Wednesday, 17 December 2014

"how long have i been wearing this bra for?", and other female concerns

Being equipped with your first bra is a momentous experience in any pre-pubescent girls life. More than a support for fat that hasn't arrived yet, your first bra is the physical indicator of closing the door on childhood and barging through the door of adolescence. Typically, my entry through that door was clumsy as fuck. It was in 5th class when I came to the awkward realisation that all of my friends were wearing bras, and I was not. I had missed Bra Initiation Day apparently. Of course, I withheld this detail from them and the next day I dutifully wore one of my sister's bras into school.

Over the short course of my life, I've realised that as a female, there are a lot of things that society expects us just to know how to do and when to start doing it. And I don't mean like long division or how to drive (both useful, none of which I'm able to do), I'm referring to the very small assumptions that we're not directly taught but still expected to know. Assumptions that are so ingrained in society's lexicon that they're rarely even verbally acknowledged. But I have decided to bring these struggles to light. Acknowledge them as you will.

Unless you are ambidextrous, the stressful, backbreaking labour of painting your own fingernails will resonate deeply with you. All I can do is watch pitifully as my right hand tries and fails to match the satisfactory paint job that my left hand performed. Being expected to use both hands in an equal manner doing such intricate work is inhumane. To make the ordeal even worse, most of the nail painting situations that I find myself in, involves serious time constraints. Picture this: The time is 21:28, you have to be at prinks 28 minutes ago and your Mam is growing impatient as she waits for you to get your shit together, car keys in hand. As you try to recall where you left your ID you realise that you once again failed to paint your nails after you got out of the shower like you promised you would. The result of a highly pressurised paint job becomes increasingly worsened as you try to simultaneously put on your shoes, pack your bag and continue to look for your ID with sticky nails. At this stage, all you can do is aim to be drunk enough that when you look down at your hands, you see nails that are reminiscent of Kylie Jenner, rather then 'Lorde at the Grammys'.

The unspoken rules from Bra Initiation Day seeps into adolescent and post-adolescent life posing even greater perplexity: how often does one wash the garment? As an eleven year old with no boobs, it is much more acceptable to misstep bra etiquette, but as a twenty year old it's not as socially acceptable to be so unfamiliar with it. Surely this is not just something that I struggle with? This is not outlined on any label nor was it discussed within some flowery teenage mag as I was growing up. Like, unless it was in fact revealed at Bra Initiation Day back in 2005 - or your corresponding dates - and you all dutifully hand wash your bras every couple of days, you too have to have your own questionable and irregular personal washing routine for your delicates. As the voice of the uninitiated, I'm going to fearlessly pronounce that what determines throwing my bra into the wash is dependent on a vaguely educated guess of cleanliness after a number of days, of which may be prolonged dependant on how pretty the bra is. Taking your bra out of the wash basket because it's suitable for a particular outfit, is not unusual for the uninitiated, also.

I have never gone near an eyelash curler, simply for fear that I'll clamp down too hard and sever my eyelashes. What's more, I wouldn't possess the talent to apply fake eyelashes to even replace said severed ones - which really is the root of my problem here. I'm blatantly envious of my peers who can succinctly blend eye shadow in a semi-professional manner, or who have a brush for every part of their face, for every angle they wish to tackle it from. Arguably, this problem can be rendered defunct by the availability of make-up tutorials on Youtube, but if you're someone who a) does not have the patience to watch preppy girls talk you through a badly-edited 14 minute video on applying blusher, and b) does not have the reasoning to adhere to the exorbitant price tag attached to the products being used, well then you're back to feeling like a lesser female in society. A wholesome knowledge of make-up techniques is something we're just expected to acquire and to dedicate time to. To make matters worse, the whole thing is shrouded in mystery. I mean, I spent 13 years in all-girls education systems and I don't remember anyone ever mentioning to me that they're teaching themselves how to contour. You secretive bastards.

Unlike the antecedent, this is something that can't really be controlled or resolved. The level of intensity of ones PMS is genetically pre-destined and regardless of it's extremities, you're expected to be able to function in daily life as if everything is peachy. Let me tell you, society, everything is not peachy. Period brain is like a mental poison that clouds the sanity compartment of the brain. In that week preluding The Crimson Wave the world seems to send me personal packages of disdain, insecurities and deep-rooted cravings for chocolate, all of which I unload unto family, friends and cashiers. The world hates me, and I fucking despise the world.  And while it's all fun and games using your period as a Get Out of P.E Free card, that part of your life eventually comes to an inevitable end and as you sit in work, self-loathing, viciously insecure and with crippling pain that you think is coming from your abdomen but can't be too sure, you realise you've just been completely stripped of the one benefit to come out of this monthly horror story.

