Black Fri Lady

Yes, I’m aware the wordplay does not completely work. But the sentiment stands true. There is nothing ladylike about elbowing your way to an eighteen dollar sweater at five in the morning. There is no reason to pay more for something than you have to, but the value of your time and character also have to be accounted for. The spirit of gift-giving is to think about the people in your life you want to show appreciation to and what it is in your power to give them that they might like.

The spirit is not to dive in to the dollar bin grabbing everything within reach, only to decide later which unfortunate cousin is going to get a battered copy of Die Hard, and who gets the stuffed reindeer with the jingle hat. Shopping on Black Friday is not relaxing, so you can’t even claim retail therapy.

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The only ladylike way to shop on the Friday after Thanksgiving (the day after you have dedicated a whole uninterrupted twenty four hours to connecting with friends and family whilst consuming twice your body weight) is online. There are some incredible sales, that no reasonable person can expect you to ignore, but the pursuit of a bargain should not take over your brief respite from work and other distractions. Pick a time to commit yourself to the pursuit of a reasonably priced coat, or set a cellphone alarm for that Amazon lightning deal you just can’t miss, but limit it to an hour or two. Then read a book, curl up and watch a movie, or even take a walk with your aunt or other relative you don’t get to see very often.

As we get older, and advertising agencies get evermore overeager during the holiday season, we seem to forget that celebrating is meant to be about spending time and making memories with those we love. Whether it’s taking the time to tell one another what you’re thankful for, or making sure gifts are both thoughtful and personal, make sure you take full advantage of your time away from the obligations of work to play a little bit.

If your idea of play happens to include a quick tirade through Target with your mom, then so be it.

Happy Thanksgiving! And Happy Hanukkah!

Purse Personified

You might be aware that I recently acquired a Modalu Pippa handbag. The reason you might know this is that I have been flaunting it rather shamelessly, constantly, brazenly since the moment I got it. I have been lusting after this bag for about three years, something I’m sure you can all relate to (if not the bag, then the lust, certainly). I finally received it from a slightly startled UPS man, and was duly enthused.modalu pippa

Now, most people would remain happy with their purchase, but it’s generally hard to keep up the kind of excitement expressed when you just get something, every time you see and use it. My particular brand of excitement mellowed into a form of appreciation heretofore reserved for pets and family members. I personified it. I don’t know how this happened, it wasn’t a conscious decision, but my purse’s name is Purse, and it’s possible I speak to it occasionally.

Just normal things, like, “You sit there, Purse; can’t have you getting your feet dirty.” Or, “Don’t fall on your face, Purse, you have to stand up and show everyone your hardware.” That last one seems much dirtier as I type it than it did setting my purse next to me in the restaurant.

So far it hasn’t said anything back.

Now, I am supremely aware that this is not normal behavior, but also that there are much stranger things I could be doing. Just look around the next time you’re stopped in traffic. And I can’t honestly say that I want to stop. Not that I’m desperate for leather clad friends with handy zippered pockets, but, for someone who usually relishes having a variety of clothes, jewelry, and shoes that I like, I am really enjoying having one thing I love all the time. (Anyone who would like to draw comparisons or juxtapositions to my twenties and the evolution of my romantic ideals, may.)

I can only hope that one day you find one thing, or dare I say, one person, that makes you light up every time you see it. And I promise not to judge you when you ask it what it thinks of your dress.

Boston, I Love You

Marathon Monday is a Boston institution. No matter where you originally hail from, as soon as you become a student at BU, BC, Northeastern, Tufts, Emerson, MIT, Harvard, Mass Art, New England School of Photography, or one of the other 40 colleges and universities within the Boston city limits, you are immediately inducted to the fraternity of Bostonians and a series of social norms that exist nowhere else in the world.

When walking around lost, do not bother looking for the North Star; look for the Citgo sign and find your way home accordingly.

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You are now a Boston sports fan, regardless of whether you’re a sports fan. If you want to avoid public verbal abuse, your wardrobe and general demeanor will express your love and excitement for the Red Sox, Celtics, Bruins, and Patriots on all game days. You will watch these games, and like it.

And, the third Monday in April is a holiday. The state finally got around to declaring it Patriots Day, but everyone in Boston was forgoing work, school, and sports to watch the Marathon long before that. It was a day to revel in the first rays of Spring sunshine, come together with the entire Boston community to support charities and friends, and to start drinking mimosas at 7 am.

Cheering on the marathon runners is part of what it means to live in Boston. On April 15th 2013 that joy, and the perfect memories that day is meant to create, were shred apart by the malicious will of those too cowardly and evil to take responsibility for the destruction they have wrought. Boston is not known for its even temperament, or its ability to forgive.

