaction to anaesthesia. And they might not hire me. This is scary.

Krajeck
Endless pain for boundless gain. Thereafter, life will be less baby back ribs and more boiled chicken. Literally. You cannot change your body size once you start the job. Whatever you’re doing now diet wise, you’ll have to stick to it. Audiences react negatively to weight fluctuations.

WW
Wow. I thought this was going to be a slice of pie. I was dead wrong.

Krajeck
You may never eat a slice of pie again.

A Bad (body on) Loan

Amresh
No, no, no. Put that down. Come over here.

Lolly
You promised me I could have as much as I want.

Amresh
Give it to me.

Lolly
Just… Don’t kiss me, I had my lips injected.

Amresh
If you take that, you’re going to get loopy and I don’t want you to say I forced you.

Lolly
Why would I say that? Let me have some.

Amresh
You have a reputation for being unreliable.

Lolly
I showed up, didn’t I? One taste. I won’t get loopy, I promise.

Amresh
You have a poor work ethic.

Lolly
What? You’re paying to spend time with me for the weekend.

Amresh
This is what I mean. You promised me, and now you look like you don’t want to be here.

Lolly
I’m not like that, I just need a little bit to tide me over. I had a long plane ride.

Amresh
The flight over on my private jet was luxury.

Lolly
I’m so sorry, but I’m too ill to perform. I should see a doctor. He’d want me to rest.

Amresh
Do you think it’s easy to sneak five hundred grams of pure Columbian white powder? You’re not taking that. Are you going to strip off, or what?

Lolly
I don’t understand why you’re being so difficult. I need it to get in the mood. Come on.

Amresh
I’m being difficult? You really made fucking around and not working into an art form.

Lolly
I went out with your son, like you asked, and took him to 10AK in Southampton where the paparazzi could see him.

Amresh
Are you kidding me?! My lawyer handed you five hundred thousand dollars in cash in that Christian Dior purse. I already bought you a new apartment.

Lolly
Yeah! No. I did everything we talked about. I told people he was my boyfriend, like you asked. That covers the apartment.

Amresh
I paid one million dollars for giving my son media exposure.

Lolly
I’m bored. I’m so bored.

Amresh
The five hundred thousand in cash is for this weekend. You want to tell me you’re not down?

Lolly
It’s just pocket change to you. You paid me to hang out.

Amresh
You don’t have any gratitude for everything I’ve done for you? That Brazilian guy told me that you screwed him for sixty thousand. I saw you with that Italian. He’s married, so don’t tell me he’s your boyfriend.

Lolly
Why not just tell your friends you screwed me? Isn’t that enough? I’ll send you some naked photos. Here, you can show them to your friends.

Amresh
This is the one Pegasus did. It’s artsy….I don’t want that, everyone has that. No. That’s not sexy. You look old.

Lolly
Is that Bollinger? Can I have some?

Amresh
This is bad. People said you were an Arab tollbooth, but why do they think you’re a slut? You’re broke and won’t even sleep with me for money. Right, I already paid you.

Lolly
You’re just a sad old man with a little prick. Where are you going to put that?

Amresh
You’re a washed-up actress. Your body isn’t worth five hundred thousand. You’ve probably got sores somewhere.

Lolly
I don’t want your jizz.

Amresh
Forget the mall opening tomorrow.

Lolly
We have a contract. I have to show up.

Amresh
My holding company gave you the contract. I am the owner of that mall, you drugged up drunk bitch.

Lolly
I’m not an alcholic.

Amresh
I hope the money lasts, you ungrateful bitch.

Lolly
How about a handjob? Between friends?

Amresh
I can’t call you a whore. You’re useless. You can forget becoming a movie star again. I’m buying the best publicists and they’ll sink you like a stone.

Lolly
Whatever…

Amresh
Get out. You’re nastier than sores of smallpox. You’re an ungrateful blood sucking bitch.

Here comes Cabbage (It’s got to be real)

Peas
I’m here!

Cabbage
No you’re bleeding not. You’re stuck in Antarctica on my wedding day. I so envy you. I wish I could run away.

Peas
Cheer up, darling. My credit card still works. Did you get the package!

Cabbage
How do you pronounce this? I’m such an embarrassment. I don’t know French.

Peas
You’ve got a posh man who loves you as you are. He’s such a darling pie.

Cabbage
I only knew he was the Sixteenth Earl Duhaney after I agreed to marry him. I thought he was a poor soldier waiting for a commission. What is this?

