Saturday, July 26, 2008

Favorite Things Roundup for July

1. FCC: 0; Janet Jackson's Nipple: 1
It pleased me greatly to read that the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals tossed out the $550,000 fine levied upon CBS by the FCC after the most famous wardrobe malfunction of all time. I'm not happy it took 4 years for the case to finally be closed, and though I'm not a lawyer, I imagine an appeal will be coming soon given the impact of the ruling on the credibility of the FCC. I thought the media storm following the incident was entirely ridiculous, though not surprising. Seriously--a nipple is inappropriate for children? That argument fails the second you consider how infants are fed. CBS should have been warned about the pending explicit nudity? Justin Timberlake's line just before the malfunction was "Gonna have you naked by the end of this song". I'm only half-kidding, but this sounds like a warning to me. In my mind, the lyric is certainly more explicit than showing a nipple on network TV for nine-sixteenths of a second . A song about sex is totally kosher for kids, but heaven forbid they actually see anything having to do with it! And how dare parents be faced with the responsibility of discussing media and sex with their children? Absurd.
2. Peacock Feathers
I'm completely anti-fur, and I extend this to feathers. Let's say that right up front. However, I have been spending a lot of time this month in adoration of peacock feathers and the birds that own them. During my travels in May I saw my first wild peacock--really, I heard it first, and asked my man if we were near a zoo--and it was incredible. Perched in a tree, the peacock's feathers tinged with blue, gold, green, violet and black hung below it like a majestic robe, and it has stuck in my mind ever since. I did some research on the peacock and learned that its meaning changes markedly depending on where in the world you happen to be (click here for some examples). Whether they're eyes of protection or eyes of evil, peacock feathers are beautiful, and I find myself especially wowed by them this month.

3. My Magic Wand

I suppose it's appropriate that someone who loves all things vintage should favor the most retro vibrator: the Hitachi Magic Wand. It's billed sometimes as a "massager" that "relieves tension," and boy, they aren't lying. When my man was out of town for a bachelor party, the wand was my comfort as I lay by myself in our bed. Although it can't ultimately satisfy me the way my man can, it's a decent substitution. My favorite way to use it, though, is with him, as a buildup to the final thrill of penetration. To boot, it's less expensive than most other vibrators of its size on the market, making it even easier to add to your naughty drawer. In short, if you don't have one, get one. Now.

4. Corsets by Miss Katie

This London designer makes some of the most exquisite corsets I have seen. Fitting for the stage or evening wear, a Miss Katie corset will be top of my list when it comes time for me to buy a new one (once the temperature drops). If any of them were to turn up on my doorstep I wouldn't turn it down, but my favorites are the Parisian corset and the collar corset. Be still, my lace-loving heart!

Sunday, July 6, 2008

A Mannered Performance

It seems to me that somewhere along the line, women forgot how to be ladies. As a New Yorker, I see women every day who would be otherwise beautiful were it not for their piss-poor manners. I grew up in the Midwest, and was raised by the kinds of parents who pretended not to hear me if I a) spoke a sentence using less-than-perfect grammar, or b) dared to ask for or accept anything without saying please or thank you. My impression after several years of living in New York is that one must choose between being a lady or a New Yorker. I choose to be a lady, but there are few of us here.

The standards of etiquette were laid down most famously back in 1922 by Emily Post, pictured here, and the Emily Post Institute has ensured that those standards evolve with time to include manners with regards to mobile phones, online friending, skiing and more. It may seem silly to spend time researching etiquette, but I assure you it is not and I myself intend to devote more web time to refreshing my memory. In my definition, a proper pinup acts like a lady and commands that respect, but this is difficult to do if she appears to have been raised by wolves.

For starters, you should always use "please," "thank you," "you're welcome," and "excuse me." None of these words are difficult to utter, and unless they are spoken with great sarcasm, I cannot think of a situation where they are hurtful. People here are constantly rushing and busting by others, but a simple "excuse me" at least demonstrates a small amount of consideration for other people. I don't think it's fair to take waitstaff and salespeople for granted, or to treat them any differently than you would a dear friend. I spent many years waiting tables and working retail, and was happy to oblige even the most outrageous request if it was clear to me that the other party considered me to be a human being and not a slave.

Be nice at the table. We all get sloppy, including myself, but proper table manners are key in your personal and professional life. It's worth it to watch your language and generally be on good behavior, even though it's difficult sometimes. My man, wonderful as he is, is sometimes lacking in the table manners department, eating off of his knife or performing stunts like pretending to snort his cutlery up his nose. I don't have a problem with it when we're at home--one of the things I love about him is his goofy sense of humor--but when we're in a restaurant I have to say something. There's a time and place for everything.

I could go on, but won't for fear of exhausting you and sounding like too much of a priss. It all really comes down to treating others in a way that you yourself would like to be treated. For example, I don't want to have to listen to your cell phone conversation any more than you want to have to listen to mine, so put the phone away at the table, on a train or in a bus. (I recently spent a weekend with someone who could not stop herself from texting on her phone, no matter where we were or what we were doing. I love her to death but found it rude and annoying nonetheless.)

I'll leave you with this poem, "Time Tested Beauty Tips," often attributed to Audrey Hepburn but in fact written by Sam Levenson for his grandchild. It was, however, one of Audrey's favorite poems, and read at her funeral. I think it does a good job of summing up the importance of manners in beauty:

For attractive lips, speak words of kindness.

For lovely eyes, seek out the good in people.

For a slim figure, share your food with the hungry.

For beautiful hair, let a child run his or her fingers through it once a day.

For poise, walk with the knowledge you'll never walk alone.

People, even more than things, have to be restored, renewed, revived, reclaimed, and redeemed; Never throw out anybody.

Remember, If you ever need a helping hand, you'll find one at the end of your arm.

As you grow older, you will discover that you have two hands, one for helping yourself, the other for helping others.

The beauty of a woman is not in the clothes she wears, the figure that she carries, or the way she combs her hair. The beauty of a woman must be seen from in her eyes, because that is the doorway to her heart, the place where love resides.

The beauty of a woman is not in a facial mole, but true beauty in a woman is reflected in her soul. It is the caring that she lovingly gives, the passion that she shows, and the beauty of a woman with passing years only grows!

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Pinup Tales by Kitty du Vert is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.