Coffee Rhetoric: Vanity
Showing posts with label Vanity. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Vanity. Show all posts

March 10, 2010

Fat and Greasy

Bastion of all things lewd, crude, sexist, and sophomoric, Howard Stern- (with the approval of his trusty dick wart, Robin Quivers)- has managed to make his ramblings relevant again by attacking up-and-coming actor and recent Oscar nominee Gabourey Sidibe for her appearance. Gabourey, who was up for an academy award for her debut performance in the film 'Precious' -(adapted from the book 'Push'  by author and performance poet, Sapphire)- is witty, college educated, articulate, comfortable in her skin, and did a hell of a job interpreting the title character in her very first film role. I read the book twice and saw the film an equal number of times. The film and book offer a bitter, gut wrenching pill to swallow and is glaring with the delivery. It could not have been an easy role for an actor just getting her feet wet in the industry, to perform, and so Gabourey was lauded for the strength of her debut by Oprah Winfrey, with a heartfelt tribute... but none of that matters... 
According to Howard Stern- (whose own physical appearance is a few notches under average at best, which makes his career in radio that much more fitting)- and Robin Quivers, Oprah is a "filthy liar," for Gabourey will never work in the industry again due to how she looks...  overweight, darker complected, and apparently offending to Howard's personal aesthetic and views on what he considers to be attractive and worthy. I won't bother linking to the offending diatribe available on YouTube, but I will relay some of the more notable quotes:
"There's the most enormous, fat Black chick I've ever seen. Everyone's pretending she's a part of show business,  and she's never going to be in another movie," he opined.  
"She should have gotten the Best Actress award because she's never going to have another shot. What movie is she gonna be in?" Stern continued to quip. 
He and Robin- (who has struggled with her own weight via questionable diet methods)- also said Gabby would die in about three years and should basically just shrink away into the abyss because she didn't resemble any of the other Oscar nominees. They suggested that she may have a shot starring in a sequel to 'The Blind Side,' though. There you have it. It's just that simple, despite the fact that Gabourey actually has several projects lined up beyond her role in 'Precious.'
Some Black people, in fact, refused to support 'Precious' while it was in theaters, simply because they were turned off by the fact that Gabourey didn't fit some hegemonic beauty standard. I can't even begin to count the reasons relayed to me, why people weren't interested in it... not even knowing the movie's premise. Someone complained to me, "Why do they have that big, fat, DARK-skinned girl in the movie??? She's a bad representative for Black people! I'm not going to see that mess!" Needless to say, I blinked at her incredulously. I've also read the hateful jokes on Black entertainment blogs... hyucking over Sidibe's complexion and weight.
Once again, a Black woman's body and overall look has been codified and reduced to a thing of repulsion... othered... her personality and creative gifts gently placed down her throat for her to swallow and perhaps spit back up, so that she'll pare down her substantial size to a body that's more palatable. Much of the unofficial jury seem to agree that Howard's biting remarks has some merit, because Gabourey just looks so... so, unhealthy. Suddenly folks are speculating and ticking off a list of issues she could potentially, but may not even suffer from! I am in awe that merely looking at a person automatically determines their vitals. Since it's that easy, to hell with Sidibe's doctor, because anybody not skinny automatically has health problems and live sedentary lives steeped in deep-fried Twinkies, while every skinny person is automatically healthy and fit sans any issues to speak of. It's official... everyone's an expert... medical licenses for all!  *insert side-eye here.* 
Dictating who's healthy and who isn't... who's beautiful enough to be on film and who's not, undermines what is essentially wrong with how this cult of personalty rate and judge people ... and it's also indicative of how often we don't mind our own business. Essentially, we all have room for self-improvement... Howard Stern especially.
In the grand scheme of things, who cares if Gabourey does have health problems? Those are between she and her doctor. So what if in addition to being overweight, she has the unmitigated gall to be darker-skinned than most people are comfortable with seeing on their American screens? The contempt that people like Howard Stern display when body-snarking and in determining whether Sidibe's race and figure will guarantee her continued fame and success, is indicative of their own self-loathing. Gabourey's health is no more at risk than actors' who smoke, binge and purge, get excessive amounts of plastic surgery, or snort coke.
I'm still enraptured by her spirit, the outstanding performance she gave in 'Precious,' and how infectious her personality is during interviews. Sidibe seems to be above the nonsense, as she  stated that suddenly one day, she woke up and determined for herself, that she was beautiful.