Peas
Try it on. The King’s going to witness your marriage ceremony. How mental is that?

Cabbage
Small wedding, I said. To get away from the pomp. Because you know.

Peas
Stop flopping about.

Cabbage
How? What are all these?

Peas
Were you wearing some of those lacy knickers I sent you when he proposed?

Cabbage
Well, yes. But he hadn’t seen them.

Peas
I’m telling you. They’re magical. Men can totally tell when I’ve got expensive knickers on.

Cabbage
I can’t bring myself to buy those things.

Peas
That’s why I got you a year’s supply. Plus, Kiki de Montparnasse was having a seventy percent off sale. I grabbed everything.

Cabbage
The… Two hundred pounds?!!! This is a pair of shorts. Are you mad, Penelope?

Peas
Well you’re posh now. And it was seven hundred before.

Cabbage
This is wrong! These knickers cost more than my dress.

Peas
Is that the jacquard and lace one? They’ve got boning. Keep your tummy in. Oh, wait. Don’t wear those. Crap! I forgot baby.

Cabbage
I’m only two months along. It’s a bean.

Peas
A Beane! I’m glad you’ve found your sense of humour. Alright. I’ll get you a new set. ASOS maternity. Very British. Solid middle class.

Cabbage
You’re such a snob.

Peas
Put the suspenders straps through your pants legs. Go on.

Cabbage
Don’t they go over like in the movies?

Peas
You can’t go to the bathroom if you do that.

Cabbage
Give me a sec. Wait. Is this the front or the back?

Peas
Check the tag. Remove the price tag.

Cabbage
Crap, I’m sweating. What if the Queen rings me up? I can’t very well be wearing suspenders in front of her. Please, I can’t do it.

Peas
Let me show you.

Cabbage
Not this. This. I just want it to be me and him. Not this institution.

Peas
Stop it. He didn’t want you for that. He wanted you for you. This is just window dressing. He wants you there, Therese. Just you. Close your eyes. Do the day and then it’s off to the cottage.

Cabbage
It’s a manor. With staff. The staff have staff.

Peas
That’s quite a mess you’ve got yourself into.

Cabbage
Right.

Peas
I can’t wait to get back for a visit! Pluck up, get dressed and march your skinny gluten free out of wedlock preggie bottom to Church. Have you told her yet?

Cabbage
No. She’ll go ballistic when she finds out. “Pregnant out of wedlock. The Church of Ingerlund.”

Peas
I can’t wait to find out what shade of purple she turns into. At least the entire world wide web hasn’t seen your bare boobs. She knows we’ve all seen her flat arse in a bikini bottom. Keep that in mind when you’re getting dressed down.

Cabbage
Alright. Walk me through this Kiki …

Peas
… de Montparnasse.

Cabbage
… again.

The Church

Narushima Trip
Photograph from “Narushima”.

Narushima Trip
Photograph from “Narushima”.

There’s a tiny island off the coast of Nagasaki Prefecture, Japan.
It is called Narushima. There are only twelve children on the island.
Three of them are Christians.
All photos courtesy Alan Clayton Williams/Veritalens.

Trip to Hisakajima
Photograph from “Trip to Hisakajima”.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/98546018@N06/15507663721/
Photograph from “Trip to Hisakajima”.

Trip to Hisakajima
Photograph from “Trip to Hisakajima”.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/98546018@N06/15323907269/
Photograph from “Trip to Hisakajima”.

We define “church” in emotional terms as a sanctuary or place of refuge. Objectively speaking, it’s a box. We hide under boxes to shield ourselves from thoughts and feelings in an unsafe world. These boxes take various forms, like personal, familial and political allegiances. However, they all serve the same purpose. They allow us to escape the messy work of negotiating our lived experiences. From the safety of boxes we insist that it’s acceptable to judge, blame and even deceive others. I bear the scars from painful lived experiences and I sometimes seek refuge in that dark, familiar place when a memory is triggered. But I’ve learned that boxes don’t just shut out pain. Sometimes they obscure the radiance and the splendour of unconditional acceptance and love.

Trip to Hisakajima
Photograph from “Trip to Hisakajima”.

When you know it’s real (It’s got to be real)

Locker
Your lips taste like honey… Do you want me to stop?

Cabbage
No.

Locker
You smell good. Your hair is so soft.

Cabbage
Thank you.

Locker
Let’s make a baby.

Cabbage
What?!

Locker
You can go on maternity leave in six months if we start right now.

