July 15, 2013 § 1 Comment
The idea struck me one day while I was watching a Dove commercial. A curvy, beautiful woman was staring with shining eyes in to the camera as she applied a skin cream that was ‘clinically proven’ to make her skin feel like silk, or something of the like. ‘Dove, campaigning for real beauty,’ the voiceover swooned. I flipped the channel, only to see a young woman in tears. “I’m a real woman, real women are curvaceous. Real women have hips, real women aren’t skeletons.” She was patted on the back and offered commiseration by the talk show host.
So often we hear the cries of the unsung beauty of the full-figured woman, the phrase ‘real woman’ being a huge part of the campaign for the curvy. This got me thinking; as a young woman with little to no curves, what does this make me? Of course, the ‘skinny bitch’ is all-encompassing in popular culture, but it’s not the acceptance of full-figured models and stars that worries me. It’s the fact that whether or not I have curves should have nothing to do with whether or not I am considered a real woman. If the point of the curvy campaign is for equal acceptance of all body types, it is certainly not doing its job in terms of the empowerment of the young and lanky.
I am not a wayward teen who starves herself in search of Vogue beauty. I’m just a young person who was dropped in to the world with genes that happened to make her six feet tall and skinny as a rake. If the phrases “curves make the woman,” or “real women have hips,” become even more commonplace, it’s going to become easy to doubt the validity of my lady parts. Yes, it’s a tough pill to swallow sometimes, but if there’s one thing we’re stuck with for the rest of our lives it’s our bodies. I urge you to fall as in love with yours as you can, as soon as possible. I sure am trying.
Kisses from beautiful Nice!
July 15, 2013 § 3 Comments
July 13, 2013 § 1 Comment
I saw him from the other side of the crosswalk, the green light of my hostel’s neon sign silhouetting him against Temple Lane’s brick exteriors. He looked unassuming, just an average Dub carrying a beer. We were almost face to face when he stopped me. “Do you want to grab a pint?” he asked, smiling. He seemed friendly, sober. I looked up. A bit red in the cheeks from an earlier pub I’d been to, I was lacking in both inhibition and good judgement.
“Sure. I won’t have one, but I’ll sit with you.” We started to walk, and before my lagging senses could register it, we were in a dingy back road bar. I shook my head. This was not a place to be with a stranger, even a charming one. I should have just left then and there. I should have run back to the hostel and had lovely tipsy dreams. “I know a better place just down the street actually, let’s just go there.” Before I had a chance to edit, the words seemed to have simply fallen out of my mouth. I remember joking with him on the way there, saying that this was where the headlines come from. “OVERLY TRUSTING CANADIAN FOUND BUTCHERED; SNEAKY IRISH MAN PRIME SUSPECT.” He laughed, throwing his arm around me, cold fingers digging in to my shoulder.
The pub was well-lit and had a good crowd in it, but he pulled me in to a quiet corner in the basement.
“Are you traveling by yourself?”
“Sort of. I have family here.”
“Are you by yourself tonight though, love?”
“Yes.” He smiled, brushing my cheek with his clammy hand. We were quiet for a moment. He took a step closer, shaggy hair covering his eyes.
“Good music in here. We should dance.”
“Ah, I’m not much of a dancer.” Before I could step away his hand was tight on my waist, and he’d pulled me against him. We swayed for a moment, my attempts at distancing myself useless. He was strong, but more than that he was tense, his arms locked around me. I tried to pull my head back but he grabbed my hair and pulled me so that we were nose to nose.
“Are you a virgin?”
“Don’t play stupid. Virgin?”
I pushed him back and ran up the stairs. He followed. In my state, I couldn’t make out whether I was being rude by ending the interaction. Was I being ridiculous? Maybe I did it because I was trying to be polite, or maybe I just liked the attention and hadn’t yet sensed its intention, but when he grabbed me tight around the wrist and lead me to a table I didn’t resist. He sat, brushing the shock of hair from his eyes. His eyes. This was the first time I’d seen them since we’d met. They were a cold, cruel grey, with an obsessive intensity to them. There was something wrong with this man. I willed myself to sober up. The bar was still reasonably full. It was brightly lit, with security at both doors. Both exits though, were on to dark, empty alleyways. If he were to follow- I stopped. He was staring, speaking, his pupils dilating as they met mine.
“Were you even listening?”
“I said I’m buying you a drink.”
This was about the tenth time he’d offered in the short half-hour I’d been in his company. His insistence was no longer flattering.
“I’m going to leave now. Goodnight.”
I stood, eying a group of rugby types in the corner. I couldn’t leave, but I could get to safer ground.
“Where the fuck do you think you’re running off to?” My back was already to him. I got to the group of men and explained what was going on. They threw their arms around me, blocking his view from the table across the room. I was in a burly, cauliflower-eared cocoon. I could breathe for a moment; evaluate. It felt like it had only been seconds when I felt a cold hand on my waist. He had moved quietly and stood just behind me, facing the wall so that my new friends wouldn’t see. Then, in a voice just quiet enough so that only I could hear, he whispered. “Bit of a fucking tart, aren’t you.” I turned. He was smirking, head slightly cocked to the right as his eyes bore in to me. “You said you were leaving, love.”
“Seriously, fuck off.” I took a step forward. He wasn’t moving. One of the boys grabbed me by the arm, and the other four formed a square around us. Just as we started marching past him, he grabbed my hand again. “Fuck off.” I shouted it this time, twisting away from his sweaty palm. And then we were out. I heaved a sigh of relief, my breath hanging in the cold night air for a moment. We were already halfway down the alleyway, and only moments from my warm hostel bed. It had been a close call. I was a lucky girl. Just then, bar door slammed. I glanced back. There was a figure in the shadows, gaining speed. He was lit only for a moment under the neon of a convenience store, and I started to run.
Past the boys.
Along the cobblestone.
Back to the crosswalk where I had first heard his voice.
No sooner was I at the reception desk than was I under my covers, shaking. The neon light from the hostel sign shone fractured through the blinds. I squeezed my eyes shut, willing the adrenaline out of my system so I could catch a few winks of sleep before the sun came up. Time to dream.
July 11, 2013 § Leave a comment
Picked up a little single-use camera to take around for nights out instead of lugging my Nikon with me and being on the lookout for pickpockets the whole time. Such a novelty having all of these in print. Barcelona is still is dream. I come back to Canada in August, but this city will never be forgotten by my heart, my adventure boots, or my liver.