Boston gets even. Boston comes back stronger. With an indomitable spirit, Boston will recover its role as a place of happiness, adventure, and safety for the students and families who live there.

As an alumna who no longer resides on the banks of the Charles River, I can only say that my heart and my hopes are with my second hometown. We must honor the victims of senseless violence by remembering them; including those killed in Newtown, CT, and recently in Texas, but also move forward with a deeper understanding of what it means to live.

Indulging your dreams and passions, living with your whole heart, is the best way to honor those that are gone. To overcome that which cannot be understood, we should strive to know ourselves better, and be the best version of that person we can, all of the time.

Boston, I love you.

Readers, I love you.

Be kind.

Lit Crush

mr.darcyIt turns out that there are many things that I thought were so universal and obvious that they didn’t need to be discussed, but in this particular instance, and many others, I am wrong. Given the general trend among people to be willfully illiterate I suppose it is not surprising that Literary Crushes are not as common a phenomenon as I thought. As the name suggests, a Literary Crush is a romantic infatuation with a fictional character. This is not to be confused with the insanity associated with Twilight characters which I can only term as emotional cultdom. I am talking about a normal, healthy, I-really-wish-this-was-a-real-person-so-we-could-meet-and-fall-in-love-and-be-happy-forever crush. What may not be quite so healthy is that I have considerably more literary crushes than real person crushes, but I’m going to attribute that to spending more time with books than people.

It was also recently brought to my attention that there are far more crush options available to women than men- varying of course depending on the kind of person you are into. Assuming you are into dynamic character-people you really can’t get invested in traditional romance novel characters and for some reason the women in fiction tend to be accessories to the story, and not nearly so confident, strong and sexy as their fictional male counterparts. Of course there are  exceptions, otherwise guys would have no idea what I’m talking about (I hear Daisy Buchanan is popular) but I get their point overall.

Ladies on the other hand, we get to take our pick from the likes of Mr. Darcy, Rhett Butler, Matthew Clairmont et cie(which is only the tip of a very large iceberg). And while there will always be criticism of taking fiction too seriously, I highly value and encourage a nice literary crush. It can help you figure out what you like and don’t like without the messy fallout of actually experiencing it and hurting some very non-fictional feelings. It can help you assemble a blueprint, as it were, to match real people up against when looking for specific traits you know you adore (though this can definitely be taken too far). Best of all, your literary crush is always there in your head when you want to spend time with them- which is also the worst of all, since they can’t actually exist outside of your head.

There are some very clear pros and cons to any crush, but I can’t recommend a good Lit Crush enough. The nature of that crush is entirely up to you, and you don’t have to tell anyone how serious you are about them… until the wedding and/or hysterical pregnancy.

Exes and Almosts

Most of us have an ex, or two, or twelve. Whatever the case may be chances are not everyone from your past falls into this category. You went out a couple times, but were never really exclusive. You hooked up, but to even call it a friendship would be overstating things. You hung out everyday for a little while, but the exchange of bodily fluids was at an absolute minimum. These are the people (in my particular case, guys) who I put into the “Almost” category.

They had the potential to be an Ex, had the stars aligned and things turned out differently- but they didn’t. And now when you’re telling your friends about that time with the guy from the place you can accurately refer to him (or her) as an Almost. Despite the obvious advantages in retelling stories since there is no longer that awkward pause where you try to explain the exact dynamics of your non-relationship, the simplicity of the word naturally leads to a simplicity of the emotions involved. Much like calling a rejection a work of fate. It puts the whole experience in perspective. If he wasn’t really your boyfriend then you don’t really need to plague yourself with doubt about your oh-so-charming attributes when he doesn’t call. There is no breakup with an Almost, only a drifting out of your life. If he was so boring you’ve tried to block those hours out of your memory then you never have to admit to anyone that he was your boyfriend again. If your girlfriend went to parties without you and made out with random strangers, you would be understandably upset, but when your Almost does it you can happily hope that at the end of the night they will come home to you sloshed and half-naked. You know, or not.

This restructuring of titles and pigeonholes opens up some new options for the future, too. Go ahead and go out with the guy that no one you’re related to or friends with should ever meet- he can be an Almost and you can get a good night out of it. Since an Almost is a total absence of classification you can do what makes you happy and non-awkwardly introduce each other to people without confusion.

This is not to say that an Almost can’t become a proper, exclusive, significant other since, as the name suggests, that person was almost something and could possibly still have the potential to be. But commitment is entirely at your discretion.

Since I am currently fairly occupied with being very busy and important I may spare an evening sometime soon to go find myself a new Almost- so much less work than a boyfriend…

Honorable Mention: Man in the cafeteria, I very much enjoyed my ball point landscape portrait. “Hola,” to you, too.