Friday, July 30, 2010


My mother has the best of intentions, but nevertheless, she's one of those people who routinely award back-handed compliments and hint-hint-remarks, all while suffering from a serious case of "foot in mouth" disease. Not to suggest that I'm unaccustomed to this, as half the women in my family seem afflicted with this particular vexation. And there's certainly a difference between, say, my mom, who says something off-color or slightly insulting but without meaning to and feeling genuinely sorry, and her mom, a woman who derived a particular brand of pleasure from harshing your mellow. It's become a running gag in our family, and we've even taken to calling such faux pas "Donnaisms". (after my later grandmother, Donna, the aforementioned buzz-killer)

My fall classes start on August 24th, an occasion which my mom finds the perfect opportunity for subtle self-promotion.
"Oh, it'll be wonderful!" she coos. "You go to class, get out of the house, do your hair and make-up, because you never know who you might meet! So you want to look good!"
I furrow my brows slightly as this. So I want to look good, eh? As opposed to not looking good? Despite the fact that I mostly understand what she's getting at, and that her comment's intent is benign in nature, her words plant the seeds for my old friends self-consciousness and paranoia to take root and flourish once again, only this time in the body of a nearly 30-year-old woman, the results of which are pathetic and unfortunate. Because a certain amount of "Omigod you like I'm uglyeeeeee!" is expected in teenage girls, but not adult women. As a mother of two, I'm expected to rise above such trivialities and preserve despite feeling like a Brunhilda, and for the most part I'm able to. But now that I'm single, the balloon has risen. Because I'm no longer in a cocoon of domesticity, but rather a free agent in a rather beauty driven society. I suppose in order to "land a man", I need to change. But it won't be easy. Because I'm a total frump.

World English Dictionary:
frumpy or frumpish (ˈfrʌmpɪ, ˈfrʌmpɪʃ) [Click for IPA pronunciation guide]


(of a woman, clothes, etc) dowdy, drab, or unattractive

When I was kid, the phrase most often heard before leaving the house was: "Samantha Jean! You look like a ragamuffin!" Even then, fashion eluded me. I never saw the point, because the way I saw it, whatever I wore was going to invariably be covered with dirt or covered with paint. So what's the point of dressing up? Why all the fuss? And as for my hair, was only hair. Yeah, it was on my head but what was I suppose to do with it? The solution was for my mom to put it in french braids, but I was entirely neutral. Braids, ponytail, long 'n loose. Didn't make a damn bit of difference to me.

Nor could I be arsed with the simple act of color coordination. Let's see, here..I have a neon orange shirt and a pair of white stretch pants with black polka dots. Well, it's clean. I'll wear it. Oh, it's supposed to be colder, today? Well I have in my closet a Bill Cosby sweater and a pair of jeans with a patch on the knee. What? It's clean right? Yes, it seemed that cleanliness was the only prerequisite I had when it came to clothes. I was like this for years.

I'm going to take a moment to toot my own horn. I'm an attractive woman. My parents were attractive people, and I was lucky enough to inherit from each of them their most desirable, physical characteristics. Large eyes and arched 'brows from my father, along with with pianist hands which are used exclusively for typing on keyboards. (because, much like fashion, learning to read music eluded me) From my mother, I was given a peachy complexion and strong teeth. I have always had potential. However, freeing myself from the frump has been a challenge. And I tried, damn it. The closest I've ever been to dipping my toes into the bounding main of fashion is when I went through my "jeans and ironic tee-shirts" phase in high school. And even then, the frump lay just below the surface.

There came a time when I merely rectified myself to the fact that being dowdy was an inherent part of me, like gray eyes or brown hair. Yes, it can be altered, just like the color of one's eyes or the color of one's hair, but the fact will always remain that you're a brunette by virtue of nature. And when it came down to it, was it really all that big of a deal? I mean, who cares?

The menfolk, that's who. And boy, am I screwed.

I am no Eliza Doolittle. Nor am I longing for a professor Higgins to turn me into a prize. However, I can acknowledge that there's some work to be done, the likes of which I'm not at all opposed to. I could stand to wear a little lipstick, I guess. Wouldn't mind getting some lowlights in my hair. And just because I'm not stylish doesn't mean I don't admire style in and of itself: I could dress better, too.

Alex: What kind of ice cream are you getting, Grandma?
Mom/Grandma: I'm not getting any. I'm on a diet.
Me: Pfff! You're not on a diet!
Mom/Grandma: ........
Me: Oh. You are?

The Donnaisms don't fall from from the D.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Surly Temple.

I've often wondered how I'd look without eyebrows.

Not that I'd actually ever shave them off. No, that would be too much of a dramatic change, as I'm a creature of habit and routine. If I feel out of whack if a holiday happens to fall on a Monday, and there's no mail, I'm sure making bare my rather prominent 'brows would send me into a cataclysmic panic. Still, I wonder.

It's a ditsy, vapid thing to mull over. I could spend my time thinking about the world, or travels, or self-betterment. Instead, my thoughts are almost totally cosmetic in nature. How would I look with white-blonde hair? What would it be like to function with just three fingers, total? I wonder if I've ever known anyone who secretly has a tail? Is it possible for a person to have a third, fully functioning eyeball? Stuff like that.

Lori & Dori vs. Surly Temple

Yet another guilty pleasure of mine is Lori and Dori Schappell, the conjoined twins. The first time I saw them was 15-some-odd years ago on The Maury Povich Show, and I was totally immersed in the odd specital that was their lives. Mostly, what I thought about was functionality: For example, Dori, the smaller "parasitic" twin, needs to be wheeled around on a little swivel chair. She dangles from her sister, Lori, like a boneless toddler. She sings, though. Reba Mcentire songs, mostly. She even at one point dyed her hair red and changed her name to "Reba", a sweet homage to her country siren, yes. But also slighty creepy and weird. Oh, another thing - the girl can't sing. At all.

This is where my loving mom side meets Surly Temple, my "this is utter bullshit" alter-ego. One the one hand, I can support nuturting the dreams of someone who is differently abled. However, I cannot and will not say that Dori Reba can sing. She's a terrible singer. Just awful. Yet she was given a recording contract, and produced a music video. In my opinion, there's a special brand of cruelty to this, as this woman was not signed to a contract because of her talents, but merely for her draw as a side-show oddity. I'd like to think that the Schappell twins are hip to this, but I have a feeling they're not - and to me, that makes the explotation all the greater.

Of note: Dori changed her name to "George", the why's of which are a complete mystery to me. Maybe she's a George Jones fan.

The Who Cares? Bears

Even as a kid, I was a fan of parody, and I had it in my mind that I could turn my Who Cares? Bears concept in a real thing. I was never a fan of the real Care Bears, and had the high opinion that "Grumpy Bear" was the only one with any real character - the rest seemed too sugary sweet, too nauseatingly optimistic to ever function outside their cupcakeish, utopian society.


I had plans for my vision, but they never came into fruition, because I recieved Mario Paints for Christmas that same year. Thus, the time I would've spent on my master plan instead went to creating dirty animation, and composing music that was comprised of farty sound effects. And I was damn good at both, too.