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September 23, 2012

Corsets Make Me all Gooey Inside

I bet that wasn't want you were expecting to see tonight.  Let me just say now there will be some stream of consciousness kind of blogging right now so if you aren't prepared for some meandering tis best to click the x right now cause this whole post will probably be random as hell.  I did take my nap, it was okay, woke up congested which I hate.  Didn't make ice cream because mom and I started the nightly what do you want to eat dance and unlike normal it felt like a scene from Friday.  We had one thing but not the other to make almost every dish we would have liked to eat.  That prompted a store run and then someone (not me) didn't want to cook so a KFC run ensued as well.  Anyhoo, I've been thinking of this post for the last few days.  It was prompted from a tiny marathon of the Tudors.  First let me say if Henry the VIII had really looked like Jonathan Rhys Meyers then I totally understand the fascination with him.  Of course we know he did not and yes power is sexy and all that but Tudors Henry would have made me pant as well.  A few weeks ago I also saw Anne of the 1000 Days I think it was called which solely focused on Anne Boelyn's pursuit by and then pursuit of Henry the VIII.  By her count, of course hours before her death, she had hated, seduced, fell in love with and had been discarded by Henry in a mere 1000 days.  That's not even four years but he abandoned one church, banished his first wife, created a new church all to marry Anne.  Now it is widely shown on film that she really won him over by not giving in to his wandering eye and demanding more than fleeting status as a mistress.  After all, at least one story has her sister doing the same thing and just ending up with a child that could never become king because he was illegitimate.  And I have seen more than my share of men who are fascinated by being turned down and then pursue all the harder.  I know you're wondering what this has to do with corsets but really the dresses depending on them.  So snug while being ornate and huge usually left just enough cleavage on display (depending on the dress) to entice and made the waistline dainty enough to make men feel all manly when they embraced you.  Now the fact that you NEEDED several people or some odd machinery to get yourself into a corset with a "good" fit means I probably would have hated them and I liked breathing but I love the look of them.

As a lifelong tomboy corsets and vintage clothing taps into one part of my girly self.  In my brain, clothes from certain eras while somewhat restrictive and overly feminine gave women way more control than we think of now.  Yes a good fit could show off a great body but it always seems to me like part of the dance between the power men and women had in those eras.  No I might not be the one to ascend to the throne but I could with the right wardrobe and brain exert control from behind the scenes.  A visually appealing partner can get away with a lot more than one dressed like Cinderalla pre Fairy Godmother (not the Disney version--when was she ever looking a mess?).  I think it's the juxtaposition of the very delicate shape that is created by the corset or vintage clothing with the implied sexuality each of those things creates.  No one thinks of 1950s Marilyn without thinking of a blond bombshell.  But short of the clothing being kind of tight she was usually pretty covered up.  It loses something when the clothes are tight and you're exposed.  Yes you can get the same level of attention but the power definitely isn't yours because no effort had to be made in order to unwrap you and get a closer look. 

I felt the same way when I was watching the Crimson Petal and The White.  It's more Victorian classic wardrobe and was probably more overtly sexual in some fashions but still it was severe, tight fitting, and sexual not because of what was on display but what was highlighted.  Another era in which women were highly dependent on men for status and support but in which they could wield their own power based on the hint, tease, implication of their attire.  I have no problem with men having control provided they aren't blindly abusing it--kind of like now with the idiotic things coming out as a result of the upcoming election.  The exchange of power was much more understood and less messy than things are now.  A smart girl then could ascend and achieve a bit eventually.  A smart girl now gets lots of things checked off her list to accomplish but can struggle to find a partner who feels like he has any power to exchange as we already have what we need.  I think that's a load of crap but I can't play victim to save my life so I just don't get rescued.

I often feel like I'm a step or two out of place.  I'm almost always covered up even though it's impossible to hide my breasts or behind.  If you know where two of my tattoos are we know each other REALLY well lol.  It's sort of like missing the big reveal on the makeover shows.  If there's no build up I swear I don't remember jack squat about the folks.  You need emotion and desire to know what's coming in order for the reveal to be intriguing.  The last episode of the Tudors that I caught in the marathon was when Anne finally submits to Henry.  I can't say the scene was more intense because of the wait or just because Rhys Meyers is HOT but even when the dalliances weren't focused on Henry the men seemed to relish unwrapping the layers of goodies that were between them and their loved ones.  Could  totally be a daydream that I'm creating but I would love that kind of pursuit and not the just plain awful approaches that men come up with now.  And while I like some dresses and shorts on other people I truly hate feel like I'm hanging out or am about to cut off circulation and air flow to parts of my body because that just happens to be the style. 

When the Back to Basics cd came out I fell in love with it all over again because it brought retro looks beyond Dita--who does it fantastically well but seems like a kitsch novelty for most of mainstream America--and highlighted the ability to be soft and sexy without being half naked.  Even with the well fitted shorts there was still more left to the imagination than a lot of the shorts I've seen recently.  Now you'd probably never catch me in the shorts without having them specially made for my rather large behind lol but I'd love to be able to prance around in some of the clothing and maybe even a corset or two.  I need to get into better shape before I start adding vintage pieces to my wardrobe and even then I'm not sure where I'd be able to wear them.  While not inappropriate for work, truly vintage pieces just stand out and seem like you're a little off to most people.  I guess the rambling point I was shooting for is I'd love to live in that space that highlights sexuality without cheapening it, that has an idealized view of femininity without diminishing the inherent power that comes from being a woman that let's me be all girl (and girly) without surrendering my brain in the process.  But at best I'm 50 plus years too late for the last wave that really appealed to me.  And I am desperately afraid of what's coming next lol.  Ahh well, I'll always have The Tudors and Back to Basics.

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