Cabbage
I’d be on maternity leave in two places. Not that I’m considering this.

Locker
I have a big commission coming up. We can get married if you like. Lots of travel benefits, free health care. Royal Box seats at the Royal Ascot, if you’re into that.

Cabbage
Working for them’s bad enough.

Locker
Well… live in my cottage in the country. Look after the baby; do whatever you want to do.

Cabbage
This is … you want to give that all to me? Just like that

Locker
Of course, Therese, and it’s not just like that.

Cabbage
I thought you came in here to get laid.

Locker
It’s … I didn’t.

Cabbage
I’m not…

Locker
Not what?

Cabbage
I’m not even pretty.

Locker
You’re absolutely right. You’re stunning.

Cabbage
Stop it. Are you having a laugh at the ugly girl?

Locker
You’re gorgeous. Let’s have a stunning gorgeous baby together and you can be free of this tyranny.

Cabbage
It’s a double-salaried tyranny. With a fellowship coming after.

Locker
You can spend my salary. I’ve got enough for generations.

Cabbage
Don’t make fun. I’m not a gold digger. This a great job and I’ve got a year and a half left.

Locker
Love versus ambition. It gets me every time.

Cabbage
I could really go places with my career.

Locker
You are places. What if you joined the armed forces as a consultant nurse administrator?

Cabbage
I can do that?

Locker
Yes. Set up an LLC and promote yourself as a doer of medical administration deeds. It would take you around the world.

Cabbage
But I don’t have the connections. I wouldn’t know where to start. I’m not a Posh Bitch.

Locker
Let me take care of researching connections. Can you research the startup?

Cabbage
You’re going to help me set up so I can travel the world.

Locker
It’s what you want, right? A career?

Cabbage
I’m confused. You said let’s make a baby. And now you want me travelling.

Locker
Marry me.

Cabbage
I barely know your first name.

Locker
It’s Heston Beane. I swear to you. I’ll do what it takes to make your dreams come true. I know you’re miserable here. I hate the way she talks to you. It devastates me.

Cabbage
Aren’t you miserable, too?

Locker
I was always miserable. But a close friend asked me for a favour.

Cabbage
You’re going to be miserable after you get to know me.

Locker
I’m going to be miserable if you don’t let me.

The Glamour Politic

For me, fashion is artistic, personal and philosophical expression. It is also an efficient way of doing impression management. If I have a message to convey and I don’t have the time to start a small riot, I use my clothes to address a wide audience. It’s more efficient to speak to the subconscious, as visual messages sneak past the filtering of the conscious mind.

Thanks to a post by a lovely fashion blogger, I came to understand that I am actually “normcore.” This is especially true in winter. I used to be dressy and still like to think I am, but nowadays clothes make up a catalogue of my personal history.

Therefore, clothes help us to present our worldview at any given point in time. I noticed that I have been deliberately underdressing or trying to look less put together as a way of throwing people off.

the glamour politic

SB’s normcore at work on a wintery Friday morning

It’s cold today and I’ve layered a grey and black lace tight over a slate grey thermal tight. I chose these particular lacy tights because they had invited criticism from a female colleague a while back.

I was at work on a Sunday morning. I dressed for a soirée to signal my strong objection to being at work (unpaid) on my day off. The tights are from a designer label and cost more than the ASOS pleated skirt also shown in the photo. My colleague loudly declared that they were not appropriate for work. The next day, she showed up at work in a similar pair of loud fishnet type striped tights, and in a skirt suit with the same colour scheme I had worn the day before. She did not apologise to me or capitulate as to her hypocrisy. In fact, she’s been my fashion stalker ever since. That’s one reason I’ve changed my look. I wanted to throw her off. (She’s still fashion stalking me as of April 28, 2016).

This is one of my pet peeves: Female to female censorship. We are already bombarded by messages that say we, as women, are to do what men want us to do, or else they’ll not choose to make babies with us. Then, we turn around and claw at each other. But, to the men, we say they should stop oppressing us. Ridiculous, right?

Dress codes are a suppression of freedom, even if it’s for safety reasons. It doesn’t matter whether I like loud tights. The point is that I wear them in order to ask the question, “Are my free speech rights universal and applicable in all contexts?” As far as fashion is concerned, there are situations at work and play that illustrate the difference between free expression and good judgement.

I do not stand by assumptions until I’ve thought them through and tested them. However, sometimes I go against the grain. I want access to my rights when I must. That is why I work at being comfortable with asserting them anyway.

