Friday, September 29, 2006

road dispatch.

ok, first of all. i am at a quality inn. let's just get that out there. we were at a quality inn last night, too. the prices at both? can't be beat. the rooms and locale? well, tonight is definitely better than last night on both those fronts. but the quality inn of northwest ohio at which i slept last night, well, suffice to say i will never be back there.

in fact, after paying the tolls at the ohio/pennslyvania border, BoyCat and i decided that we will never go back to ohio, period.

ok, a random collection of other notes and impressions from the road:

- i took a moment on the indiana toll road while driving past south bend to flip the bird to notre dame. and it felt good, people. the drivers around me must've been somewhat perplexed at the sight of a disheveled girl in a corrolla waving her middle finger wildly in the direction of nothing. except, you know, it was notre dame.

- guess what i found on a random radio station in eastern indiana last night? "the sign" by ace of base. and i rocked it out. you know if you had been in middle school in 1993, then you know you would have done the same thing.

- guess what else i found on a random radio station in northwest ohio last night? "desperado." which, let me tell you, is the perfect late night driving song when you no longer care about the cheesiness factor of anything to which you're listening. well wait, that's not true, because i did find myself hoping that the song would end before i got off the turnpike, so that the toll booth operator didn't know i was listening to desperado. luckily, i was not found out.

- this morning, i drove down the street to mcdonald's to get some coffee for BoyCat and i. (no dunkin donuts in the visible sad.) as i was picking up my order and heading for the door, an older man behind me barked, "levi! get over here!" i was like, "levi? really? ok." and of course i turned around because i had to see this person that someone christened levi. it was a regular-looking adolscent boy. i was hoping for a cowboy hat, or a mini-mullet, or something.

- while driving out of said mcdonald's, a guy was walking across the crosswalk in front of the entrance. since we were near a mid-sized ohio university, i immediately sized up the guys as "grad student." i literally thought to myself the complete sentence (in a pre-caffeinated state, no less!), "you are a grad student." isn't it funny how sometimes you can just spot them a mile away? semi-beat up brown blazer? check. semi-beat up dress shoes? check? hipster winter hat? check. venti coffee? check? ipod earphones in ears? oh, absolutely check.

- today, about halfway through our car journey from ohio to southern pennslyvania, CatCat decided she'd had enough of two days of tranquilizers and movers and riding in the car. after having sat fairly quietly for about two hours, she stood up inside the cat carrier and just started wailing. she cried and howled, pulled ferociously at the carrier gate, and generally raised hell. i, of course, walkie-talkied BoyCat to tell him of this uprising. however, despite a few encouraging cries of "gato libre!" from BoyCat over the airwaves, CatCat eventually gave up the fight. tuckered herself out, too, because she sait quietly through the rest of the trip. she is currently installed in the window of our hotel room.

ok, it's on to virginia tomorrow. see you when we get there...

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

time to ramble on.

ok, so. in about a day and a half, we will set off for washington DC. i am, in short, very happy about this. this is not to say that i will not miss chicago, because i will. i was taking my last El ride today, and i actually got a little emotional getting off at belmont for the last time! a bit silly, but true nonetheless. and there are other things that i will miss:

- the El, in general. not that it doesn't have its hassles and tribulations like any other public transit system, but by god, it's got character. it's so distinctive, and i'm always kinda impressed when something can be iconic and workaday at the same time. i will miss hearing those metal cars hurtle along on the tracks overhead, or to watch the skyline sliding by as i make my way to work in the morning.

- the food. oh dear lord, the food. i don't even know how to talk about it! the down and dirty chicago food, first and foremost - hot dogs, corndogs, brats, polishs, all that. the fact that i won't be able to just run down the street and get a chicago dog and fries for like two dollars is practically tragic. and then there's the neighborhood restaurants: el mariachi, ecce the sushi place, joy's for thai food. all so good, and all literally a three minute walk away. what's nearby at the new place? wendy's. enough said.

- boystown. this neighborhood is something else. i've written about it befoe, but really, i know i take it for granted that i live in such a welcoming, progressive neighborhood. it's not perfect, of course, but i think it'll be really hard to find anything like it (that's even vaguely affordable!) anywhere else.

