We Need to Talk about This.

Girl, you’ve been looking really nice lately, wearing all these beautiful dresses. What’s his name?lies

Oh my goodness, I didn’t even recognize you. You look so different! Are you seeing someone?

And on and on and on and on. The idea that a woman can’t spruce up her look/style for herself but because a man stands on the horizon somewhere, inspiring all the changes.

I’ve heard the above-mentioned remarks more often than not, and I’ve also scowled on the sidelines while such remarks have been made to my good friends.

I call a moratorium.

  1. Some women dress up for men. I’m not one of them.
  2. The assumption that I’m putting on nice dresses because of a guy reminds me of 1954. And I wasn’t even born in 1954. As much as I enjoyed watching Donna Reed on Nick at Nite, those days are largely over.
  3. And although you may wonder if it’s a generational thing–i.e., whether the individuals making the remarks were born in 1954–it’s not only women from a different generation making those statements. Some of my peers utter the same drivel, as well.
  4. “But it’s a compliment!”
  5. Is it really?
  6. What was I before the supposed man showed up and spread glitter and change throughout my closet? A medieval creature from a faraway black lagoon? A spinster who spent more time dressing her cats than herself?
  7. Can a woman actually wake up one morning and decide: you know what? I want to change my look. I want to dress up my awesome body. I want to change my hair. I want to throw on some Ruby Woo. Can she just do that because she’s a woman, because she has the right to?
  8. And let’s not get started on weight loss = you’re dating someone. Because perish the thought that a woman wants to be healthy for herself.

I can’t.

Clearly, I’ve had enough of these statements. Perhaps you have, too.myself

Let’s all compliment each other if we like. Here’s how: You look nice.

Whew.

*deep, cleansing breaths*

Happy Tuesday, y’all.

Music? [The Soapbox Series]

Since I was knee high to a grasshopper (always wanted to say that), music has been a significant part of my life. I mean, my father was playing Simon and Garfunkel and Aretha Franklin records until they scratched and wore themselves out. I grew up hearing all the greats in my household, from Sam Cooke to the Rolling Stones, from the Bee Gees to Michael Jackson. Not only was music significant for me, but I strongly believe that hearing so many different art forms expressed through music blissfully exposed me and my siblings to a sea of unique and different perspectives and emotions. albert

With all that said, here’s my opinion: the current musical landscape, as we speak in 2015, is lamentable. Just today, I read an article where the singer Pink mentioned how let down she was by the MTV Video Music Awards. (Note that I haven’t watched that spectacle or MTV since I realized that the “M” part had become optional.) She stated that music saved and inspired her as a child, and was saddened to see that the acts and performers on the program weren’t doing anything of the sort. I agree. I can think of maybe 2 or 3 performers right now that mean a hill of beans to me musically. Adele. Sam Smith. Emeli Sande. Yeah, that’s about it. Honestly, I don’t even listen to the radio that much anymore, unless there’s an off off off chance that I’m going to hear a new artist that amazes me. Rarely happens. What happened to those moments when you heard music and wanted to scream because lyrically, sonically, and emotionally, you were soaring and being taken on an incredible journey? And hey, I certainly don’t want to diminish the people that may experience those things while listening to a girl group repeat “Give it to me, I’m worth it” about 1,000 times, but come on. Are you kidding me?

I have a memory. I’m in the kitchen. I’m holding a broom, as I’m supposed to be sweeping. But the radio is on so my attention is diverted. I stand in the center of the kitchen, my eyes closed, singing along to the song on the radio with the broom as my microphone. I don’t remember the song, but I distinctly remember how I felt standing there: joyous. That’s music to me. Pure joy. Sitting in a car and hearing lyrics that bring me to tears. Excitedly telling friends about a new, talented artist that I happened to discovered on those rare moments when they are found. Like my father, playing a song over and over again and hearing/feeling something utterly new each time. Moments like those aren’t necessarily gone, but I’m getting them from artists I’ve loved for decades. Not really anyone new. To me, current musical acts are playing up their visual content rather than focusing on songwriting and the sound. And while they’re at it, these are visuals that require a bleaching of the eyes after you’ve seen about two seconds. Throw in a bit of auto-tune, some canned lyrics, and round-the-clock plays on the radio and there you go: stars are born.

No, these are no longer the days of Like a Bridge over Troubled Water and I don’t expect them to be. I am quite content listening to artists I’ve always loved and the few current ones that I’ve come to thoroughly adore and admire.

I just miss the joy.