I love a good pair of heels, in fact I swear by them. Any excuse to wear heels, I will wear them. They make my thighs look skinnier and my posture, less slumpy. In fact, I have even developed a strict policy regarding heels, including my infamous: leave the house in heels - return in heels (swapping your heels mid-night out for a pair of Vans is not acceptable shoe/social etiquette at all). So, to summarise, this isn't about resenting heels. That being said, walking in them is no mean feat. I mean, one day you're just expected to wake up knowing how to walk in heels, and that's that, no questions asked, it can be tough work. It's sort of like being forced to take the stabilisers off your bike and then being put onto a unicycle. And let's talk about the emotions of taking them off: the beautiful relief paradoxically coinciding with feeling like your foot's bone structure is being rewired. Be it stilettos, wedges, mules or platforms, heels require serious practice in the art of balance and I would advise to reach some Zen-like state of mind before leaving the house because once you drink that shoulder of vodka it's literally #byegirl.

Tuesday, 4 November 2014

in defense of lena dunham

What has Lena Dunham been criticised for now you ask? Well, in her recently published memoir, "Not That Kind of Girl", she recalls an incident in which a seven year old Lena is overcome with anatomical curiosity of the female body and opens the lips of her baby sister's vagina to compare to her own (and then subsequently finds tiny pebbles inside). But the essay has been recently twisted by conservative, right wing writers from and The National Review and is essentially retold as a story of sexual abuse, a claim which has now cantered it's way around the internet and echoed by a surprising amount of support. Let's discuss.

Thursday, 30 October 2014

the definitive list of halloween costumes that you'll be subjected to every year

Come the first of October, whilst still predominantly seeing life through my 'New Academic Year, New Me' goggles I tend to promise myself that this Halloween will be different. This Halloween will not be like last year's Halloween, or the one before that, or the one before that. No, this Halloween I will definitely make the smallest semblance of an effort to partake in the annual festivities. However, life inevitably gets in the way, to which I add my classic combination of procrastination and general laziness and topping it with my careless lack of budgeting, leaving me with just enough money to buy alcohol and not enough to buy my original, bitchin' costume. So I then find myself standing in Dunnes sacrificing said bitchin' costume for the good times that are due to come with the shoulder of Smirnoff in my hand all the while promising myself that next year will be different.

Tuesday, 28 October 2014

trendspotting: the reknitssance

This very first Trendspotting blog post has been propelled into existence courtesy of my impoverished bank account. In case you guys don't know, I lost my iPhone recently - I don't really like to talk about it that much. But it has consequentially left me in a terrible state both financially and mentally. However, I won't lament any further about my financial or mental woes because, let's be honest, you guys don't really care any more, so instead I'm going to continue telling the thrilling origin story of this post about knitwear.

Thursday, 9 October 2014

16 things you feel when you lose your iphone

Losing an iPhone is an experience that is unrivalled in terms of the emotional decomposition that it inflicts. To be quite honest, the only experience you might dare compare it to, is the experience of losing a limb. That sounds really drastic and I'm aware that my privileged millennial existence is coming off strongly here, but hear me out. Like a leg, my iPhone got me to where I needed to go, whether it's telling me when my bus is due, or gently reminding me what room my politics tutorial is in, it got me around. Much like an arm, it allowed me to give and take things: calls, texts, and groupon deals. My phone was very much an extension of my left hand and let's face it, an extension of my overall being.

Tuesday, 7 October 2014

dispatches: denim jeans on the red carpet

Ah, blue denim jeans. Whether they're bootleg, straight leg or skinny leg, low-waisted or high-waisted, distressed or not distressed (?), denim jeans have nestled an indispensable place in the heart of our wardrobes. This platitude of options thus speaks for their vast global clientele, which is essentially made up of males and females of every age (apparently Levi Strauss came out of the womb dressed in a denim onesie) and economic situation (do you think Steve Jobs couldn't afford a nice pair of slacks?).

Saturday, 4 October 2014

everything you may have missed this fashion month

Do you know that reoccurring gag in cartoons, when a character steps onto the treadmill and the speed escalates to such an extreme that said character dissolves into a rapidly churning cloud of motion? That's kind of what keeping up with fashion month is like when your only source of information is social media and when you're also trying to live a life that has no involvement with the industry whatsoever. Let's continue with this already questionable metaphor by imagining that the more stuff you have going on in your life determines the speed of which you've to keep up with. In the last month, alongside moving out, gradually unpacking, starting college and fitting in time for a job, my speed was set viciously high and thus diminished any opportunities of writing regular reflections on the four fashion weeks - a tragedy that was felt all around the world, I assume.