That is all.

January 23, 2008

No Love

Amidst all the chaos, the trials and tribs, my fall and subsequent rise. In the crux of my moving, job hunting, cursing my bad luck, finally starting and now settling into a new job, apartment hunting, contemplation, absorption, ups and downs... In the midst of this egomaniacal reverie... I haven't, not once, entertained the thought of dating, men, signiffy others, sex or lack thereof, or the joys of digital manipulation, even. It has been awhile since I've lamented over my solitary confinement. I haven't thought about ghosts from my pasts at all. They've all become nameless, insubstantial phantoms. I don't wonder what they're doing, I don't care where they are. I don't remember how they look, smell, how much they got on my nerves. What they did to make me sigh with resignation. No dating... away with the online dating profiles, peer to peer contact, considering dating prospects, making eye contact and averting my gaze right before something clicks... all of these things have become my current reality. Because I haven't thought about it until this second, none of it has really mattered or made me feel any self-loathing and self-pity. Oh, I've become quite used to my aloof and cold nature and have settled into my chilly exterior (my interior is quite warm). I honestly don't know what to make of it really. I'm neither pleased with myself or unhappy about how self contained and focused I am. Once things have quieted down, only time will tell what the dating future will conjure up. What creatures will come slithering out from under their moist rock, which normal, sane, handsome gentlemen will take me off guard in spite of myself or what embarrassing yet salacious fodder I'll feed to the masses (or perhaps keep to myself). ... Only time will tell. I am ready for another adventure abroad... this much I know is true.

September 29, 2007

Chocolate Desire

I tout the splendiferous wonders of chocolate as often as I can. In all its various forms (except for white), its richness has the capacity to make knees buckle. It's comparable to sex, if not slightly better, depending on the season-- (but thats debatable). In any event, I always joke that if it weren't so messy, I'd bathe in chocolate. I actually would. Much to my enjoyment, I've recently found a way to indulge my weird fetish for the stuff. It comes in the form of a decadent bar of soap called: Ivorian Cocoa Butter Soap made by the black owned distributor, Nubian Heritage-- (they have a great line of naturally made products by the way, and can be picked up at most beauty supply stores). This soap has a lot of wonderful moisturizing properties, the more important ones or ONE however, are/is milk chocolate and shaved hazelnuts (for exfoliating purposes). I can't begin to describe how sexy it is to bathe with this bar. In the mornings, the warm steam emanating from the shower smells of hot chocolate or warm chocolate milk. I'll just let my chocolaty post-bath water illustrate a telling portrait. Gives new meaning to a man daring to drink some woman's bath water to prove his devotion, no? Has any man actually done that? Contact me if you have! ;-)

September 26, 2007

Slip into Something More Comfortable

*sigh* Ladeeeeeez.
I am well aware of the fact that many of us prefer to wear skirts and pretty figure flattering dresses, but nothing makes a dress more figure flattering then wearing a slip underneath. Oh yes. The concept of wearing a slip seems to be lost on many women these days. It should be as natural as slipping on a pair of panties or a bra-- but unfortunately it's not. Women of various ages will wear thin dresses and flimsy skirts sans lining and stand directly in the sunlight, putting their delicates, curds, and whey on display for all to see. Wearing a pair of red undies under your light colored broom skirt? Guess what? I can see that you are, and so can the rest of the general populace within eye-shot. I don't care what a woman's shape is or how fit (or unfit) she may be... watching ample amounts of fabric gather in the crack of some lady's butt-crack is not couth. Slips are pretty undergarments. They're delicate, they flatter every figure, and come in a wide variety of fabrics... You have sexy stretch slips that shape the body, and would mold your body to look killer under a wrap dress. You have the chemise, you have lacy slips, vintage slips, satin slips-- they span a wide spectrum. Not to mention they provide the female form with a nice silhouette and more importantly, allows the skirt to fall and move freely with the body without clinging and gathering in every nook and cranny. A slip is a novel concept. Plus they're dead sexy. Imagine sitting at home with a glass of red, lounging to some Thelonious Monk... luxuriating in a black number... the sex, no? Anyway, try one. Give the crack of your ass a break.