 

Updated: April 30, 2016

A P O (It’s got to be real)

Hubby
Ti-Mi-NETH! Haaa! Yes!

Timiny
Owww!

Hubby
Oh, Timineth. Why does your smooth chocolatey bottom drive me so mad?

Timiny
You said that last time, Sir.

Hubby
I get so horny after polo. What would I do without you?

Timiny
It’s the horses, Sir. Riding them releases oxytocin.

Hubby
Don’t they though? I feel I’ll go absolutely mad if I don’t skewer something right after.

Timiny
Something?

Hubby
You know what I mean. My vision gets blurry if I don’t, you know. You’re so tight, Tim-Tam.

Timiny
Thank you. I think.

Hubby
I love Tim-Tams. Don’t move. I’m waiting for the staff to prep the room next door.

Timiny
Won’t they come looking for you?

Hubby
It’s fine. I think they saw us. No. They absolutely overheard us. Perverts.

Timiny
What?! I should get out, then.

Hubby
Wait. Don’t put on your panties. Look at me. I’m engorged. We’ll have to bang this out again.

You raise me Q

Storm
Good morning, Gary.

Gnu
Hi. I’m a bit hot.

Storm
We can adjust the temperature and humidity for you. This is going to take a while, so buckle up.

Gnu
Thanks. Large fancy rooms make me nervous.

Marcus
Hi, y’all. I’m here with fat, sugar, preservative, sodium, cholesterol, wheat and gluten free yogurt bars!

Gnu
I’m not on a diet.

Marcus
That’s hilarious. This is Manhattan. You know, it’s practically a crime to eat sugar here? There was no sugar or honey in Starbucks.

Storm
She’s not a morning person.

Gnu
May I have one?

Marcus
Apricot. The strawberry is mine.

Gnu
Thank you.

Marcus
Would you like some Voss?

Gnu
Just ordinary tap water. Please.

Marcus
Only hipsters in Brooklyn drink Poland Spring.

Gnu
No, I meant just tap water.

Storm
Same thing.

Gnu
Doesn’t anyone…?

Marcus
No.

Storm
Heather?

Heather
Yes.

Storm
Please bring our guest a Catherine’s Peak spring water and burgundy glass. Bring us two coconut waters, please.

Heather
Coming up, next.

Gnu
I’m not a drinker.

Storm
We know. It’s for the water.

Gnu
That’s not necessary. I’m not the … How do I say it?

Storm
You’re grounded. You’re sane, self aware and humble. That is the past. You’re sane, self aware and self possessed.

Gnu
This has been sudden. I’m ghostwriting memoirs one day and then out of nowhere…

Storm
A Beverly Hills Housewife outed you during a catfight. Your blog got 1.6 million hits in a week.

Marcus
You published two novels in 2002 but fewer than five thousand copies were sold. But they’ve been at the top of the New York Times Bestseller List for a year. Translated to fifteen languages.

Gnu
Right. You know everything about me. I just need to say it aloud. Or else I still feel it could all go away.

Storm
It might, but that’s what a trust fund is for.

Heather
Here you are.

Gnu
Thanks. I mean, I’m still not used to strangers answering my email and writing my tweets.

Heather
And this just arrived.

Marcus
This is yours.

Gnu
Thank you? It’s fancy looking.

Marcus
It’s an ah LANGeh unt ZURNneh. It’s from The Forum, your security firm.

Gnu
Right. Fancy name. I’ll remember not to try saying it.

Marcus
It’s got an emergency beacon built in. If you’re, say, in the Sudan and get into a scrape, pull out the second button. The blue moon rotates to green, twist clockwise and depress the button. It rotates to red and the beacon is activated. A team of former SEALS will swoop in.

Gnu
Why not just implant a transmitter in my ankle?

Marcus
We could do that but we think this is more comfortable for you.

Storm
It’s part of your retainer package. We covered this at signing.

Gnu
These things pass right through.

Marcus
Not to worry. We do, however, suggest that clients follow our advice closely to ensure the best outcomes as detailed in their publicity coverage terms.

Storm
Which brings us to our meeting today.

Gnu
Right.

Marcus
This is your manual. We keep it here. So you have to study it. Please try to memorise the faces starting on page three. They’re people you are never to be photographed with.

Gnu
Sharon Stone?!! I love her.

Marcus
We know. She’s an icon to you. You would be in awe of her. It would cramp your image. Your presentation and phrasing would translate as weak or inferior.

