Dear Hip-Hop: we’re breaking up. And it’s definitely Drake’s fault.

16/11/2015 § 1 Comment

No Drake, you can't have my number.
image via.

**Disclaimer: I’m about to liberally exercise the f-word and talk about sex, which is somewhat out of character for me on here.  If that’s not your thing, I would encourage you to skip to my next post.  No hard feelings.**

Dear Hip-Hop,

What’s good?  I admit it’s been a bit since we’ve spent quality time together, and I’m sorry about that.  There’s just so much music out there and TBH, I’ve been feeling like maybe we’ve drifted apart recently.  And that maybe (PROBABLY) this time its for good.

How did we get to this point?  This new song by Drake, honestly.  You know, “Hotline Bling?”

Yeah, I’m not sure why his phone blings instead of rings either, but that’s not my main concern here.  Neither are the old man dance moves.  First, I want to ask for a bit of clarification as to what Drake is actually upset about in the song.

You used to call me on my cell phone
Late night when you need my love
Call me on my cell phone
Late night when you need my love
And I know when that hotline bling
That can only mean one thing
I know when that hotline bling
That can only mean one thing

Ever since I left the city,
You got a reputation for yourself now
Everybody knows and I feel left out
Girl you got me down, you got me stressed out
‘Cause ever since I left the city,
you started wearing less and goin’ out more
Glasses of champagne out on the dance floor
Hangin’ with some girls I’ve never seen before

Ok, there’s a lot here I want to unpack, but first, is Drake essentially upset because a girl he used to only talk to in the middle of the night — only talk to in order to coordinate sex, mind you, (only mean “one thing”) — is now out on the prowl herself?  Okay.  Okay, great.  So, it’s totally okay for him to only talk to her for sex (in a purely transactional matter), but it’s not okay for her to go out and get in the mix on her own.  And its especially not okay for her to hang out with girls he’s unfamiliar with.  Have I got that straight?

These days, all I do is
Wonder if you bendin’ over backwards for someone else
Wonder if you’re rollin’ up a backwoods for someone else
Doing things I taught you, gettin’ nasty for someone else
You don’t need no one else
You don’t need nobody else, no
Why you never alone
Why you always touching road
Used to always stay at home, be a good girl
You was in a zone, yeah
You should just be yourself
Right now, you’re someone else

And this person she’s “become” – it’s not really herself, because if she was being herself, she would sit at home and wait for Drake to return to town and then be available only to him, right?  Wait, sorry — only available to him in the middle of the night. Because that’s what good girls do?

Ok, glad that’s clear.  My next question is, where does a barney like Drake, who looks like the guy who would offer to do your Algebra 2 homework JUST to get your phone number, exactly get off?  I’m supposed to believe he has so much swag he’s owed this girl’s sexual freedom?  Or even receive a vote on how she should live her life?  GTFOH.  For real.

Hip-hop, this is why we are breaking up.  You used to be exciting.  You used to be soulful.  You used to be angry.  Now, you’re just….Drake-ified.  And the sexist tropes you continue to trot out make it really hard to even casually listen to you.

It’s because your words have power, even if the mouthpieces are whack as hell.  Hip-hop, think of all the people listening to you on the subway, in the car, at home.  Think of a generation of men repeating over and over to themselves that a girl isn’t a good girl unless she stays home and waits to service me sexually, on my terms.  Think of a generation of women, singing along, quasi-endorsing that this is an okay way for men to think about their sexuality.  Because when you say things, either out loud or in your mind, they affect you — your thoughts, your mood, your state of well being.  It’s not a blatant indoctrination, but it just keeps creeping in and I really think it’s affecting the way that we relate to each other, as human beings.

Now, I hear your protestations, hip-hop.  Drake isn’t all that bad!  He was on Degrassi Jr High!  He had a cute Bar Mitzvah video!  And his song isn’t that sexist!  Maybe he also realizes he is really REALLY lame and maybe there was more to the relationship than we are hearing in the song!

Okay, well, as a bookend, let’s take the other hip-hop/r&b artist in the top 5 this week on the Billboard Hot 100: The Weeknd, and his song The Hills.

I only call you when it’s half past five
The only time that I’ll be by your side
I only love it when you touch me, not feel me
When I’m fucked up, that’s the real me
When I’m fucked up, that’s the real me, yeah
I only fuck you when it’s half past five
The only time I’d ever call you mine
I only love it when you touch me, not feel me
When I’m fucked up, that’s the real me
When I’m fucked up, that’s the real me, babe

I’mma let you know and keep it simple
Tryna keep it up don’t seem so simple
I just fucked two bitches ‘fore I saw you
And you gon’ have to do it at my tempo
Always tryna send me off to rehab
Drugs started feelin’ like it’s decaf
I’m just tryna live life for the moment
And all these motherfuckers want a relapse

Full confession: yes hip-hop, I love the music the Weeknd makes — THE MUSIC.  It’s dramatic and interesting and it makes me feel like I either want to punch someone in the face or rip all their clothes off.  I fully appreciate the novel quality of his art.  It really does makes me feel something.