- the city. you know, it's hard to describe this. because technically, i'm moving to another city. and it'll be city-like and all that. but it won't be chicago. it won't be the concrete canyons and the lakefront and the skyscrapers and the bars with neon bears signs in the windows. even though sometimes the city wears me down, even though sometimes i see things here that make me want to cry, or scream, or give up and hide out from humanity forever, in a weird way i think that's what living should do. life should remind you of other people, it should remind you of what's different and what's the same - it should be a challenge. and i know that DC will have many of the elements of city living that i'm used to and more, but it won't be this city, at this moment in time. chicago has done a lot for me and shown a lot to me in the two and a half years that i've been here, and i guess what it boils down to is that i'm grateful for that.

i don't know if i'll have a chance to post again before our internet gets shut off tomorrow (shut off? shut down? i'm not sure what the proper terminology is for internet account termination). if i don't, well, i will see you all again when we get to DC and bully comcast into setting up our new account! right now they're telling us they'll do it on sunday, but i don't believe that for a second - i'm guessing tuesday at the earliest.

so we're off. see you soon.

Monday, September 25, 2006

a quiz.

at the moment, kate is:

a) trapped under heavy furniture
b) trapped under a to-do list of errands
c) trapped under the weight of her own anxiety
d) all of the above

if you picked d), you'd be correct! (really, the third choice is a little melodramatic, as i am actually feeling somewhat positive this morning. we'll see how long that feeling lasts before it's drowned in paint fumes.)

and i realized last night that with the move and all, i forgot that i have passed the illustrious one-year mark with this little blog! wahoo! hooray for self-involvement.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

one reason that i will not miss chicago.

there are many reasons why i will miss chicago, of course, and i plan to document them here before our departure. but this was the situation in the area last night:

The thunderstorms first erupted in the western suburbs about 5 p.m. and rolled east, according to the National Weather Service. The onslaught led many municipalities, including Chicago, to use emergency sirens.

and by emergency sirens, they mean the tornado sirens.

um, yes.

thank god i was out at a reading with roni and cinnamon when all this happened, or else i feasibly could've dropped dead from fear. we couldn't hear the sirens from inside the bookstore, though, even though roni's husband called her to let her know that there was a tornado warning in effect. when i got home later, BoyCat told me that he heard the sirens from here inside the apartment.

luckily for chicagoland, no funnel clouds actually touched down. but really, not having to worry about the wail of tornado sirens in my newest city of residence will be a relief!

friday cat blogging, one track mind edition.

yes, it's saturday. again. sue me.

so CatCat has this thing where she loves to drink water out of people glasses. this is all my fault, really, as during the heat wave of the first summer we had her, i wanted to make sure that she was drinking enough water, so i would offer her some out of my glass if she was sitting with me (i'd dump it out afterwards, obviously - i'm not that gross of a cat lady yet!). so after one or two tastes of people water, she was hooked. and her favorite place to get it is from the water glass on my nightstand.

it's gotten to the point that you can tell, in the mornings, that she's just waiting for both of us to get out of the bedroom so she can take a drink from the glass. she will pace up and down my side of the bed, unabashedly eyeing the glass, and then me, and then the glass again. she knows that she shouldn't be doing it, though, so she's not bold enough to actually go for it while we're still in the room.

thus, i was forced to document the moment stealthily. i took this picture literally 60 seconds after both BoyCat and i had left the bedroom (it's blurry, because i had to snap quickly):

and then, the inevitable deer-in-the-headlights look of guilt 5 seconds afterward:

don't let the air of contrition about her fool you. i'm sure she went back to drinking it the minute i left.

Friday, September 22, 2006

a burning question raised by christina aguilera's frighteningly catchy single.

i interrupt my regularly scheduled moving-related ramblings to bring you this important query:

is it possible for a man to simultaneously have class and be bad-ass?


Thursday, September 21, 2006

a post in which i shout unabashedly.




now i'm going to go pass out.

nature? really? ok.

i'm not sure how this particular thematic popped up in my job hunt, but i'll take it. this morning i have two phone interviews, both with conservation-focused agencies. in two weeks, i have a face-to-face interview with another agency that deals with - guess what? - conservation. all three have different angles - one is national parks, one is overall wild/undeveloped land, and one is wildlife - but really, it's quite a coincidence.

and it's funny that a person like me is interviewing with these three agencies - i mean, i have labeled my apartment building's courtyard "overly verdant." seriously. but BoyCat made the good point that it's not that i'm against conservation per se, i just don't feel a need to go explore and/or spend time in the land that's conserved! the thorns, the stinging insects, the poisonous plants - no thanks!

but really, i'm excited to have some job stuff picking up speed on the non-profit side, whatever the missions of the agencies involved. i won't ask you all to keep your fingers crossed for two whole weeks, but this morning would be nice if you don't mind...