September 19, 2007

Lucky Days

As if it's even possible, I've found yet another way to be eccentric.
I'm finding that I wont wake up, unless the digital "hand", if you will, on the clock, strikes number thirteen after the hour. Sounds strange, I know. But, I sleep with a deck of Ryder-Waite tarot cards under my pillow (wrapped in cloth) so bear (left) with me. In any event, my theory is if I wake up on the 13th minute after every hour, I'll have a decent day or that some semblance of luck will strike. So instead of waking up at 6:00, I'll hit the Snooze button and lay there until 6:13. At times, I've taken to setting at least one of my alarm clocks (I set at least 3, one of which is fifteen minutes ahead), to go off at 5:10AM, and will proceed to lay there for 3 additional minutes. The key is to hop out of bed quickly, before the minute is up. Once the 14th minute strikes, I feel screwed and will accept the fact that my day will probably be a little bent. I must say, a couple of good things (sometimes in the midst of certain annoyances) have worked out in my favor within the past two weeks or so. I really think this method to improving my karma is fumbling it's way towards... well... working? ... I'll keep all interested parties hip to this newly discovered insanity.

September 07, 2007

A Wrinkle in Time

I have a confession to make. While I am glad to have made it to 30 (and it was a tumultuous ride to say the least), I've become a bit obsessed with the aesthetic of aging. I've upped the ante on my skin regimen and want to kick myself if I fall asleep without having washed off my eye makeup and the environmental elements. It's maddening when I do that. I must also admit that seeing a woman with a heavily weathered, acned, or wrinkled visage makes me feel a bit, well, uncomfortable. My mind starts fast forwarding to the future. Wondering if my face will look like an old moccasin or a greasy pizza. Of course I fret over such matters when the rest of the world is asleep and I'm alone. I start checking for crow's feet, laugh lines, hormonal related acne. Or any other normal signs of aging. I wonder if I'm the only one who can see my pores or if I'm just giving in to my neuroses once again. I turn around around to and fro in the mirror, checking the span of my hips (which have gotten a bit wider), and bottom. I look to see if there is any additional dimpling in the backs of my thighs. Perhaps it's just me and my crazy idiosyncratic behavior, but I never expect age to make me ever more neurotic and nit picky about myself. Confidence and self-acceptance aside, I have to struggle not to agonize over my own, bothersome vanity. My growing narcissism has become the bane of my existence. These thoughts creep and crawl under and around more pertinent concerns. They snake and coil their way around more relevant matters. Prompting me to moisturize and exfoliate my way to comfort. When I let such thoughts have their way, I catch myself because I begin to feel guilty and foolish. ...

August 04, 2007

Fifteen Additional Minutes

So, I mentioned in a previous post that I got interviewed by Fox 61 News reporter Rick Hancock. Well, the segment is upon the web and I was conflicted about posting the link, because quite simply I'm a narcissist and my own worst critic. I always find something to pick apart and criticize, especially when it comes to pictures and such. In any event, you all (interested parties) probably have some semblance of an idea about how I feel about how I look and sound on camera. *ahem* I will admit that it is not as bad as I initially thought It'd be. I don't think I sound special like I feared. I do sound like I'm from Orange County or some such place, however. Not cool. Anyway, there's no hiding. The segment and podcast are up on the Fox 61 News site for the masses to see and therefore easily Googleable for anyone nosy enough to go through the trouble... so no amount of dragging my feet will keep my short interview from being seen. You all see my big mug plastered on here all the time, not to mention I promised I would link it. I'm a man of my word, so let me save your Google hand the trouble and offer up the goods. The podcast can also be found on the same site

