I stumbled across this intellectual gem some time ago, and - since my last post was on the subject of knickers and other knick-kacks - the time seems right to share it with you. Pay attention because things get complicated.
Weren't you thrilled to hear she'll blog later on writing and poetry, and might even read out a poem? Makes you glad to be alive in the digital age, doesn't it.
At a loose end in Honolulu in March, I went along the road from the hotel to the Ala Moana Centre. Many of the stores in this consumer temple - Amani Exchange, Burberry, Betsey Johnson, Chanel Boutique and so on - were too pricey to even interest me. But I decided to try Victoria's Secret, where at least I might be able to afford a pair of knickers. As it turned out I got four pairs of these for $28.
And trying them on entitled me to the full benefit of the VS experience. A lusciously lit circular area off to the side of the large store gave onto six or eight individually named changing rooms. Here's the interior of mine, a pink and perfumed blend of nursery and boudoir that was nevertheless seductive, even to this sceptic.
I don't know where I had got the idea, though, that VS products were ... well, to use an old-fashioned word, tasteful. Cute? Of course, Pretty? Naturally. Sexy? Sure. But this?
Porn-wear. And this?
A porn pose, just to ram home (sorry) the point.
What do little girls going into these stores with their mothers make of this stuff? What do their mothers tell them?
I can only sign off, Bewildered of Wellington.
Addendum: A young male informant says these two outfits are "no fun", "a bit cheap" and "too signposted".
Three cheers for chaps who like something left to the imagination!
The Times told us recently that prospective brides - in the US; where else? - are opting to be fed by nasal tube to shed weight fast for The Big Day. Romantic or what?
Via their affianced nostril, a yummy blend of protein, fat and water drips into their stomach for up to 10 days. Because this stuff doesn't contain any carbs and amounts to a mere 800 calories a day, our happy brides-to-be, in effect, start eating their own bodies.
And in other news ...
In the kind of "research" that tends to prompt mocking belly laughs from non-social scientists, a Canterbury University student (yes, right here in New Zealand) has found that women threatened by female images in the media own more shoes and handbags, and shun trousers. Women who are insecure irrespective of media images, on the other hand, tend to avoid accessories too because these would draw unwelcome attention.
The threatened-by-media-images group, she speculates, use accessories to increase their physical attractiveness, but avoid trousers because these reveal their figures. The generally insecure who dodge accessories too, dress anonymously to avoid attention of any kind.
Gosh, we didn't know that, did we!
Fortunately, the report includeds no stats, so there's no point counting our shoes and handbags - not to mention our scarves, belts, gloves, hats and jewellery items - in an attempt to discover measure exactly how insecure we are.
And finally, French researchers - yes, you guessed it, sociologists - tracked around 450 transactions on tips left for seven waitresses over two months. They discovered that waitresses who wore red lipstick were tipped half the time by male customers, whereas those who wore brown and pink lipstick, or none at all, were tipped less than a third of the time.
But - surprise! - waitresses' make up had no noticeable effect on tipping by women.
This discovery, the researchers portentously announce, has important implications for women in the hospitality industry, particulary those working in bars and restaurants frequented by men.
In spite of being plenty old enough to know better, I've been skipping breakfast for years. So, with the onset of the cold weather, I decided on a new regime. Just as I was plucking Harraways Rolled Oats from the supermarket shelf a few days ago, I bumped into A. Who, after the greetings, told me exactly how to make my breakfast porridge in the microwave. By morning two, I was really looking forward to the result.
Morning three and I was running late for a non-negotiable meeting time. I scuttled through the shower, threw on the sandy-coloured Topshop dress I bought from Karen Walker's Wellington shop, and topped it off with a long necklace comprised of three bronzey chains (the sort of bling you can pick up in Buenos Aires for a song).
I prepared my porridge as per A's excellent instructions, carried it steaming to the table and sat down.
Unfortunately, a whiplash effect ensued - I stopped moving forward but the chains did not. By the time my bottom hit the chair, the three long strands - now loaded with hot cereal - swung back to follow me. The result was a liberal coating of porridge down the front of the dress, not to mention my arms, the table and some of the floor.
Moral of the story? If you dress before you eat, dine in an inverted rubbish bag for your protection.
And look ... it's an idea that's already hit the catwalks. The hat is presumably designed to fend off overhead attacks by other people's porridge.
I'm a writer. Sometimes I write fiction and sometimes I'd rather do something else, like earn money, travel or dance tango. Whatever I do, I never stop looking. So this blog is about looking to write, writing to see, and seeing to think. I was once the kind of feminist who believed it was wrong to delight in such things. Now I'm the kind of feminist who doesn't believe that at all. I will never, as Linda Grant puts it, go beige into that good night.