Wednesday, September 20, 2006


can you really not buy a monthly unlimited public transit pass in DC? because i've been clicking around the Metro website for about 20 minutes now, and it's dawning on me that it might not be that i'm unable to find the page that has the monthly pass info - it might be that you really can't get one.

i mean, i could even get a monthly pass in boston, of all places! land of the B line and ancient trolley cars! and this city, arguably the national capital to end all national capitals, can't figure out a way to let its citizens purchase train and bus rides in bulk? it makes them wallow in the continual uncertainty of whether they have enough of a balance on their card for that $1.35 bus trip home??

i am honestly dumbstruck. some DCer, please prove me wrong here...

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

i made up a song.

and it goes a little something like this:

BoyCat got a job
BoyCat got a job
now we can pay our rennnnnnt
because BoyCat got a job

i think it's pretty catchy.

Monday, September 18, 2006

oh dear.

now, i'm not complaining here. no sirree should this be construed in any way, shape, or form as a complaint. because as i may have mentioned once or 17 times, i am really, really glad that we have an apartment to move to in the DC area. however - i am also glad that they offer short-term leases. because as nice as the apartment is, well...

a landscape comparison, courtesy of google satellite:

this is my neighborhood in chicago.

this will be our neighborhood in alexandria.

whoa. suburban sojourn, anyone? and yes, that big white building dominating the area is a mall. a mall!

well, at least i can get to ann taylor loft and victoria's secret easily.

a post wholly unrelated to moving.

and wouldn't you know, it's about shoes.

i'm sorry, but i just couldn't resist sharing this much-needed public service to the world. death to crocs! stop the insanity!

(hat tip to the manolo for this crucial find.)

Sunday, September 17, 2006

moving. in a move.

i know, shut up about it already! but it is all i am doing and thinking lately.

today we got back from the pseudo-cats-in-laws with a bunch of BoyCat's stuff (mainly books, wouldn't you know) that will be making the trek with us. it seemed a little crazy to be lugging stuff into the apartment, but there you have it. and it is a testament to our general nerdiness that one of our first purchases when we arrive in DC will have to be another bookcase, as the two we have are full and we just brought in two more boxes of 'em.

ah well.

so on friday night, we said goodbye to some good friends of ours, a couple who are actually moving to NYC the same day we're moving to DC (migrate to acronyms on thursday! ready, go!). on the way back to the car after saying our goodbyes, i said to BoyCat, "i feel weird." i didn't really know what it meant. because i did feel weird, but i couldn't narrow it down any further than that. i was sad, and i was nervous, and i was a bit confused and disoriented. it was strange to say goodbye to these friends, friends we'd made soon after moving to chicago, friends with whom we'd done a lot - baseball games, drunken nights at bars, lazy afternoons watching football, all those random happenings that add up to life when you look back on them. and all of a sudden it was like, ok, that's over.

not life, mind you, but that life. now we're creating a different one. and everything from the life that was? it can come with us, in a way, if we want it to - but it'll be different. mutated, necessarily, to make room for the new. and we walked back to the car, and i was quiet, because i realized that i was really going. i don't think i had realized it until right then. i've been so wrapped up in wrapping things up, in packing and reserving and listing and planning, that i hadn't thought about making some peace with the life that i'm leaving. and it's - well, it's weird.

and to top that off, this is my last week of work at nonprofitland. talk about needing to make some peace...

Friday, September 15, 2006

friday cat blogging, the evident disdain edition.

people, i have figured it out.

"figured out what," you say, "that CatCat obviously thinks you're a pitiful philistine?" well, friends, that i knew long ago. no, what i figured out was how to take CatCat's picture without getting those freaky alien eyes! it washes out the color a fair amount, but its better than her looking like a close encounter of the third kind in every photo i take of her.

behold, CatCat's real face, in all its condescending glory.

ok! ok? ok.

it is almost the weekend, so i am just going to talk about all the productive things that got accomplished this week. because it will make me feel good. and feeling good on the weekend is an ideal situation.

so, what have BoyCat and i gotten done this week?