But these lyrics?  I can’t.  I’ve seen concert footage of Abel (The Weeknd’s government name) leading hundreds of people screaming about how they will only be calling at 5:30am, and it makes me sad.  It makes me sad to think about people walking around humming the hook — which is catchy as hell, I admit — and what that might be doing to the way they feel about their relationships.  And I’m a reasonably confident, self-assured adult — can you imagine what these words are doing to younger, more malleable minds?  Are you surprised there are sexting rings in high schools?  You shouldn’t be.  You’re only supposed to touch me, not feel me.

But wait, I hear you complaining hip-hop: isn’t this what the modern age of relationships is?  Isn’t it actually so evolved of us to liberate sex from commitment and empower everyone to do whatever we want and hook up with people at all hours of the night?  Sorry, I’m really skeptical.  While it’s a modern notion to treat sex and relationships more casually, I’d argue it’s probably less evolved.  A lot of people are unhappy, unsure and lonely — even if they are having A LOT of sex.  We haven’t figured out how to feel about these arrangements — much less how to feel GOOD about them, and so we get songs from Drake about being upset some girl isn’t willing to exclusively give him…casual sex? What?

Hip-hop, I am tired of you using sex as a commodity.  A commodity that men own and women spitefully keep from them.  A commodity that men are owed and should receive whenever they decide they want it, however they want it.  A commodity that when spent by women is magically transformed into something slutty.  How are we supposed to teach our little girls to feel good about sex — when sex is the safest and most accessible it’s ever been in human history — when Future is writing bars like “I just fucked your bitch in some Gucci flip flops”? (Side note: Which is a 10-word masterpiece of materialistic, emasculating, slut-shaming misogyny, when you think about it.) (Side note to the side note: Future, do you need a hug?)  The point is, if we keep treating sex like it’s nothing, how equipped are we to handle it when it is something?

You’ve let me down, hip-hop.  You’ve grown fat and lazy and you make me feel rotten.  Where are your songs about actually connecting with someone?  About love?  About respect?  About ANYTHING remotely happy?  Why, hip-hop, have you allowed yourself to become so one-dimensional?  And where the hell did Common go?  And while the circumstances I just described aren’t entirely your fault, hip-hop, this is a boundary I can easily draw for myself.

So, it is with regret (?) that I inform you that we are breaking up, hip-hop.  It’s not me, it’s you.

Well, it’s you and Drake.

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A Rumination on the 2015 Pirelli Calendar

06/08/2014 § 3 Comments

Candice

I’m not sure how closely you follow the annual release of the Pirelli Calendar, so I’ll give you a quick rundown. Since 1964 the calendar has been known as an annual high-gloss, high-glamour affair, featuring marquee name models shot by equally notable photographers (Lindbergh, Avedon, Ritts, Testino, Sorrenti, Weber…even Richardson). It’s printed in an exceptionally limited edition and gifted to a select group of important clients and VIPs. It’s sort of like the highest possible form of those cheesy automotive calendars you might expect to see hanging in a garage – and yes, nudity is known to abound.

 So why on earth are we talking about this? Glad you asked!

It turns out that this year’s edition – the 50th, if you didn’t notice already – features a beautiful plus-size model named Candice Huffine, pictured above. While purists argue she isn’t the first woman over a size 10 to appear in “The Cal,” citing Sophie Dahl in 1999 and Pollyanna MacIntosh in 2004, Huffine is being touted in the media as such.  Admittedly, I was caught a bit off-guard by the announcement, but in a good way.  It made me think about a few things in quick succession.  First, why was I initially shocked by the idea?  As if Huffine didn’t belong in a sea of nearly naked Adriana Limas and Joan Smalls, perhaps?  No matter the reason, that feeling quickly gave way to excitement at this small victory in the battle to shift entrenched standards of beauty.

While Huffine is obviously super-humanly attractive, the fact that her body more closely resembles those bodies belonging to us “mere mortals” is a move in the right direction.  This acceptance of a deviation from the norm ushers us to a point of reflection: what is the norm? why is this a deviation? how do we feel about that? how do we feel about our own bodies as a result? what kind of representations of beauty do we personally prefer? what kind of representations should we endorse?

