Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Poses

Poses carry cultural weight. They denote our notions of gender. They're also aesthetic and artistic in their creative choices. Poses, while usually performed unconsciously, are actually serious stuff.

Which is why I study them. And always have. I was criticized as a child for trying to emulate and adopt feminine poses so, to conceal my innate nature, I went underground. I learned how to swagger like a cocky boy when walking in public. I learned how to grow and flex manly biceps. At times, my exaggerated masculinity bordered on parody but it allowed me to pass unnoticed.

In private, I'd experiment with feminine poses but they felt forbidden to me. When I'd occasionally perform one in public to see what happened, I  always got immediate, negative reaction. People can't handle gender non-conformity, even by strangers. It disturbs most people's sense of how things "should" be.

Lately, I've become bored with my standard repertoire of poses for modeling here on the blog so I decided to consciously add some new ones. I don't know if you'll like them or not, but I want to stretch my muscles, literally and figuratively.

Poses can create visual illusions that enhance our femininity. As you know, I wrestle with contorting a non-feminine (cylindrical) shape into the conventional hourglass figure. With limited success. I'm aware that many women struggle the same way with similar issues.

Poses can help. A good one can do magic -- make our shapes look different than they actually are. In July, I have a bevy of new poses I'm going to unleash on you. I'm eager to hear for your responses, thumbs up or down. Successes will be incorporated into my future femininity; failures will be discarded as necessary efforts toward that goal.

Here are some of my past attempts at posing -- which have a lot more conscious effort in them than you might believe.






















Do you have a favorite pose for modeling?

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Blue Suede Shoes


Most menswear is boring so when I want to look snazzy, I put on my favorite pair of men's shoes. They are my blue suede shoes, as the song goes. (Carl Perkins did the song first -- and better -- than Elvis.)

I love how the soles are bright blue. The shoes are made by Cole Haan and I got them on steep discount in a Sak's outlet store a few years ago.

What do you think?







Saturday, June 25, 2016

A Night In The City

Last night I took Robin into the city. We dined at Russ & Daughters, serving traditional Jewish food with a modern twist, and then watched the incomparable Rockettes in their new show at Radio City Music Hall.

You will not in your lifetime see live entertainment any more thrilling and impressive than the Rockettes. They are amazing.

Afterward, we met one of Robin's childhood friends at a diner to reminisce, which means we got home at almost 3 a.m. We're not old yet. :-)






























Friday, June 24, 2016

Launching "Face Value"

Several years ago, I was searching for interesting blogs to read and found one of exceptional merit, The Beheld. The blog examined issues I care about. It focused on women's relation to beauty. The blogger considered the subject with rare intelligence. I learned numerous insights from the blog's scrutiny of the beauty industry, its marketing of beauty products and our society's cultural gender-norms.

The blogger's name is Autumn Whitefield-Madrano. She is, beyond cavil, the smartest woman in New York.

Two years ago, Autumn announced that she was suspending her blog to concentrate on writing a book. As sad as I was to be deprived of her regular writing, I knew it was the right choice for her and for us. If anyone could produce an engaging, educational book on this difficult subject, it would be her. The brief sacrifice, I hoped, would be worth it. And it was.

Autumn just released her book, called "Face Value: The Hidden Ways Beauty Shapes Women’s Lives." It is published by a major house (Simon & Schuster) and is available at most bookstores, including Barnes & Noble and Amazon.

Examining complex ways women relate to beauty, the book looks at the marketing, consumption and cultural significance of beauty products. Actually, the book goes further than that. It plumbs the condition of being female in modern Western society. The inquiry extends beyond beauty products and considers other important subjects. For example, Autumn skillfully scrutinizes the linguistics, psychology and sociology of compliments, like "I love your dress!" The role compliments play in woman-to-woman interactions is fascinating and when she contrasts it to the situation of women receiving compliments from men, serious issues emerge about cultural conditioning and social power.

Last night I attended a party in NYC celebrating the launch of Autumn's book. It was held at a place called the "Beauty Bar," a nightclub with a retro-salon ambiance. The party was a blast. Autumn radiated authentic joy as she excitedly addressed an adoring crowd. She spoke about her life and thanked the people who assisted her effort.

At the party, Autumn introduced me to her family who had travelled up from Texas and I had delightful conversations with them. They told me about Autumn's youth in South Dakota and her teen years in Oregon. Autumn's parents and aunt beamed with pride as they witnessed tangible evidence of her literary accomplishment.

Right after finishing college in Oregon, Autumn moved to New York and started her career. Her first job was to intern at Ms. magazine. In the decade-and-a-half since then, Autumn has worked as a writer and copy editor for several magazines and held a variety of other interesting jobs.

At the party, in addition to gift-bags, Autumn's book was available for sale. I'd pre-ordered it from Amazon but my order hadn't arrived yet so I picked up another copy. I inhaled the book like fresh Maine air. The writing is everything I hoped for. Autumn's points are lucid and convincing, her prose is witty and sharp, and her style is inviting. It's a book that everyone will enjoy.

Oh, and did I mention I'm quoted in it? DID I MENTION THAT I'M QUOTED IN THE BOOK?!

Here, on page 67, is something I said to Autumn in 2013:



I encourage you to check out this terrific examination on beauty and its role in women's lives. You'll learn from and enjoy it.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Transgender Art

When visiting Toronto, I stayed at a hip hotel Suzanne recommended, The Gladstone Hotel. I'm glad I did. The hotel was full of artwork. Coincidentally, there was an exhibition on my floor by a local transgender artist who is also a well-known musician.

The art is a series of photographs taken by the artist which replicate early pictures of her mother from the 1970's. In the photos, the artist portrays her mother in the same clothes, makeup and poses. Next to each photo is the original picture it is replicating.

At the end, there's a poignant open-letter by the artist to her mother. Take a look.















Monday, June 20, 2016

Another View

Patti's report on our recent adventure in Canada is up (here). Not only does Patti describe our trip, she offers sage advice on aging well. Lessons worth listening to!

Here are a few more pics Suzanne sent me. In the third photo, I'm modelling bracelets that Suzanne HAND-MADE for me as a welcoming gift. How nice is that?!!















Sunday, June 19, 2016

Toronto II

I rode home from Toronto yesterday. I made the whole journey in one day -- over 550 miles. Maybe I'm not so old after all... When I got home, I had a well-deserved beer. It knocked me out as cold as a punch from Muhammad Ali. Here are some more pictures from the trip. Doesn't Suzanne look badass on my bike?!