A Very London Christmas

Much like all other things in life, the English are much better at Christmas than Americans. Probably due in large part to the fact that there is very little public religious association, and a significant emphasis on spirit and festivity. Never has it been so apparent which country the Pilgrims ran from, and which one they ran to.

There are certain areas in particular where this celebratory excellence really shines.

Christmas Jumpers: While Americans thought they were super cool for throwing Ugly Christmas Sweater parties and making fun of over decorated kindergarten teachers from coast to coast, the British have made festive jumpers clever and adorable and mandatory. They go along with the almost daily Christmas parties throughout the month of December (and sometimes November) and the only thing more embarrassing than a hideous one is not wearing one at all. Wooly jumpers are, and always have been a British wardrobe staple, but as soon as reindeer, penguins, and fair isle snowmen jump on you’ve got yourself a cultural must-have. And I must have one. Or two.

Greetings: There is absolutely zero sensitivity about how you choose to spread holiday cheer. Yes, England has its own brand of Protestantism, but London is a cosmopolitan city and honestly no  one cares what you do in your own time, so we all acknowledge that decorations and warm spiced wine and chocolate are wonderful. End of.

Advent Calendars: They do have their roots in very Christian tradition, but most people in England probably don’t know that. They’re simply  a reason to start opening tiny presents as soon as December begins. There are many chocolate ones, but these days you can get them with Legos, and candles, and makeup, and nuts. Really anything you want to wake up to. Why has America not been doing this?

My dream advent calendar.

Twinkle Lights: Fairy lights, Christmas lights, whatever you want to call them, they are flipping everywhere. Every major street in London has light up snowflakes and trees and baubles on the street lights. But the department stores completely take the cake. With the mutual goal of covering every square inch of their five-story city blocks in twinkles they all compete to do it the best (except for Peter Jones, which sticks with the classic stripes) to astonishing effect. And not one bulb is ever out.

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No Pesky Thanksgiving: Forget hearing everyone complain about how early the holiday songs are on the radio and having to start shopping the Christmas sales when you’ve barely got the cobwebs down from Halloween. All of that is not only acceptable, but encouraged, in England because there is no silly day of eating (celebrating said Pilgrims’ inability to farm) to get in the way. Though I did have a silly day of eating with a large bunch of British people, who were confused but hungry, and it was fun trying to explain casseroles, sweet potatoes with marshmallow, and pumpkin pie (“Yes, I’m sure that the marshmallows are a side and the pie is the dessert; I mean the pudding”)

I suppose it’s just one more thing to add to the list of reasons why London is the best city in the world and I need to find a way to never leave. As if I needed more.

Happy Christmas xx

Do Not Open Until

Pretend for a second that these are your favorite pair of underwear (this may be awkward for you if you are a male person, but just go with it). What scenario would justify wearing them? A date? Your birthday? Tuesday? Not until your 20th wedding anniversary?

How we include our favorite things in our lives can be very telling about how we are as people, I think. For a very long time I have had a favorite everything- shirt, plate, lipgloss, scissors, pen, and, of course, underwear- and got a weird sense of satisfaction out of not using it. I would come up with elaborate fantasy scenarios for the circumstances that would give me the permission to use or wear whatever it was. This nail polish is so perfect and beautiful, and cost three dollars more than any other nail polish I own, so I will only wear it when I go out for strawberry milkshakes with my true love. Cut to finding this four dollar bottle of nail polish in the back of a drawer (which it was fused to) looking semi-exploded and a completely different color than it started because it is so old and gross.

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I do still believe it’s nice to save some things for special occasions, but what qualifies as a special occasion should be something that is likely to occur in the regular course of your life at least two or three times a year, or more depending on the longevity of the item. The logical reasons for this include expiration dates (not always just a suggestion), value, and the very nature of indulgence. Lots of things are at their best when they’re fresh, and not just the perishables. Clothes go out of fashion and handbags get much less dusty if you use them. And if you’ve bought something because you love it more than the usual things in your life then it’s purpose for existing, and your purpose in buying it, are squandered by it’s being put on a pedestal of seclusion.

