I’m always, er, fascinated by the fascinators and hats British women don for weddings. It makes it seem like they are playing a particularly trippy game of dress up. Suitably, I guess, the hats at Will and Kate’s nupitals were that much more fantastical. Princess Beatrice’s Lady Gaga-rific hat, though, takes the cake.
Archive for April, 2011
Apparently, a study of movie star couplings proves that people of like educational backgrounds tend to be attracted to one another even if they meet on, you know, a movie set rather than at a college mixer.
I suspect that it shows that — no offense to my actor friends — people who head for Hollywood with the goal of becoming famous might be similarly not-smart.
Oh, traveler, don’t know where you want to go or what you want to see? American Express can solve that for you. With its new Nextpedition service, AmEx makes the plans for you — and doesn’t tell you until you’re about to take off! I like the unexpected in trips, discovering the hidden gems, the off-the-beaten path neighbourhood, the only-the-locals-know-it cafe. But not knowing until I go — that might be a little too much.
What’s more, I’m a bit dubious about the “profiler” the company has developed to suss out travelers’ likes and dislikes. I plugged in my answers, and the Web site spewed out that I’m an Adrenalista-Scenster-Poshaholic. How it determined that by the likes of questions such as, “The zombie apocalypse is real, and they are attacking, what would you do,” I don’t know. (For the record, I answered “Search for an antidote” rather than “Grab a baseball bat and start swinging.”)
I’m loathe to admit it, but I recall when Charles and Di got married: My younger sister and I got up in the dark and planted ourselves in front of the television, the nuptials flashing grainily an ocean away. Later, when the couple embarked on their first official visit — to Canada, of course — I got to meet them as part of a provincial poetry contest, curtseying awkwardly in my too-big frock.
But, see, that’s Canada. The queen’s on our currency. We didn’t fight a couple of wars to ensure our independence. Which is why I’m at a loss to explain the U.S. mania over upcoming nuptials of Prince William and Kate Middleton — there’s a made-for-t.v. movie, wall-to-wall coverage on networks from ABC to E!, even the Princess Maker is a trending topic. Perhaps it’s that it’s like Camelot, only with actual royalty.
Dissecting the origins of the word “shit-faced” seems to be one of those things you’d want to do when you were at least a little bit tipsy. But, prompted by the Oxford English Dictionary‘s clearly incorrect attribution, Slate‘s resident lexicographer Paul Collins did a sober-minded investigation of its history, discarding various creation theories, including Allen Ginsberg, ex-G.I.s at the University of Texas, and Chaucer, cluing me in along the way to the existence of Shit-Sack Day. Mark your calendars, people — May 29!
In the end, however, none of those are the source of shit-faced, nor is it rooted in my admittedly obvious hypothesis: that it was coined when some really drunk guy fell face-first in a cow pie. No, it’s actually related to the ancient Scottish term for children:
Instead of, say, a deeply unfortunate drunken pratfall, this shit-faced may come from the old Scottish fondness for referring to children as little shits; Jamieson’s 1818 edition notes just such a “contemptuous designation for a child.” One might imagine this usage arising late at night, while stepping on children’s toys in the dark. But no—this shit, Jamieson writes, is indeed derived from the kittenish chit.
And yes, I’m wondering if Mr. Collins might be free to discuss the history of other vulgarities. Over drinks, maybe.
What’s the appropriate tip when your fare is cross-country?
Also, this is why investment bankers need a little less mad money.
Isn’t the Times running a story about vibrators — yes, that kind of vibrator — on the front of its home page a bit like your grandmother sitting you down to talk to you about, well, vibrators?
In other news, I’m glad there’s another cultural phenomenon we can credit Sex and the City with popularising. Because cosmos, Maholos, and ginomous flower pins were not enough.
Last night I went to see Bill Cunningham New York, the documentary about the Times fashion photographer, best known for his “On the Street” column. The film was slight but winning, mainly because Cunningham comes off as just a lovely, lovely man: egalitarian about fashion and enthusiastic for life. He himself maintains an almost-monastic existence, residing in a closet-like apartment crammed full of filing cabinets of old photos, wearing a blue painter’s smock as his uniform, and attending Mass every Sunday.
In the film, Cunningham says something that stuck with me — or rather, I whipped out my iPhone and wrote it down at the time. He said: “Fashion, it’s the armour to survive everyday life.” I don’t know if I think that is absolutely true, but I do believe that clothes can be a bit like a magical cloak. Not so much as protection against others’ slings and arrows as a self-protective shield. Clothing is a way to buck myself up.I dress more for myself than for anyone else. Yes, it’s always pleasant to receive compliments, but it matters more what I see in my own mirror.
If I’m down, if I’m anticipating a difficult day, I’ll dress better. And then, perhaps, feel better.
It’s pretty easy to write off the notion of uber-skinny Gwyneth Paltrow as a cookbook author. As she herself notes, “People who don’t know me think that I only eat seaweed and rice balls.”
But it appears that she has some advice about cooking that this neatnik, boozing, fresh-produce fanatic could embrace: “Invest in what’s real. Clean as you go. Drink while you cook.”