Here in Nashville, we've been under frost advisories this week, which in my case has meant re-covering the hydrangea, bringing in the plants I over-optimistically set outside last week, and snapping photos of the rest:
There was a sandwich board outside one of the bars down the street advertising a drink called the "Angry Gardener." I was tempted. But there was a magazine release party
already on my calendar, and I was glad about prudence prevailing over temptation when, at the gathering, Emmely Duncan
handed me a glass of strawberry vodka punch laced with black pepper syrup.
Earlier in the day, I had been thinking it was time to bin the University of Michigan sweatshirt I was wearing. It was probably ready for the ragbag a couple of years ago, but today was the day I registered all the stains it had accumulated -- as in, I should've changed outfits before leaving the house. (Considering how laid back and grunge-tolerant my neighborhood is, this is saying something.)
Of course, when I realized this, I was already too far along just to turn around, so I went into the drugstore anyway. As I looked at a display of brooms (so many things in my house getting ratty...), an older African American man walked by me. Then he turned back, exclaiming, "Michigan?" He was wearing a Detroit Tigers cap. Oh, I wish you could have seen how his face lit up.
Speaking of clothing and identity, the New York Times
published a piece this past Sunday sparked Harvey Fierstein's new play. The article is titled Clothes Make the Man
, and -- potential trigger warning -- it raises all sorts of unsorted-out-ness about authenticity and beauty and comfort and gender, and, and, and ...
This paragraph had me nodding in recognition -- I may not share the specific need to wear boy vs. girl clothes, but do I relate to how certain clothes are me
and others are not, and how what I wear can affect how me
I am at a given moment? Oh yes.
"One person I spoke to said: 'When I have my boy clothes on, I feel like I'm at a party full of strangers, and there's great effort that goes into putting my best self forward. And when I put on my women's clothing, it's like walking into another room, and my best friend is sitting there, and I can breathe,'" Mr. Mantello said. "There's a certain poignancy in a transformation that feels cellular."
And immediately following that is the passage that spooked me the most:
If the guests at Casa Valentina love looking in the mirror at their femme selves, some of the actors have struggled with it. Mr. Birney recalled having a hard time making peace with how he looked as a woman.
"I was heartbroken," he said. "I asked the makeup artist, 'Can you make me prettier?'"
Mr. McGowan and the seventh man in the play, Larry Pine, said they had to reckon with their sagging middle-aged bodies, and the girdles and corsets used in the play.
"I look in the mirror, and I see a hideous woman, absolutely hideous," Mr. Pine said. Asked if that hurt, he replied, "Yeah."