It took  me a long time to realize this was stupid, and even longer to do something about it. Now that I have consciously become someone who does and uses what they like I’m extremely aware of it and hyper appreciative when I do. And I have to say it’s so much better than not doing it or using it- as you probably knew, because you are not a freak with a five year old sample pouch of luxury shampoo.

While “you’re worth it” (and you are), “life is short”, and “YOLO” these extreme philosophies shouldn’t be necessary to get into the practice of enjoying your life. Definitely keep a nice bottle of champagne in the fridge in case something exciting happens, but if no one has commited their lives to you or decided to give you more money by the end of the year, then drinking it while you eat pie and watch your Buffy the Vampire Slayer box set in novelty leggings is a worthwhile special occasion.

Stuff Sick

Now that I am in the very throes of Autumn in London people have started to ask me if I’m homesick at all, if I miss where I came from. My first instinct, of course, is to look at them as if they have suddenly grown another head because we are standing in London when they ask me this. What is there to miss when you’re in the greatest city in the world?

But anytime you do something different and new there are always going to be things about what was old and the same that you do think might be nice to have from time to time. When I actually stopped to think about these things, for me, it really amounts to stuff. I miss the crap that wouldn’t fit in the suitcase. Not enough to fly home and get it. Or to even try to find a reasonable facsimile here, just enough for an “Aw, shucks” moment.

I’m in wild, passionate love with London and have no desire to be anywhere else, but these are the little things I kind of wish were here with me:

1. Mac and Cheese.

2. Driving. Not that I want to drive or park a car here, but the efficiency of tube, bus and feet will never be as much fun as driving.

3. In-N-Out burger and other food that is both delicious and genuinely cheap (damn you currency conversion)

burger

4. Mexican food. Made by Mexican people.

5. My jewelry box, and its contents, but mostly the box.

6. Having a living room. With a TV.

7.  My mommy (only sometimes) Umm, I mean, the beach, yeah, the beach is cool.

8. That one dress that I didn’t think I would need but would be totally perfect for this thing and is now uselessly sitting in a box 8,000 miles away.

9. Cake. And pie. And cookies. Brits think they know how to make these, but they are wrong.

10. Target. And really just the concept of going to one store to get all of your essentials. But, exercise is good, too, I hear.

Of course there are things that would make life just a bit more perfect, but that would be true no matter where I am. Also, I may or may not have chosen a few boxes of Mac and Cheese instead of that dress when it came to packing my suitcase, and that’s a decision I may or may not have to live with. And I can bake my own cookies and steal cars if I need to.

HoT goes to BoB

While I have clearly been nothing but super involved and fascinating since I touched down on British soil I do occasionally just sit in my comfy bed and kill time on the internet. Because I am a human. But somehow even my downtime found a way to keep life interesting. After a carelessly written, but fortuitous tweet I won a contest for a lovely handbag and tickets to the Best of Britannia expo! So off I went to Farringdon where the Farmiloe Factory Building had been transformed, with market lights, an inflatable awning, and a gin food truck into a multi story pop up department store.

 

 

Here British brands and their British goods propped up colorful and charming stands with everything from printed cushions, furniture and motorcycles, to the satisfyingly traditional wool wares, brogues, and fascinators. And then there are some of the only high heels manufactured entirely in the UK, by Yull, which happen to be completely adorable- I’m a little obsessed.

The links are to some of my favorite brands and products that I ran into at the expo, but there are so many more fantastic ones- I didn’t even tell you about all the sock companies! You can browse the comprehensive list by clicking here. If I could only manage to get invited to a hundred more weddings and races then I would basically be best friends with Jess Collett and sleep in her hats.

The rather incredible venue.
Jess Collett and a few of her beautiful headpieces.
A signature Yull court shoe.

