Month: August 2012

The unbearable lightness of being Harry

So, in case you had not heard, Prince Henry Charles Albert David of Wales (that’s Prince Hot Ginge to you and me) landed in hot water, yet again, after pictures snapped during his most recent Vegas jaunt hit the internets. What was the big deal? The Ginger One was caught with his pants down, literally, and an equally disrobed young lady at his side. The official explanation for the said pose was “strip billiards”, which actually sounds pretty brilliant. I mean, c’mon – who hasn’t occasionally passed the time by engaging in a game of strip billiards with complete strangers? A prudish, no-fun person, that’s who. Not our Prince Hot Ginge, who is nothing if not the complete opposite of a prudish, no-fun person.

But, really, what was the big deal? Princes have been cavorting with nubile young women since they invented monarchism and nubile young women. Of course, at that time, TMZ had not been invented yet, so it was less likely that Joe Peasant would get to hear about any of it, unless the young nubile woman in question happened to be his wife. But does it really matter? Does Harry’s game of strip billiards somehow demean the office of the Queen? I don’t think so. Everyone knows that Harry’s never going to be king. [Although that would be awesome. Think of the last King Henry that sat on the throne; people are still talking about him more than 500 years later. Harry could totally give him a run for this money in the matrimonial department, hopefully with fewer beheadings.] He’s the monarchy’s black (dark grey?) sheep; he’s the “spare” – if he can’t afford to have all the fun that William definitely can’t, what’s the point? This is not even his worst public debacle; that would be getting papped whilst wearing a Nazi uniform at a costume partya few years ago. Harry’s just having some unoffensive, legal fun. Do you hate fun?

And here’s the thing: the monarchy is no longer the earthly representative of the divinity. Hasn’t been for a long time. For all practical purposes, the monarch holds no sacred, special or otherwise sacrosanct powers, and fulfills an almost entirely ornamental role in the state machinery. Does it matter if one of her grand-kids likes to get his (naked) groove on with random girlies? It doesn’t besmirch the office of the Queen because the office of the Queen is no longer so elevated as to be above all human foibles. I understand that the Queen has to maintain a certain sense of decorum and propriety at all times – mostly because she is a 90 year-old woman, and no one likes to see Grandma hitting it hard in Vegas – but I fail to see why the same considerations would automatically apply to a single, rich, relatively attractive 27 year-old guy, who obviously enjoys doing … what every single, rich, relatively attractive 27 year-old guy generally enjoys doing. Girls. Alcohol. Strip Billiards.

And, yeah, I know that the monarchy is heavily subsidized by British taxpayers. Though I am not British, I too subsidize a lot of questionable things that my government, in its infinite wisdom, chooses to pursue – often to a much pricier tune. I would probably be happier if, instead of some of those things, my tax dollars were put towards enabling the swinging lifestyle of one jet-setting ginger playboy. If the government’s going to waste my money, at least let them waste it in a way that is bound to provide me with entertainment for years to come.

When it comes down to it, everyone loves a handsome rascal. Their naughtiness is too harmless, too endearing, and all too human, not to forgiven. Even by the Queen. Especially by the Queen. You know that Granny loves her ginger.

What say you? Is this a public relations disaster for the royals, or merely a delish spectacle for the peons?

Chanel polish – Les Essentiels de Chanel

This month, Chanel released its trio of fall nail polish shades, Les Essentiels de Chanel. When I first saw their names – Frenzy, Suspicion, and Vertigo – my mind went instantly to Alfred Hitchcock. As cinemaphiles will immediately recognize, all three names are titles of movies from the Hitchcock oeuvre.

Vertigo is one of Hitchcock’s best-known and most-admired films, starring James Stewart and Kim Novak. The plot is too convoluted to summarize here, but suffice it to say that it involves a murder disguised as suicide, an apparent Doppelganger, comings and goings at the San Juan Batista Mission, and a mysterious woman at the center of it all. Vertigo, in polish form, is a medium grey crème suffused with fine pinkish shimmer – a strange combination worthy of its enigmatic namesake.

Suspicion is one of Hitchcock’s earlier films, a psychological thriller starring Cary Grant and Joan Fontaine. The plot features a handsome cad wooing a dowdy rich girl, who comes to suspect that the man of her dreams is plotting to kill her for her life insurance. Chanel’s Suspicion is an intense, glossy hot pink crème. My best description of it is “Holt Renfrew pink” – all the Canadian fashionistas will know what I mean.