This subject has inspired me to work on a new Charm School entry that touches on a subject I’m surprised I haven’t yet dealt with: body image.  In the meantime, I would love to hear your thoughts on the subject of the Pirelli Calendar and Candice Huffine’s appearance in it.

Watch this space.  The conversation will continue.

Et Tu, Google?

14/03/2013 § 4 Comments

RIP Google ReaderPardon me, but I’m about to get all interwebby for a moment.  Last night, Google announced that they’ve decided to retire Google Reader on July 1, 2013, striking fear in the hearts of their smallish, yet loyal community of users (myself included).  I started using the RSS feed organizer around the same time I started blogging, as an efficient and streamlined way to keep all the “stuff” I wanted to read in one place — news, blogs, etc. — and it totally changed the way I consume media online.  But evidently, there weren’t enough of us Google Readers to keep the show going, so it’s being shuttered so that Google can concentrate greater efforts on fewer projects — one assumes the epic fail that is Google+ to be one such project, sigh.

So what’s a girl to do, in order to wrangle the internets?  It appears that consensus is leaning toward feedly as the next best alternative, and they’ve pledged that they will roll out a clone of Google Reader of their own, called Normandy, that is supposed to transition seamlessly to their back end after July 1 — all you need to do is import your Google Reader feeds before then.  You can read more about Normandy and how to migrate here.  I’m giving it a try, myself.  Of course, if you have a reader to recommend, please pass it along!

Aside from my own RSS crisis, I realized that some of you guys would be left in the lurch, too.  I just wanted to mention that you can continue to keep up with my posts via the Quite Continental Facebook page, or via Bloglovin’ (which is like a mini RSS feed organizer for blogs), or you can sign up to receive my posts via email in that little subscribe box at the top right of my homepage.  I also do my best to tweet my posts, but since it isn’t automatic that’s definitely subject to human error (and/or laziness and/or forgetfulness).

Now that’s said, herein ends the tech sermon,
and we can return to our regularly scheduled programming….

Your Thoughts? Wedding Hair

05/08/2011 § Leave a comment

Hold your horses…

No, I am not getting married — take a breath — but in the spirit of the hair question I just answered, I thought I might turn the tables and ask your opinion.

As I mentioned, I am heading up to a New Hampshire wedding this weekend and have yet to decide what to do with my hair.  Ground rules are (1), it must be up and off of my neck, due to the neckline of the dress, and (2), it can’t be too complicated because I do not have the patience.  The DIY hair tutorials on Joanna Goddard’s blog Cup of Jo are right up my alley and I find myself torn between two somewhat similar styles and wondered which one you might prefer?

 The Gibson Roll

Or,  Three twisted buns

What do we think?  All rolled up and tidy?  Or a bit messy and disheveled?  Or something completely different?  Thoughts?

If you want to try these out yourself, head over to Cup of Jo for the easy, completely illustrated, step by step hair tutorials.  I’ve already practiced both styles, and they are quite easy.  Perfect summer updos, even if you aren’t going to a wedding.

Image 1 via FGR., images 2 through 5 via Cup of Jo.

Fascinated with Fascinators

24/02/2011 § 14 Comments

Earlier today the interwebs were thrown into a huge tizzy because the lovely HRH to be, Kate Middleton, christened a boat.  I wasn’t aware boat christenings were so important in Britain.  However, I had a smallish tizzy because she happened to be wearing a fascinator — an accessory that I’ve been fascinated with (sorry, couldn’t resist) over the last week or so.

Image via Styleite.

Now, as I am not British, I am a bit fuzzy on when a fascinator is appropriate, and perhaps someone out there will be able to help.  I had thought that the headgear were specific to weddings, but since Kate wore one to a daytime event, does this mean the field of fascinator-appropriate events has widened — to include boat christenings?  Possible to wear it whenever a hat is appropriate?  Do only young ladies wear them?  Must they have feathers?  So many questions for such a small accessory!

I have discovered a darling etsy shop that sells the most beautiful fascinators and birdcage veils – Head Full of Feathers.  The designer uses quite a bit of peacock feathers, and as I am nursing a growing obsession with peacocks, this makes owning a fascinator even more alluring to me.  I am trying to plot a purchase, but I must have somewhere to wear the beautiful thing.  Kate’s definitely given me confidence.  Now, when is the next boat christening?

Image via Head Full of Feathers
Wouldn’t this look darling on me??