The day out was made even better by the interruption of a cold and delicious locally brewed beer and the yummiest pulled pork sandwich I’ve had this side of the Atlantic from the very cheeky food truck, Pulled. The beautiful handbag, from Ally Capellino, that started it all, is not in my hands quite yet, but I very eagerly anticipate it. I may or may not have been very cross with an evangelist who came to my door when they were not the mailman with my bag.

Cheeky sandwich signage.

Of course I can’t forget all the fun I had with Roohani from Scarlett of Soho, which is essentially London’s answer to Warby Parker. You get to take home and test out four different frames for five days, mail them back and order the ones you like best, with your prescription of course, at a very reasonable price. I liked these so much I almost walked away with them on my face, but they stopped me. And they have sunglasses, too! (I’m trying to find the picture I took – will update this post when I do.)

Special thanks also must go to Uber London, without whose tweet and support of Best of Britannia this whole amazing day never would have happened. Also they are great and pick you up from clubs in Shoreditch when you realize how old you are.

This year’s expo is over, but they do plan to start having them more frequently, and you can shop all the British brands all year round.

*This post is not sponsored by anyone. All my favorites are genuine.

Shoes You Can Walk In

It’s time for all the girls to admit that same of your shoes are not for walking. Maybe guys too? I have no idea. I can’t get a guy to talk about shoes with me. I have gotten some strange looks from my mother, and other people, when I show them some of my favorite pairs of shoes and tell them that they are for sitting. Possibly standing. But not walking. My six inch red leather pumps are gorgeous and sexy and glorious and are intended to get me from house to car, car to venue, where I will then recline fetchingly with my legs crossed to show my super hot shoes off to best advantage.

That said, I now live in a city where walking is my main form of transportation. The red pumps are stashed away because it would have been too heartbreaking to watch them pout on a shelf while I reach for more practical options. Luckily there are some very cute shoes you can actually walk in these days, without someone asking if you’re working out later.

One of my very favorites is the classic flat riding boot.

These riding boots, by Frye, are cute with everything.

You can wear them with jeans or skirts and dresses, just add tights. Or, if you are chronically clumsy, and also cold, like me you can also hide a pair of fuzzy knee high socks and ankle braces under there. And squishy insoles. On top of the tights. I’m full of secrets.

Next up, ballet flats!

London Sole flats are pretty much the creme de la creme.

Not only are they adorable and universally flattering, but they fit in your purse! And no laces or zippers. Drunk girl’s best friend. They are equally cute when you’re sober, so that’s nice, too. And again- toss a pair of foamy insoles in there and there is absolutely no need to suffer for beauty when strolling the outdoor market spanning the never ending street. Perfect back ups to have with you when you think wearing heels all day is just an instance of mind over matter, before finding out its more like fire blisters over toes.

Which brings us to the sandal.

Not too strappy; not too stroppy. Available on Amazon.

When a flip flop just doesn’t cut it because you need  for people to think that you actually wear shoes. But you actually want to show off that you took the time to paint your toes and sit still for longer than you thought was humanly possible. Also a great option for when you do get a blister and it’s literally impossible to wear anything else, but you’re afraid enough of stepping on broken glass and making it worse that you will strap something on.

But sometimes a girl needs a couple inches, so wedges!

You can get some that look exactly like these Christian Louboutins for a rational price.

In the interest of full disclosure you’re probably not going to get the same distance out of these as something flat, more so if you are me and any incline combined with weak ankles is likely to result in a falling over episode at some point. But a nice wedge is both totally formal acceptable and can make it over a few cobblestones with limited mishaps. If you’re really worried about them not being the same as a nice high heel just make sure you are always facing people and they will feel like royalty as you back out of their presence. (Walking backward may increase your chances of falling over though.)

And for when you have fallen over in the wedges, but are still commited to tallness and think you can hide your ankle brace somehow- shoe boots.

So many options these days, like these from Mr.Shoes.

Remember that for these to qualify as walking shoes you do not want supermodels- not too tall and not too thin. Otherwise you might as well just go for the heels. Unless your cold, then high heeled shoe boots could be your thing. But not for walking. No more than 2 1/2 inches on a nice chunky heel, throw those trusty insoles in and you’re practically comfortable.