- we got an apartment (holy crap i still almost can't believe it)
- we booked movers on both ends of the chicago-DC journey to load and unload the uhaul
-we canceled the cable, internet, phone, and gas accounts
- we got the cat to the vet and got her some kitty tranquilizers for the long trip
- we took our big gangly down comforter to be dry cleaned
- we bought packing supplies
- we packed10 boxes of stuff (smallish boxes, but still!)

not bad, not bad! the apartment is actually starting to look like people are actually moving out of it sometime in the near future, and we're putting pieces into place to make sure the move itself goes smoothly.

well, who are we kidding, moves never go smoothly, but at least we have paid people to help us and we have somewhere to move *to*! which, for me, is good enough for now.

we are off to the pseudo-cats-in-laws this weekend to round up our errant clutter there, and to have one more dinner at the delicious pan-asian place near their house.

it's scary when you really start having to get going on your "just one more..." list! but i've got two weeks, and i plan to make the most of them in that regard. (and by "in that regard," i mainly mean food. the pan-asian place, the thai place around the corner, the mexican place around the corner, the beef shack with the delicious corndogs down the street...)

Thursday, September 14, 2006

this is not just an issue. this is THE issue.

As Shakes notes, "Nothing we do matters if we don’t have fair elections".

"We've demonstrated that malicious code can spread like a virus from one voting machine to another," said [team leader Edward W. Felten, a professor at Princeton's Department of Computer Science] in an exclusive interview, "which means that a bad guy who can get access to a few machines — or only one — can infect one machine, which could infect another, stealing a few votes on each in order to steal an entire election."

…The Princeton study is the first such extensive, independent, publicly-released investigation of the hardware, software, and firmware of a Diebold AccuVote DRE (Direct Recording Electronic) system of the type used in Maryland, Florida, Georgia and many other states. In all, such touch-screen voting systems made by Diebold, will be in use in nearly 40 states across the country this November.

thank you baby jesus, and buddha, and allah, and the tooth fairy and santa claus too.

i am flat-out crazed at nonprofitland this week, so i just wanted to pop up quickly this morning and say:

we got the apartment!

like ohmigosh, we have a place to move all of our stuff into when we arrive in the DC area in a big 'ol uhaul! and it has a deck! and fireplace! and a washer and dryer inside it! oh, glorious private laundering capabilities. i am beside myself about that fact alone.

so thanks for all those crossed fingers. you can uncross them now, i'm sure they're pretty cramped.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

your wednesday one-liner.

a city simile, courtesy of Overheard in New York:

Running mom, to child: Hurry up! Run, run like the cops are chasing you!

--110th & Amsterdam

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

from the "humina-whaaa?" files.

so i was just getting myself a piece of gum from my bag, and i noticed something written on the back of the Dentyne Ice packet. it's tucked under the logo and alongside the nutrional information (two pieces account for 1% of your total carbs, if you were wondering. i'm just going to put this curious advertising copy out there verbatim:

Dentyne-ism #16
The more time you spend staring into
her eyes, the less you'll talk later.


seriously, if someone can explain the logic of this sentence to me, i will send you an autographed picture of CatCat and a pack of Dentyne Ice gum.

worth reading.

as a public service, i pass along what so many other bloggers are passing along today: links to Keith Olbermann's pinpoint accurate commentary on 9/11. i know many of you, like myself, are wary to dive into any 9/11-related political discussion, but as Toast says, this is a must read.

How dare you, Mr. President, after taking cynical advantage of the unanimity and love [in the days and weeks after 9/11], and transmuting it into fraudulent war and needless death, after monstrously transforming it into fear and suspicion and turning that fear into the campaign slogan of three elections? How dare you -- or those around you -- ever "spin" 9/11?

Just as the terrorists have succeeded -- are still succeeding -- as long as there is no memorial and no construction here at Ground Zero.

So, too, have they succeeded, and are still succeeding as long as this government uses 9/11 as a wedge to pit Americans against Americans.

you can find the full transcript here. you can also find the video here.

some observations.

do you know what i really don't like?

wearing jeans and running sneakers. for some reason, i just find it incredibly awkward. i hate the way the hem of the jean bunches around the sneaker, i hate the way it looks, i hate the way it feels. for this reason, i should immediately discontinue using my gym shoes as commuter shoes when it's too cold for commuter sandals. i'll need a new commuter shoe plan for when it gets really cold.

do you know what i really do like?

the word fallacious. i like it because it sounds like salacious. it also reminds me of fallopian, which, c'mon, is just a great word. in fact, i especially like those two latter words used together, even though they make no sense. they'd be a fun substitute for the word fallacious, though; you could say things like "that is a salaciously fallopian argument, my friend. i'm not buying it."

and with that profound thought, friends, i make my leave. talk amongst yourselves.