Frenzy was Hitchcock’s penultimate film, featuring a fairly straight-forward serial killer plot. For some reason, I had a hard time assimilating the fact that this movie came out in 1972; I’ve always had the impression that Hitchcock was of a certain “era” if you will, and hadn’t realized he was still making movies in the 70s. Somehow, hippies and Hitchcock just don’t seem to go together. Frenzy, the polish, looks like a light greyish taupe crème reminiscent of the Deborah Lippmann shade that was super popular a few years ago, at the height of the greige fad. [It was the polish worn by Lady Gaga on the cover of Vanity Fair in September 2010.]

Because my skin tone does not get on well with pinks, I decided to skip Suspicion and only get the other two polishes.

Les Essentiels de Chanel: Vertigo and Frenzy

How did they measure up in person?

Both Vertigo and Frenzy have the smooth-flowing, easy to handle formula, and glossy finish we’ve all come to expect from Chanel polishes. Disappointingly, the shimmer in Vertigo becomes almost imperceptible on the nail; you can catch a glimpse of it in sunlight, but you have to really look for it.

Stormy grey Vertigo

To prove to you that I didn’t hallucinate it, here is a better bottle shot.

It DOES shimmer, see!

On the other hand, I was pleasantly surprised with Frenzy; on the nail, it’s not grey at all. It’s actually a lovely oatmeal colour – and take my word for it that it’s gorgeous, since you’ve probably never heard the words “lovely” and “oatmeal” in the same sentence before. This “nude” polish is flattering on my cooler skin tone, but I think it would also suit warm-toned complexions as well. Perfect for “mannequin hands”!

The very lovely Frenzy

Of course, this wouldn’t be a Chanel polish post without an “inspired by” outfit. Or two, in this case. Because both Vertigo and Frenzy are muted colours, I decided to pick a restrained palette of black and grey, and taupe and tan, respectively – but push for results that would be anything but blah.

First, Vertigo featuring an “opposites” pairing of restrained pencil skirt and va-va-voom bustier.

Opposites attract?
Second, Frenzy and a head-to-toe ode to beige. I love monochromatic looks that mix various shades in the same family.
Oatmeal – yum!

How do you think I did?

Friday Flashback: Six degrees of cowbell

This week’s flashback, “Six degrees of cowbell”, was originally published in March 2009. 

If I could have one wish fulfilled at this very moment, it would be to have Christopher Walken as my pen pal.* Christopher Walken scares the crap out of me, so if I ever met him in person I would probably pee my pants a little, but I think we’d make great pen pals. I want him to write to me about opossums, the occasional drunk kid on a Pogo stick, staring contests with cats, and other little gems like that. In fact, I would like Christopher Walken to narrate my life for me. That would be delightfully weird — Burton-esque rather than, say, Lynchian in tone. I don’t want to sound creepy, but I will anyway – I think Christopher Walken would totally “get” me, if you know what I mean. Witness this tweet from last December: “I’m working on a book. Writing one I mean. I’ve already read several.” I die.

Let me side-step on a tangent.

Wikipedia says that Christopher Walken doesn’t have kids. Having Christopher Walken as your dad is kind of inconceivable so, for once, life sorta makes sense. A lot of people say my dad looks like Robin Williams. I disagree; for one thing, he doesn’t have hairy knuckles. I think my dad looks like Robert De Niro. I think that having De Niro as your dad would be really neat.* My boyfriend disagrees, but he shouldn’t be so selfish; I’m pretty sure that reality wouldn’t resemble a third-rate Ben Stiller flick in any case. Actually, I think my dad looks more like the love-child of De Niro and Alec Baldwin.* Now, it would be unbelievably cool if he really was their love-child – I like to imagine that my life would be one amazing, never-ending SNL skit. Narrated by Christopher Walken.

Next tangent.

I’m pretty happy with the way I look, except when people say I remind them of Claire Danes. It’s kind of unfair for them to say that, considering that the comparison was last flattering back in ’96. But, despite occasional bouts of uncertainty with regards to my nose, I wouldn’t volunteer myself for a face transplant. I have nice bones, as my boyfriend once said (in a totally non-creepy sort of way), and that counts for a lot. There’s a good chance that I won’t start resembling a Shar-Pei for a long, long time. I might even avoid it altogether. Still, I wouldn’t mind looking like Michelle Pfeiffer. That is one smokin’ lady. Has been for a long time. You can keep your Angelinas and your Scarletts and your Natalie Portmans. Give me Scarface. We’ll compare notes in twenty years.