I tend to stick to a fairly neutral palette for matching purposes. All of these are that little bit easier to walk in when they’re broken in and it’s barely worth it to break in the purple ones. But it is nice to have at least one pair of statement shoes to go with a basic outfit, so leopard flats or any of these with buckles or sparkle embellishments are worth keeping on hand.

Or fuck it and call Uber. Wear whatever shoes you want.

Beyonce of Britain

They warned me. And I didn’t listen. I should have known better. Every time I travel somewhere, for any length of time, I get a bit more attention then when I’m back where I grew up. You know what kind of attention I’m talking about. This may or may not have anything to do with the fact that my happy quotient dramatically increases when I’m somewhere new and exciting and amazing. Leading up to my intercontinental move, certain of my friends and family, while supportive, told me to be careful because the male population was going to prostrate themselves at my feet (the unsupportive ones said I would be kidnapped and stabbed – but same idea). And I laughed. Because that would never happen.

I had to think for a long time how best to explain this. Now it isn’t as if I’ve never inspired surprising behavior from men before in my life, or women for that matter, and anyone who has been in public with me knows that I am a crazy magnet (like that guy with one eye who pet my hair in line at the grocery store…and…that’s another blog). But I have not been at university for a while now and working early hours with an early bedtime has meant that I’m used to being treated mostly normally in a professional setting. I naturally assumed that those days of leaving lustful insanity in my wake were in my past.

Wrong. So wrong. Saying it out loud sounds like a lie. I would think I had imagined it if it weren’t for the physical evidence to hand and the baffled looks on the faces of passersby.

I have been undeniably stalked on five completely separate occasions in the last two weeks. Even for someone whom weird things happen around this seems excessive. And because we live in a gender biased world full of assumptions we should be embarrassed by, let me just say that I was not wearing anything particularly provocative and none of these occurrences were in a bar or a club. And I tell you this not to explain or defend myself, but to illustrate the whole picture. One in a shop, one at dinner, one on the tube, one on the street, and one while I was sitting next to a fountain. After the second one it was really hard not to say, “Again?? Really?!”

And the things they said… “Are you sleeping with anyone right now?” “We’ll go to dinner tonight.” (Not a question.) “Where are you going right now?” “So, where is your house?” “You’re so attractive I had to try.” How did they imagine this going?? I don’t know you! I don’t know what the charming way is to approach a complete stranger with an appeal to spend time with them, but I know that these were not it.

 

When I say stalking I literally mean I was standing and walking and they would place themselves a step behind and right next to me for a significant amount of time before blurting out personal questions and eventually asking for my number, phone in hand. Now, I’ve been out of the game for a while but I’m pretty sure that this is not a generally accepted method of flirting. It can’t be. When my first instinct is to hold my purse closer and scan my immediate surroundings for witnesses you are not putting me in a frame of mind to want to spend time with you in the future. And how are you confident enough in this plan to already have your phone out? I genuinely hope that these were once in a lifetime occurrences for all of these men – even if that’s giving myself way too much credit – because I’m not ready to acknowledge a world where there is enough positive reinforcement to encourage that kind of behavior. I was led to believe that British men were more reticent than the usual and formal introductions would be necessary before any romantic entanglements could even be hinted at. And that still seems to be the case with the ones I actually want to talk to, but my goodness, the ones I don’t. I walk down the street like a normal person and somehow they see this:

Except, you know, much whiter. Most of the time I would love to be mistaken for a Beyonce-like creature, but in this instance I’m only using the simile because she’s the only reference I could think of that seems to be set apart from the typical human experience. Someone for whom this kind of insanity might be commonplace. And she might be the only one I can talk to about it, because the most obnoxious part of this experience has been not the stalking itself – which is bad enough – but the reactions of people I tell, with a few exceptions. Even in the age of #YesAllWomen and #womenshould the general consensus has been “Well, aren’t you lucky”, “You weren’t stripping when this happened?”, and “Have you tried being less pretty?”