Monday, September 11, 2006

brief newsbreak.

ok, four grants are breathing down my neck this week, so just a lickity-split update from me today. (because really, i know you are all just breathless with anticipation to know what is going on in the life of kate! this is crucial information, you must know! right now! well, magnanimously charitable cherub that i am, i will humor you.)

- went to a good friend from home's wedding this weekend. did not catch the bouquet, as there was no bouquet throwing. phew.

- i could be mistaken about there being no bouquet throwing, though, as BoyCat and i left around 11:30 when my ability to maintain my own balance became noticably impaired. 4 1/2 glasses of wine + not very much food + allergy meds = really drunk kate.

- we went to the cheese castle on the way home, and bought entirely too much cheese for people vacating their apartment in 2 1/2 weeks. but you know what's sad? we'll eat it all with time to spare.

- i don't even want to mention this for fear of jinxing it, but...oh my gosh...we put a hold on an apartment this weekend! we are sending our applications today, and hopefully everything will be approved and whatnot by wednesday or thursday. i am beside myself with nervous energy. like, the application jammed in the fax machine when i first tried to send it half an hour ago, and i almost had a breakdown.

- this last one bears repeating. we (almost) have an apartment!!! i just used three exclamation points, people, this is serious!

keep your fingers crossed for us, please...

Friday, September 08, 2006

friday cat blogging, "i'm freaking out too!" edition.

the cat! the blogging! together again!

as i have been consumed by, ahem, other things lately, i have slacked off on my solemn duty to post pictures of my pet on my blog. so here's one. i honestly wish this was video, even just a five second one, so you could get the full effect of the writhing and rolling and scratching and kicking that was going on here. it's hard to make out what the object of her affection/hatred is, i know - it's actually just one of those expandable file-holder thingees. but it usually doesn't sit right there in the middle of the room; it's usually tucked into a drawer. the same drawer that we keep the catnip in.

imagine that.

on that note (which is to say, no note at all), BoyCat and i are off to wisconsin for a wedding this weekend. and yes, of course we are stopping at the Mars Cheese Castle on the way home - what do you think we are, heathens?

see you on the other side of sunday, when i hope to report that we have an apartment. or a big cardboard box to set up on the side of the road upon our arrival in DC.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

no, really.

i think i'm going crazy.

people, i think this blog is going to become All Move, All The Time for the next three weeks, because i have just realized the monumental nature of the task ahead, and it has begun to completely consume me. i know that many use the term lightly, but "freaking out" pretty much describes my default state right now.

poor BoyCat. he does not even know what to do with me.

we still don't have an apartment, and we're considering downgrading to a studio for the first six months in order to not have to live in an apartment complex favored by thieves and crackwhores. because you know, it's much easier to try to ferret out a good deal on a nice, clean apartment in a decent neighborhood when you actually live in the city where you're looking.

which we, of course, do not.

so, more later. tomorrow i am starting the packing process. after i buy some packing tape. but after that, bookshelves, be warned* - your time in chicago is up.

*i just accidentally typed "warnded," which, when i think about it, sounds kinda funny. like i have a cold and a speech impediment at the same time or something. and i'm also three years old.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

oh, and by the way?

we're still moving to DC. in, um, three weeks.

ahh hahahahahahahaha.

that's funny.

in big picture terms, there is still much to be done. mainly, find an apartment and find employment. we just got down to business on the apartment hunt today, and have winnowed a bunch of places down to 2 or 3 serious contenders - i'm hoping to have initiated a rental application somewhere by the end of this week.

because, you know, moving. in three weeks.

the employment thing is a whole 'nother animal and likely to make me break out in hives if i think about it anymore, so i'll spare you all (and me) from more discussion on that subject. the one thing that i will say is that i've decided to pursue freelance grant writing regardless of whatever job i do get, full-time or part-time or no-time. well, that is unless i get a job as a full-time grant writer somwhere, in which case, sweet. but i think that grant writing is probably the most useful (and portable) skillset that i've developed for myself over the past year, and i should stick with it. hell, i have two english degrees - i should try to make money by writing. it's kind of a no-brainer.