July 30, 2007

Permutations on Love

Often on this blog, I lament a lot over being single and not having found my Rebel Prince, not ever having been in love, so forth and so on. As the aging process continues it's cycle (I'll be 30 next month), I realize that I'm not even ready to settle down with someone. A man would truly have to be something akin to one of the 8 Wonders of the World in order for me to fall head over heels and give up the solitude I so enjoy more and more each day. Fellow blogger, Hedonistic Pleasureseeker said it best, when she commented on the Over It entry:
When married people try to set me up I get a little suspicious. First, couples only seem to want to socialize with other couples. It's totally lame, but at least be a little flattered that they're trying to make it "ok" for you to be a part of their little group. Unattended marauding females being so dangerous and suchwhat, you're "safer" around their boyfriends/husbands if some OTHER guy has claimed ownership of your vagina. Men won't respect YOU, but they WILL respect the property rights of other MEN. I know, it's creepy, sexist and gross but it's the truth. Another reason I get suspicious is that I sense that some of them are jealous of my freedom and want to make me as unhappy as they are. Misery loves company! I love not being joined at the hip with someone I have to constantly negotiate with. "What do you want to do?" "I don't know, what do YOU want to do?" BAH! I want him to get out of my house so that I can take a bath and paint my toenails in peace!
I could not have ranted it better myself. As I believe I stated before, being a loner... enjoying my solitude does not mean that I am ALONE or lonely. All of this pining for someone... wanting... grasping... hoping... was all for naught. Particularly considering that I quite possibly would've had the relationship not having been ready for it or even truly wanting it. I would've grown stone-cold like a neglected cup of coffee. The concept of a full time lover would've grown stale. I don't even really want to entertain potential suitors or go on dates anymore. Having a hubby or a live in lover would mark an end to dancing in my underwear as I sing along to the Dream Girls soundtrack. It would mean no more sampling sauces and dipping the spoon back in the pan (a luxury I enjoy since I'm cooking for one). I'd have to eat Nutella out of the jar, on the down low. And worst of all, I'd have to share closet and bathroom space! I'm certainly not ready for that. If I happen upon a bar all by me lonesome, that's the way I want and planned it... and have every intention of leaving alone. A woman sitting with a glass of wine is nothing more than that. It's not an indication that she's on the prowl, hoping to be chatted up and treated to an additional drink and regaled with lascivious stories... at least that's not the case with me. Perhaps all I wanted all along were warm boy parts to keep my mattress warm. Notwithstanding the fact that the thrashing, tossing, and turning my dreams generate produce more than enough heat. How enlightening.

July 28, 2007

Good "Bad" Hair Day

I'm having a particularly good "afro puff" day this afternoon (must be the new hair bands I bought a couple of weeks ago), so I figured I'd commemorate it with a scene from one of my FAVORITE movies. This film, School Daze written and directed by Spike Lee, and this scene in particular serves as an excellent illustration of Colorism which occurs most often in African-American communities (refer to rap and R&B music videos as one contemporary example), Latin-American communities, and especially abroad in countries such as Nigeria, Brazil, India, the Caribbean, and in Spanish speaking countries. Black sororities and fraternities at historically black colleges were once notorious for this form of inter-discrimination.
**Read: Don't Play in the Sun authored by Marita Golden.**
P.S. Don't call anybody a jiggaboo, unless you want to get dough-blowed in the neck.
Have a great weekend.

November 12, 2006

Vanity Fair

Friday, while I was visiting over at my mother's house, she caught me sneaking glances in the mirror every now and again before jokingly stating matter-of-factly,

"Coffey, stop looking in the mirror. Vanity is a sin."
I guess I hadn't even realized that I was doing it, as is always the case, so I was a bit surprised and embarrassed by what she said... or by being caught, rather. I honestly never stopped to think about how vain I acutally am. I presume to think that no one does, really (unless you're just downright conceited and in need of attention and validation). I consider myself a modest and self-deprecating person, but when taken to task about my mild (or not so mild) narcissism, I guess I am rather vain. I haven't been conscious of it, until it has been pointed out, for I'm far from being a hollow woman, but pondering and now realizing what is in fact, my vanity, I suppose I am ostentatious in my appearance and vain in more ways than I realized. I mean, my pictures folder on my computer’s desktop is brimming with images of myself, and I don't even enjoy taking or posing for pictures! I plaster un-obscured images of myself on this very blog, as well as on my MySpace profile. I am conscious of my appearance, and sneak glimpses in hand-held compact mirrors at work and in the staff microwave. I've been caught in the ladies room, on more than a few occassions leaning towards the mirror or turned around staring at my behind. UsuallyI turn on the faucet and start washing my hands, to make it look innocent, as my startled glance met the the knowing smirk of whoever burst into the bathroom. When I wore my Beaujolais colored lipstick to work the other day, people definitely took notice… someone commenting, “Where’re you going? You have on special lipstick. For who?” I blew off the comment and probing question, simply answering that I was trying out a new color for Fall, which I was. So yes, I suppose I am vain. I make this admission sheepishly however, my face flushing hot from my diffidence. I blogged about vanity before… not coming to grips with my own... not head on, anyway, merely talking about toiletries and various beauty products on the market. It seems the older I get, the more cognizant and analytical I am when looking in the mirror. I stretch my forehead, to see if there’re any visible wrinkles or lines forming yet. I lean forward, the tip of my nose meeting the mirror, to see if my pores are gaping, I smile and release it, to see whether laugh lines'll form beside my lips, like an Etch-a-Sketch drawing. I turn from side to side, to see if I'll find dark circles or if any crow’s feet are traipsing along the sides. I slather on lipgloss, even if I don’t need to… to do so is almost comforting. I step back, to make sure the span of my ample hips, thighs, and behind haven't spread anymore. When I walk past buildings (the Gold Building especially... Hartford, CT area residents know what I'm talking about), I glance at my reflection quickly, to make sure the hems of my pants fall to my shoes just-so and aren't clinging to my ankles.