I’m really not sure what to do with that. For now my fake boyfriend I’m always on my way to meet is developing a rather complex back story. Beyond that I’ll just have to hope you can think about how “Pretty Hurts” when you’re a “Single Lady” without too much “Resentment”, while I try to avoid those both “Crazy In Love” and “Drunk in Love” in my search for something “Irreplaceable” while I “Run the World”. “XO”.

HoT

Did anyone realize that the abbreviation for my blog is HoT? Because I only just recently came to this realization and in three days this blog will have been around for exactly 5 years!!!!! It started with the stories from my first foray into London. People liked to hear them so much that I finally wrote them down and put them on the internet. And a short half decade (interminably long slog through life) later I have come full circle to this city where all the best things seem to happen.

Though I didn’t manage it right when I landed I did eventually make it to Byron Hamburgers, which is a massive English chain and not exactly exclusive or secret, but they do happen to have the best malted vanilla milkshakes in the whole world. Then, with a milkshake induced smile on my face, I wandered my way over to Kensington Palace and Gardens to offer my congratulations in person that we are going to meet a new baby Cambridge in a few short months. I’m sure they noticed and appreciated it. Scoped out the Orangery and the maze for future outings before a mandatory stroll about Hyde Park. And as I walked past the imperious granite gaze of Queen Victoria in front of the Round Pond with the sun setting behind the trees and rooftops of the palace I experienced this clarifying moment of peaceful rightness. Like a weeble that had finally stopped wobbling; I found my center. And then I took my bus back to Shepherd’s Bush.

I’ve also managed to squeeze in a book event with one of my favorite authors and a wander over to Portobello Road to find something to put on my walls where I had my choice between Scarface movie poster or two hundred year old mounted bird. I decided to keep looking for room decor. I did manage to get lost in the wilds of Notting Hill, but I can’t be all that upset about it when it meant accidentally running into the entire Beckham family. “Oh, that looks like the Beckhams. That is because it is.” And then Romeo tried to do the thing on the scooter that Brooklyn was doing and fell over, and I was a nanny for way too long not to go pick him up and ask if he wanted a band-aid. He was fine and got up with a big grin and then his very polite father said “Thank you, appreciate it.” and pushed Harper along. Victoria even gave me a sort of half smile smirk which I decided meant two British Victoria’s had looked kindly upon my new enterprise.

Any visitor to London has seen the soldiers in front of the royal palaces, with their big bearskin hats, bright red coats, and cloppy black boots. If you have ever wondered what would happen should you cross one of these well postured fellows I will tell you. Some very obnoxious tourists tested the chain boundary today and the guard on duty responded with a very prompt (and loud) “Oi!” and stomped his foot. That’s it. The rest of us, cameras at the ready, were very disappointed not to have witnessed a bayoneting, but it was still very exciting to see the notoriously stoic soldiers do something slightly out of the ordinary. I discovered later that this was the back entrance to Clarence House (the official London residence of the Prince of Wales) and that I missed Prince Harry’s birthday party by mere hours.

A visiting friend had the brilliant idea to visit the BBC broadcast center and, to no one’s surprise (ok, the Chinese tourists were a bit taken aback) I took over the tour. What started out as a nice walk through of the old concert hall and taunting the weather man during his live broadcast turned into a fully mic-ed radio play re-enactment with sound effects. Then I intimidated the tour guide with my television experience and he let me read the in-house news broadcast. If the teleprompter is any indication I really do need to start talking slower. Once I got my media career off on the right foot I took a walk through Regent’s Park and ogled the penguins at the zoo. Then crashed some wedding pictures at Primrose Hill.

Later in the week I hit up every gift shop on The Mall – discovered the art galleries along the way that evidently everyone knew about but me – and revisited one of my favorite places in London, the National Portrait Gallery. If they let me I would sleep in there. I love staring at all those faces, from throughout human history, reading their stories, and making up the bits that are missing or just coming up with better versions in my head.