there has been other moving-related progress, but mainly little things that seem dwarfed by the tasks yet to be accomplished. i'm hoping to slay a few big dragons in the next week, and hopefully have a valid address and a small army of moving boxes by next friday.

stay tuned...

a feel-good ending (at least for the red sox fan in the apartment).

there was much rejoicing and jumping around in the living rooms, family rooms, and dens of my hometown last night, as one of our own hit a walk-off homerun to win it for the red sox at fenway last night:

Carlos Pena had plenty of make-believe, game-winning homers for the Boston Red Sox during his youth. This time it was reality...the Red Sox tied the score in the ninth inning and beat the Chicago White Sox 3-2 on Monday night on Pena's home run leading off the 10th. "Do you know how many times I'm doing this in my backyard? It's amazing," said Pena, who grew up about 40 miles north of Boston and went to college at Northeastern. "It's definitely the most exciting moment of my career, no doubt about it."

i went to high school with this guy, and he was seriously one of the nicest people you will ever meet. hard working, unassuming, always smiling. i know what you're thinking - those people don't exist! and i hardly believe it myself. but carlos peña is one of them, and i jumped around my little living room in chicago last night for him too.

way to go, carlos!

Friday, September 01, 2006

a vegas nudie show, or, my exercise in feminist masochism.

now i’ve done it. i haven’t even gotten into a discussion of seeing La Femme, a “celebration of the artistry of the nude” at the MGM Grand in vegas, and i’ve already said something that i need to explain. when i say that it was an exercise in feminist masochism, i recognize this can only be applied to myself with certainty. i know there are lots of sex-positive feminists who would not have batted an eye at the thought of going to a nude revue; hell, i’m sure there are sex-positive feminists in those nude revues. and i’m surely not going to get into whether or not i consider myself a sex-positive feminist at all, because that’s a hall of mirrors that i don’t particularly feel like skipping down today. so anyway, suffice to say this is just one feminist’s take on her first experience seeing a naked woman, on stage, as entertainment.

i’m honestly not even sure how it came about that we decided to go. my parents were going to go to one of the cirque du soleil shows, but decided against it, and then there was some consideration of other options. BoyCat and i weren’t originally planning on going to any shows, given the highway robbery pricetags, but it turns out there are half-price, day-of ticket kiosks in vegas, too! imagine that! so, having agreed the night before that La Femme looked interesting, those ended up being the tickets MomCat and SisterCat came back from the ticket booth the next morning. naked ladies it was!

i approached the evening with equivalent levels of curiosity and skepticism. while i was no big fan of the striptease motif in general, i was also intrigued by the way this show was positing itself as the Artsy Nudie Show. it had some cred where that was concerned; La Femme originated over 50 years ago in paris, where it is still running today at the famous Crazy Horse saloon. for the show’s 50th anniversary, they inaugurated the vegas version, which is staged in an almost-exact replica of the Crazy Horse in paris, with trained ballet dancers who have all performed in the original venue. so this wasn’t some flash-in-the-pan, tits-and-ass bonanza slapped together for the benefit of drunk conventioneers. this show had a history, a background, and a theory – the idea that “L’Art Du Nu,” or “the art of the nude” was not merely nudity for nudity’s sake, but an artistic creation based on the female form.

i was there, essentially, to see whether i bought this line.

in short, i didn’t. but did i enjoy myself? yes. before i started writing this post, i was trying to figure out how, or if, one could reconcile those two things. and i was realizing that i didn’t buy what they were selling (in theory, that is – i did drop $30 for the ticket) because i’m a feminist, and my personal feminist convictions don’t line up with what the show was presenting. and honestly, the fact that i enjoyed it in spite of all that was an un-feminist thing to do. it wasn’t actively anti-feminist, but it was un-feminist. and i see that and accept it, because you know what? when you grow up in a culture that is so often un-feminist (and also anti-feminist much of the time), when you’re steeped in that and weaned on it and you live it every day, in the end you’re going to find yourself enjoying some un-feminist things (for more, see my shoe rack, and how i’m inexplicably drawn to those sex and the city reruns on tbs). this is not the end of the world. so i’m glad i went and sat in a red velvet chair and drank a $10 martini and watched a show with naked women in it. i had a good time. but i also noticed a few things, and the feminist in me would just like to take a minute to point them out.