I can’t think, of the top of my head, whether Michelle Pfeiffer’s ever been in a movie with either Christopher Walken or De Niro. Someone is bound to point out the answer to me, so I won’t bother Googling it. Besides, all three are probably less than six degrees of separation apart, and Kevin Bacon is no doubt in the middle of it somehow. One expects him to be. Personally, I think George Clooney is the new Kevin Bacon.* Come to think of it, he was once in some atrocious-looking movie with Michelle Pfeiffer that I never watched. It’s no good asking me how I know these things, because I just do.

I know a lot of useless things. Many of them involve movies and/or movie actors. This doesn’t come in handy as much as you’d think. I would be far more successful in life than I am if it did. It’s a tragic case of under-utilization; by no means the most tragic of my life, but sad nonetheless. Perhaps I need to frequent pub quiz nights more often.

Last tangent.

I once met a red-haired dude in a pub. He wasn’t bad-looking, for a red-haired dude.* I went out with him on a date, and I was sober at the time. The funny thing about that guy was that he was really proud of his follicles. And not because they were still on his head; he was a red-hair zealot, a description which surely comprises the world’s smallest sect. I caught him looking at me a few times with an odd glint in his eye; I could swear that he was calculating the odds of our future children being orange-haired freaks and (figuratively speaking) rubbing his hands with glee at that glorious prospect. I didn’t have the heart to tell him that I would rather mate with an albino than spawn a ginger.* He was kind of a weird guy. Anyway, the point is that people fetishize the strangest things. Like feet, or stuffed animals. I wonder, sometimes, what makes them do that. Most of the time, I don’t want to know. I’m already full of useless information. But I can’t (and don’t) judge. I’m unaccountably fond of many strange things myself. Books. Pickles. Christopher Walken’s Twitter account.

That’s life.

*Or, rather, the person who is Christopher Walken on Twitter – bless his heart, whoever he is.
* Well, except for having to sit through Meet the Parents more than once. Also, Analyze This/That. And The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle. On the other hand, I think I want to be adopted by Captain Shakespeare. I’m pretty sure I’m serious.
* 30 Rock Alec Baldwin, not Working Girl Alec Baldwin. It just struck me that Alec Baldwin was in Beetlejuice too. I feel old. Also, saddened by the career trajectory of Winona Ryder.
* On the subject of comparisons, Michelle Pfeiffer starred in one of my favourite movies of all time alongside the very beautiful (and then-much younger) Uma Thurman. Few women could distract a man from the delectable Ms. Thurman, even when required to do so by a delightfully Rococo plot, but Pfeiffer made it seem not only plausible but inevitable.
* I was going to add that Brad Pitt is the new George Clooney. Then I remembered how, sometimes, I’m not really sure that Brad Pitt and George Clooney are not the same person, Fight Club-style.
* Be honest: how many red-headed dudes do you know who are even remotely attractive? Apart from Eric Stolz, who was admittedly pretty foxy back in the 80s and 90s. Unless you’re one of those people keeping CSI: Miami alive with your inexplicable love of all things Caruso, the answer is none.
* It’s not that I hate gingers. It’s just that I want my kid to be able to start dating before the age of 35.

Ed. Note (August 2012): Ok, this post makes me sound like I have a hate-on for gingers, which is totally not the case. Maybe it has something to do with latent scars inflicted on my psyche by playground meanies. In any event, my son ended up inheriting his dad’s colouring, and as a result is about 10 shades darker than me. Sometimes I marvel that he’s my flesh and blood … and then he yawns or screams (usually the latter), and I recognize my own kind. What can I say … big mouths run in our family.

I also want to clarify that I don’t hate Claire Danes. Honest. But, in the scheme of things, I’d much rather be told I look like Michelle Pfeiffer than Claire Danes. For one thing, my husband agrees with me that Michelle is the sexiest. That’s it; just the sexiest, period. Actually, funnily enough, in the last few years people have stopped telling me I look like Claire Danes, and started telling me I look like Bryce Howard Dallas. Still not Michelle. Dammit!Last but not least, I continued to adore both Christopher Walken and Alec Baldwin. And, of course, Bobby D. I think this was post was written before the whole Alec Baldwin-voicemail incident, but that hasn’t really changed my feelings towards him. First, I am not privy to his relationship with his daughter. Second, “real-life Alec Baldwin” is only loosely related to “my Alec Baldwin”, who is equal parts SNL-Alec Baldwin and Jack Donaghey. Apples and oranges, really.So, my question for you is: who would play you, and who would play your dad, in the summer blockbuster rendition of your life?