Gnu
She lives in my building. She sends me flowers every morning.

Storm
That’s why we love her, but…

Marcus
You’re more famous than she is, but she’s more recognisable.

Storm
People know you because of your book. You’re “associated” with a product. So we need to carefully wean you off that.

Gnu
Okay. But why? Why go this far?

Storm
We want to raise your Q score by five points this fiscal year.

Gnu
Okay.

Storm
Your Q score … Excuse me… Your Q score is a mathematical way to describe your public appeal. Raising it that much in a year would be like you waking up tomorrow outside Clarence House as Baby George.

Gnu
I’m going to Wikipedia that later. But it sounds you’re saying it’s incredibly difficult to manipulate. It’s a mathematical value. I need an equation?

Marcus
No. You need us and our network of talented people. We start from the results and go through the process. On your part, you’ll have to do everything we tell you. No improvisation.

Gnu
Sharon Stone.

Storm
We will manage all of your public appearances.

Gnu
What happens if Sharon Stone shows up?

Marcus
We’ll extract you. You will be photographed with men and women who are equally or more talented, but slightly less recognised.

Marcus
You need to be seen as the alpha male. The leader of your class. They rise with you. You need to be seen as a fisher of men.

Gnu
Blasphemous, but okay. How do I do that?

Storm
That’s your national and international appearance itinerary. Through 2017.

Marcus
Also no TED talks. There’s going to be backlash against the group due to the lower social profile of a past guest speaker. Don’t even watch on your laptop. Delete emails with links. Ignore people who talk about them.

Gnu
Wow.

Storm
We need to simulate the effects of living in a bubble, so no television, radio or mainstream media.

Gnu
Movies?

Storm
Listed on page fifteen are the directors we’d like you to be seen with. Watch all their work. Write one review a month and post them on your blog. That should cover the year. Next, you’re a man who visits a tony café in Chelsea to chat with your editor. These times on these days. Follow the routine and people will notice that you’re a “regular” guy.

Gnu
Ahhh.

Marcus
You go there at a regular time so you signal “I do this regularly”. It’s interpreted by others as “he’s a regular guy, just like us.”

Storm
The crucial thing is to be really oblivious to the adulation. You cannot know that you’re a famous person. When people smile at you, nod politely. Like this.

Gnu
Okay.

Marcus
Remember Amal Clooney? The images of her waving on a gondola as if she were the First Lady of Venice? People in the moment thought it was fun times, but the wider public reacted against her. Even though she’s a trained barrister, they think she is unintelligent and superficial and say she looks like a plastic doll who is dressed up by her husband’s flunkies.

Storm
The more indifferent you appear to be, the more people will like you.

Gnu
No? Really?

Storm
The less self-conscious you are, the more people will wonder if it’s really you they recognise. They’ll leave you alone.

Marcus
Never smile for photos. Never wave to strangers. If a reader asks for a photo, politely refuse, but offer a chapter of your upcoming book if the person signs up to your mailing list. Make the chapter password protected on your blog.

Gnu
That’s a nice idea.

Storm
Readers want to exploit you, but use the opportunity to extend your reach.

Gnu
Autographs?

Marcus
We’re against that. It’s pandering. Don’t crave approval. Remind yourself that people should gravitate to you for guidance. Your value is far greater than an etching on paper.

Storm
We’d like to lock you indoors all year and bring you out for your scheduled appearances.

Gnu
You mean not even for dinner with friends?

Storm
Not even. Cook at home or we’ll get a Caribbean kitchen to feed you. Jamaican food is so hot right now.

Marcus
But we understand that you need to promote your upcoming book so may we suggest handing fans these signed cards?

Gnu
It’s …

Marcus
We know it’s a lot to carry around, but these are invitations to your next book reading.

Gnu
Okay, but people will think I’m hard to get along with.

Storm
Live with that. These people aren’t your friends. They’re exploiting you for something to tweet or tumblr. Every photo of you that appears from now on will be in a men’s magazine and will be copyrighted by M Funk.

Gnu
The German photographer?! Wow! How?

Storm
He’s one of our clients. He’ll resonate with the public. Ninety percent of the forty thousand readers we polled on dListed believe that people who speak foreign languages are smarter, more humanitarian and are better leaders.

Gnu
Being a celebrity is a tough job. I think I suck at it. But, as you suggested, I want to lock myself indoors all year and only come out for scheduled appearances. I need to focus on the new book.