one, the “art as woman, woman as art” thing skeeves me out, period. the program book for the show actually trumpets this as bernardin’s (the creator of the show) highest accomplishment, as if this kind of fusion is ever truly possible. you can dress the idea up in as much high-flown language as you like, but it’s just another way of saying women should be looked at, women are objects, women are raw material with which men can fashion their artistic creations. (and we’re not getting into a “but men can be objectified too!” debate, because it’s a matter of numbers: as the guerilla girls so famously noted, “less than 5% of the artists in the Modern Art sections [of the Met] are women, but 85% of the nudes are female.”) and i’m sorry, but folks, this whole motif is just tired. art as woman, woman as…zzzzzz.

and really, if there’s one question i’ve been chewing on since seeing La Femme, it’s the question of high and low art in general. because we tend to think of stripclubs and erotic dancers as practically the lowest form of low art, no? i mean, many would laugh to even label it “art.” and then here’s this show proclaiming that it has “elevated” the female form into “art”? where exactly did these naked women, in their supposed ascent, cross the line from low-art jokes into high-art muses? really, at the end of the day, aren’t boobies on stage just boobies on stage?

you know, it’s funny. there was one act in the show that was a male magician, doing a little cutesy mimed card trick number. he had on a full black suit. mid-way through his act, he took off the suitcoat, much to the amusement of the audience. this was the only moment in an hour and a half show filled with nude women that elicited hoots and cheers from the audience. the only one! this intrigues me in a number of ways. is it because we can only think of a disrobing man on stage as humorous? as play-acting? but men hoot and cheer for other women disrobing in other shows, so what gives? i think it was because La Femme billed itself as such a serious, artistic show, and people adjusted their expectations accordingly. clearly, the breasts in this show were not to be hooted or hollered at – they were to be considered, intently. you were supposed to watch closely, and ponder whether the left breast represented Truth and the right one Beauty, or vice versa.

which, really? is pretty ridiculous. this was naked women, dancing, singing, tromping around on stage in thongs and nipple tassels and heels. let’s call ‘em like we see ‘em, ok?

i think that’s why, of all the numbers in the show, the ones that i enjoyed the most were the ones with a wink and a nod - a wink that showed an understanding of the nature of a naked woman on stage, a nod of collusion with the audience in the spectacle. one number, called but i’m a good girl, had one nearly-naked woman dancing around poles and through beaded curtains, singing about her jet-setting, man-servicing ways. however, each verse ended with that great trap-door of a title, “but i’m a good girl!” this was great, in that it served to infuse the whole number with a bit of meta, with the absurd contradiction of a topless woman doing high kicks while proclaiming her innocence. (and can i just say, the high kicks? holy shit. these women were dancers, i knew, but this woman was astounding. picture a woman doing a full split on the ground, then stand her up vertical, and you can start to picture it. one minute her foot is on the ground, the next, it’s 180 degrees away, like her hip is on a pivot. the first time she did it, i literally gasped out loud.)

ok, the second point (i am wrapping this up, i swear) that unnerved me was the way these woman all looked alike. this was not surprising in the least, but seeing it, taking it in, was just such a visceral reminder of the way we fetishize a female form that is so extreme, and so far from what most women experience in life. the show gets points for not showcasing breast implants, but the woman were all still thin, tall, not too curvy, and from what i could tell, white. beyond that, though, it was like they all had the same measurements, the same proportions – like they were all the same woman, really. there was one boudoir-themed number where the women all wear short, bleached-blond wigs, and after a few moments i was taken aback by how i could not tell one apart from the other. there were no distinguishing characteristics, at all, anywhere. they were like a dancing fembot army. if there was ever a visual representation of that ideal to which 99% of women will never live up, this was it.

and this impossible ideal is, ultimately, what i was left with after seeing the show. true, i talked with my family about the different numbers, which ones we liked and which ones we didn’t, and i pondered a few issues and questions seeing the show raised for me. but the next day, after coming back up to the room to change, i caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror as i was climbing out of my clothes. the emotion i felt in that split second could only be described as shameful disgust. i mentally chastised myself for feeling that way - i turned away from the mirror and refused to let myself dwell on it. but that moment, and all other moments like it, is why i don’t plan on seeing a nudie show again.