I’m out of control...

February 20, 2006

Fountain of Insanity

It's sunny and beautiful (albeit it cold) outside, and I'm surely getting back to my usual self. The funk has all but subsided. I am still dying for spring to make an appearance, however. Don't know why she's being so elusive; this winter seems rather long and tedious to me. Anyway, I've thoroughly purged my disdain for Valentine's Day, enjoyed the chocolate fruits of February 15th, and I am feeling pretty good.

March is clipping at my heels. Pretty soon August will have arrived and I will be 29. Thirty is looming ever so closely, and I actually look forward to abandoning my twenties! I am forced to have to admit however, I'm starting to get caught up in the rapture of vanity. I've always been vain, in the usual way most of us are, but I'm finding that I've become more cognizant of the signs of aging.

While I will welcome thirty with open arms, I don't want my older age to be apparent on skin or face. To note: I'm supposed to be using this day off from work to exercise but upon waking up and dousing my face with cold water, I spent time staring into the mirror, checking for loose skin under my eyes; pinching here, pinching there. I turned my head this way and that way several dozen times, viewing at every angle. I have always been obsessed with skincare. As a tween, (whose body developed earlier than most girls my age), between the ages of about 10-13, I endured the rough, tumble, and seemingly pitiless period known as puberty. My forehead developed an outbreak of nasty spots that make me shudder when I think about them, till this day. Some of the musty-smelling, harsh boys in my class (who were grappling with puberty in their own stinky, weird voiced ways), took to calling me "freckle face" due to the spots on my forehead.

 It wasn't the worst acne outbreak. I still fared better than most during that time, but I was singled out nevertheless. I felt powerless. I would wash my face, to no avail. My mother lectured that I wasn't washing thoroughly. That plain water simply wasn't enough. She scolded me about the importance of Noxzema or some other cleansing cream. I didn't want to believe her, for what child wants to succumb to the revelation that mother does, indeed, know best. So I tried her method, and much to my amazement and relief, my skin started clearing up. It simply needed a thorough cleaning.

 I still grappled and fought for beautiful skin throughout my life. College wasn't a good skin period. I was living in a rural college town in Wisconsin, where the water was harsh to both my hair and my skin. My pores were clearly visible, my legs were ashy and dry a lot of the times, despite slathering on oils and lotions... it was a nightmare. It didn't matter that I was doing all the proper things to care for my skin; I may as well have been washing my face in battery acid with that water.

Anyway, my skin is finally where it needs to be. I have my moments -- particularly once a month -- but I am obsessed now. I never go to bed without washing my face, no matter how tired I am. I have, but will end up lying there, unable to sleep, thinking that I can actually feel the harsh elements coagulating on my skin. So I end up hopping out of bed to wash. I’m generous user of Oil of Olay. I'm constantly slathering on moisturizers of all sorts. I exfoliate the hell out of my face and body. Mint Julep Mask? Check. English Mud Clay Mask? Check. Microdermabrasion scrub? Check Olay Regenerist hot scrubby stuff? On my list, but they're always out of stock. Exfoliating bath towel? Black Soap?? Salt scrub?? Olay Quench, Black & Beautiful Body Sheen, Cocoa Butter, Body butters, resistance to super-duper cold water, Red wine???... Check! Check! Check! I even pay close attention to my hands.

 I think I am slowly, but surely, becoming one of those anti-aging fanatics. I probably won’t ever need Botox, however, because I've been deadpanning most of my life, and am sans lines on my forehead. I think a lot of the hype is bullshit, but at a whopping $100+, would probably splurge on some Creme de la Mer  if I could afford to. Who am I fooling? I look forward to getting older, I really do. I just don't want to LOOK aged. It's an expensive and exasperating religion to buy into.

While I am clearly more aware my skin's texture and on the lookout for lines and such, I don't think I'm as bad as other women. I stick to a pretty basic skin regimen, and it's been working wonders, but I am open to trying new things. Are men this obsessed with skincare and their own vanity? You must be, to some degree.