Your Thoughts? J.Crew Melanie Skirt

16/02/2011 § 5 Comments

I had the good fortune to attend the IFB Evolving Influence conference last week at Milk Studios, where I met up with fellow bloggers (and loverlies) StyleOnTheCouch and Mon Petit Chou Chou for a few panels, networking and post-conference libations.  Aside from coming away feeling inspired, it seemed our most popular topic of conversation that day was sparkles.  Evidently, nothing says NYFW like sparkles.  They were everywhere – sparkles on sparkles on sparkles (on bloggers! Oh my!).  Now, I am a firm supporter of glittering bijoux, but sequins and rhinestones?  I’m not so sure.

Encouraged by mademoiselles Style and Chou Chou I set out to find something that sparkles that I didn’t hate.  I managed to find a little something at J.Crew.

The Melanie is a taupe stretch merino wool skirt with sparkly paillettes.  If I’m going to do sparkles, they’d have to be paillettes.  I definitely could see myself wearing this at night, but during the day?  Not so fast.  Perhaps if I paired it with an oxford and a swingy cardigan or blazer, I might not feel like a walking disco ball.  But then again, is that what I am supposed to be embracing with this look?  Should I be delighting in the “look at me”-ness of this garment?  Am I missing the sparkly point?

Man.
That’s a lot of sparklies.

Want the Melanie skirt?  Scoop it here.  And let me know how you wear it!

Your Thoughts? Club Monaco Max Blazer

20/10/2010 § Leave a comment

Even though camel is very hot this season, camel is a staple color that I group along with navy and gray as one of my favorite fashion workhorses. Lately I have been on the hunt for a camel jacket, blazer or coat that would be a classic addition to my wardrobe.  I think I may have found it this Sunday afternoon while wandering around Soho.

The Club Monaco Max Blazer hits the high points on my wishlist.  I had been considering a few coats, but what I really wanted was a jacket or blazer to get me through autumn.   It’s a wool blend and is fully lined, which will give it a bit of extra warmth that hopefully extends the amount of time it can be worn.  The pricetag doesn’t break the bank, either.

But I do have my doubts.  While camel with be around long after the “trend” has died out, this is definitely a boyfriend blazer and this trend does swing in and out (you will recall it was previously favored by Lisa Turtle at Bayside High).  While the coat has a generally classic lines – I like that it’s not double breasted or gussied up with “fun” details – it is over-sized, a bit boxy and has pretty strong shoulders.

Your thoughts?

On balance, I’m definitely leaning toward making the move and bringing this find home.  Someone needs to make me a bigger coat closet!

Your Thoughts? Tory Burch Cashfeel Arm Warmer

26/08/2010 § Leave a comment

As my thoughts turn to all the wonderful layers fall fashions require, I came across the Cashfeel wool arm warmer by Tory Burch.  Pictured here in black, it is also available in a slate gray and a rich red.

When the weather turns cool, I am never without gloves, so I was immediately interested — this could be a clever pop of color in an otherwise somber ensemble, or  make your favorite short sleeved shirts or tanks last further into the fall, or warm up cool wrists when wearing bracelet-length sleeves.  But then I had second thoughts.  If it was really cold, would you need to double up and do an arm warmer/glove combo?  Or is that a ridiculous idea and therefore this something you’d really only use in the fall?  Are arm warmers a bit too Derelicte?

And then I see this, and I’m back on board (from the TB website):

Side note: J’adore her hair (!!!) and the skirt as well.

So what do you think?

Your Thoughts? Rugby Ralph Lauren Herringbone Suit

18/08/2010 § Leave a comment

I am really enjoying this slightly cropped and feminine take on the classic herringbone suit.  The jacket I would wear in a second, but the shorts…?

This opens up an entirely different debate on work shorts.  My position on said work shorts is that they are always wrong for men*, but can be okay for women in certain specific circumstances, such as:

  1. you’re not wearing them to work.  Obvs.
  2. you work at a rather casual place OR it’s a severely casual Friday OR your friendly office fashion police are on vacation, etc.
  3. you actually work at Rugby.  (Actually, they might be required there…)

As you can see, I’m on the fence with the work shorts in general, but especially in this case.  Is this too twee for real life?  Does the model look like she’s wearing her best Oliver Twist costume?  If you lost the braces and the ruffled shirt, would that bring it down a few notches?  Or do you love how all the details work together on the overall look?

Head to Rugby to pick up the suit.

*Oh, there’s only one exception to the “always wrong for men” rule:  Brad Goreski gets a free pass to wear all the shorts he wants!

Your Thoughts? Alexander McQueen Lace Knuckleduster Clutch

16/08/2010 § 2 Comments

Could every girl need a trusty set of knuckledusters attached to her clutch?  Could this be a bit too much edge?  I’m on the fence.

Go here if you’re a tough girl in need of a pocketbook
(or just want to look like one).

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