Marcus
Thank you and we appreciate your willingness to adjust. Hire a team of part-time assistants. They’ll run your errands and help you do research. A group of writing students is ideal. Mentoring young people will help to relieve your stress.

Gnu
It’s a great idea. I’ll need to choose them myself.

Storm
We will wait four months and have you say in an interview you’ve been leading unpaid writing seminars at home.

Gnu
Okay. I’ll want as representative a group of young writers as possible.

Storm
Absolutely. We wouldn’t have it any other way.

Marcus
We’ll be vague about the participants. As a result, the public will crave access to you. They’ll gobble up every item of news about you. Comments, clicks, retweets, mentions.

Marcus
If we’re consistent over ten months, your Q score will have been raised by three points. Which is enough to get you simultaneous covers of Número, Vogue Huommo and GQ next November. They promised, on that condition. Then we wait for Boxing Day to get you photographed in a dusty Timbuktu market, buying millet in local dress and a Rolex watch. That will instantly raise you up two more points.

Gnu
Rolex. Is it an ad?

Marcus
No. Just a candid photography study for Twitter with camera phones. We’ll make it seem like some of the local people there recognised you.

Gnu
I’m exhausted.

Storm
You can handle it. Let’s take a break and resume in fifteen minutes. We need your phone to program the café meetings with your editor and of course to set it up.

Gnu
Sure.

Mismatched (It’s got to be real)

Muffy
Ssshit!!! Baby Pudding, that’s not crayon. Look at this. It’s ruined.

Pudding
Blrrrrrr….Bhvvvvvv…. Ba! Ba!!

Tim
We can send it to the cleaners. Right as rain.

Muffy
It’s Mac. You know how much petrolatum they use in their product. It’s melded with the fabric already. Timineth, let’s find another stretch waist skirt in black. Chiffon.

Pudding
Blrrrrrr….

Timiny
The size eight stretched waists aren’t ready from the cleaners. We have a few dresses in a size six.

Muffy
Not that. Not that. Not that. Not that. That’s taffeta.

Tim
Let me set this last one.

Pudding
Blrrrrrr…. Blrrrrr….

Timiny
This dress is chic and has soft feminine lines.

Muffy
No, it’s too big. I’ll look enormous. Not that. Not that. I wore that last week. The vultures will pick at my bones.

Pudding
Blrrrrrr…. Blrrrrr….

Timiny
We could add a pink sweater.

Muffy
No. It’s too dressed down for a soirée. …This one is too tight ’round my tummy.

Pudding
Blrrrrrr…. Blrrrrr…. Maaaa Ma.

Timiny
It’s baby pink Ma’am. People will like it. It’ll soften your uhmm…

Pudding
Ma-Ma.

Muffy
Mummy can’t pick you up. Her hairstyle is vital to the future prosperity of the Commonwealth. Let me sit back down for you, Tim.

Tim
Oops! Sorry.

Muffy
That’s alright. Fluffy?! Put that down. Where’s Nurse Hanning?!

Timiny
I’ll fetch her.

Cabbage
Ma’am?

Muffy
Nurse Cabbage. Sorry, Hanning. Please can you give Baby Pudding his rice porridge? Did cook make it with rice milk and not cow’s?

Cabbage
Yes, Ma’am. He did, Ma’am.

Muffy
How about that silk charmeuse skirt?

Timiny
It’s royal blue. With a black top?

Muffy
It looks alright in this lighting. Doesn’t it?

Timiny
Yes, Ma’am.

Muffy
Accessories?

Timiny
The slimline Bvlgari choker.

Muffy
Doesn’t go with this top. Just the ring. Could we have the size J replica today? My fingers are a bit puffy.

Timiny
Yes, Ma’am.

Cook M
Ma’am, your fennel tea.

Muffy
Right. I am desperately in need of a flushing detox. Did you put peppermint in it?

Cook M
Yes, Ma’am.

Muffy
Tell me, Timineth. Doesn’t my belly look big from this angle?

Timiny
Not at all Ma’am. It’s hardly noticeable.

Muffy
Tim?

Tim
It complements the sapphire, Ma’am.

Muffy
We should pull the waist up a bit so it settles right … there.

Timiny
Completely invisible.

Muffy
Not bad for five months along. Now we must have a leg drainage before I go out. I might have to hang upside down for half hour. Otherwise my fat ankles will be the subject of treaty talks with Russia.

Timiny
Yes, Ma’am.