Soon I’ll actually have to spend my time studying and discussing and writing papers. It should be interesting to have the tables turned again and go back to being a student,  but I’m looking forward to a year of someone else coming up with the lesson plans. And shopping for school supplies. Maybe more the latter. No, definitely the latter. Pens….

Anyway, I’ll keep doing some travel journal posts here and there but I do plan to also keep up with my usual ruminations and stories. And if you want up to the minute news and jokes and things remember to find me on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram as well as subscribing to the blog.

HoT x

Hillary and the Royal Mail: A Love Story

She walked onto new shores, with that glint of hope in her eyes. She thought the mail would be just like her postal service back home. Respectful, always there when she called, putting everything she needed and asked for in her box at a convenient and predictable time (except on Sundays). Hillary would come home to her messages in a nice stack. Some words of love, others asking for money, but no one’s perfect. She hadn’t even thought to imagine that service would be so different in her new home.

Recklessly, she ordered boxes and boxes of things she needed for her new flat. “They’ll arrive at my door!” she thought, “I don’t have to carry thirty square feet of mattress pad across three boroughs on the tube!”. Little did she know this relationship would not be like her last. That she would be shackled to her home for days during regular business hours to have even the hope of a chance to see her mailman and receive her packages.

Royal Mail

 

First, it was an email. “We’ll be by with one of your parcels today.” So she waited for three hours (mostly catching up on youtube videos) until, finally, she couldn’t take it anymore and thought she must take a shower or go mad. Naturally this is when her postie chose to arrive and her hopes of hanging up her clothes with the new coat hangers that were due to appear, were dashed. Another email came through minutes later, “I failed to deliver your order. I’ll try again tomorrow.” She knew what that meant. Hillary had heard of his kind. Just like the cable company. Keeping you waiting all day. Never vacuuming or doing dishes for fear you might miss the knock on the door and sentence yourself to another day of this anxious, anticipatory hell. She even went so far as to change her clothes in hopes that the temptation of being both half naked and trapped in her shirt would be too much for fate to resist and a knock would sound at the door.

She can’t help but wonder, how does a country that once ruled the world function this way? Building relationships based on fear and blackmail is no way to find love, or operate a postal service. She now sees why we had that revolution. The windows, the paper, the tea, and wasting your life away waiting for the Royal Mail. She ordered coat hangers from Fife. Hillary can only imagine waiting for all of your worldly belongings in Jamestown, wondering if they’re coming via freaking rowboat across the Atlantic while you fend off native peoples with nowhere to bloody sit down because all your chairs are in the parcel!

In the early afternoon the knock finally came! (And there was actually a person on the other side of the door, unlike the first three times she answered it to no one) And just like the desperate neglected girlfriend she had become she thanked the postman profusely and took her package into her warm embrace. He doesn’t know there is another way. And she still has five more boxes coming so she really needs not to piss him off. This controlling relationship will continue so long as she lets it.  Or until she stops ordering things. Or moves back to America. But he still has something she wants, namely her stuff. And so she waits. Peeking through the curtains and running to the door at every noise until she gets what she craves.

London Called, I Answered

London Called, I Answered

At first it was just a casual musing. “Gee, that study abroad semester in London sure was a lot of fun.” London was a happy memory while I went about the tedious business of adulthood. Trying out jobs, and cities, and questions. Sometimes things went well and sometimes they didn’t, but I started to wonder, “How hard would it be, really, to go back?” In this age of modern communication and convenience it turns out it’s not all that hard on paper. The other challenges I usually met with “Why should I go while I’ve got this going on?” until the last year or so when that became “Why shouldn’t I go?” This was enormously helped by my acceptance into what I hope will be a pretty cool graduate program.

The view from my bedroom...
The view from my bedroom…

Mere months later, after lining up every duck that got in my way, I’m here in London. This city of history, and accents, and Cadbury, the city that has spurred the best romance novels the world has ever seen, and supports the only monarchy anyone still cares about. It’s not exactly like I remember it- five years will do that to a place. But it’s still London. Full of delectable British people and an irrational number of fried chicken shops. As long as I don’t spend too much time in my tiny West London bedroom (must do something about these bare walls) I can remember why I came so far to walk on these streets instead of the ones back home.

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St. Pancras Station

I’m not sure what scribe of fate had a hand in todays script for me, but they clearly had fun with it. After a very lovely and normal lunch date with a friend of a friend that I hope will lead to more friends I decided to walk to my new school that I had never seen in real life. Honestly, part of me wanted to make sure it was a real place. First, I walked the wrong direction down the right street, engaged in some very pleasant eye flirting with the dishy security man in front of the Renaissance hotel and ended up at the British Library. So I popped in to visit the Magna Carta, Jane Austen’s writing desk and Henry VIII’s letters before turning around. As you do. The walking went on for a while, but I did find the school and persuaded them to let me wander about aimlessly. It’ll do, I think. Then I got lost trying to find a tube station hiding in a bend in the road.

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My university!

Made it to the platform only to hear “Ladies and gentlemen, there was a man on the track at Aldgate, the train will be 11 minutes late.” This is a very British and polite suicide report to which my fellow travelers replied with very quiet and insensitive grumbles. So we all mush onto the very late train and I snag a seat- of course, looking around avidly for a pregnant woman to give it to before she has a chance to glare at me when I take it. A couple stops before I get home, as I read the Evening Standard (my horoscope said that a big change in my life would make things confusing, but things would work out positively soon) a man on the train hands me a page ripped out from the book he was reading with his number written on it before stepping off. I smiled politely and when the doors closed me and a few other passengers/witnesses burst out laughing. I made it home only to tumble down the stairs from the platform when my ankles refused to take another step without an explanation for this crazy walking behavior.

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In the strange haze of jet lag I made it home with a skinned knee, a phone number, and a sudden urge to eat lots of dried cranberries. I managed to put together a slightly healthier dinner, ordered more pillows for my bed so that I can nest in them, and questioned all my life decisions before writing this and crashing while staring at a pile of half unpacked neutrally toned shoes.

Being a Lady While Being a Lady

There are plenty of things that are perfectly within your realm of control to ensure your perpetual perception as a paragon of class and practical perfection (that was quite a bit of alliteration- I apologize). You can plan your outfits to be weather, event, and circumstantially appropriate. In fact you definitely should, because two out of three of the above is not going to cut it. Your heeled wedges are perfect for the mild summer breezes and the grass at the afternoon outdoor wedding, but if the rustic chic barn is a mile from the freaking parking lot then you will be sweaty and angry with a broken ankle when you make it to cocktail hour. In this situation you should really go with a nice ballet flat and possibly make new friends that realize the wisdom of a shuttle bus.

You can also stock your purse with all of the hydrating mist spray, hand sanitizer, bottle openers, and pens that it will fit. But, first, remember that being that prepared makes for a very heavy bag and sanitizer is not going to help you with imbalanced weight induced scoliosis. It also means it’s really hard to find the things you really do need out of your purse, like keys. Do you really need something else in your bag that possesses the power to explode at an inopportune moment? Pen, paper, and eight tootsie pops are obviously requisite.

woman at work

Then there are the things that we can do nothing about, regardless of all the planning in the world. A door that is too heavy to open when your arms are full of important and precariously balanced papers. Spilling… well there are really an innumerable number of things you can spill. Wardrobe malfunctions. Periods. To continue being a lady in these kinds of scenarios takes commitment and calm. Raging lunatic is not ladylike, solves nothing, and looks good on no one. So put the papers down and then open the door. Asking for help is completely acceptable and is not a threat to global feminism. As for the spilling, a Tide pen should really be one of the pens in your stash- and if you’re like me then a spare shirt is not a bad idea. Wardrobe malfunctions can take many forms but most can be solved with a safety pin, some duct tape, or mole skin. As for periods- do not panic. Assess the crisis, excuse yourself from public interaction, do damage control insofar as you can, and call in reinforcements as necessary.

Maintaining your composure is the real key to being a lady. You are more than anything you have and anything that happens. And there’s always wine.