Yearly Update in Which I Ramble About Doctorates, Naked Mole Rats, and Penises as Counting Devices

I was just reading about how the colony of naked mole rats in DC have selected their new queen after an epic mole rat war (with five casualties). Whilst watching naked the live-feed mole rat cam (something you might want to very carefully google at work), I decided perhaps an update is in order.

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I’m now 34 and a half, and it’s a week before Christmas. I need to get the tattoo touched up and I’m planning another. I got the Subaru; Her name is Belle because I’d open the garage to look at her and say, “Hello, my beautiful” every day after getting her. I had many other great name options, and I admit it gives me some anxiety that people like thing I’m team Twilight given the generic name of my ride. That said, my first new car makes me feel like a real adult way more than the whole getting married, buying a house, finishing degrees, and pricing insurance options ever supplied. Mortgage? Meh, just fancy rent. Doctorate? Eh, fancy master’s degree. LEASING A NEW CAR? LOOK AT ME FLY! I AM AN ADULT BIRD ON THE WING, FULL OF FREEDOM, SMELLING OF NEW CAR! NEW CAR BIRD! LET’S MOVE SOME SOD IN MY GLORIOUS ADULT-MAKING VECHICLE! But, also make sure we vacuum it out after, yeah?

The new house now feels like we’ve lived here forever. We spent a year renovating which really involved a whole bunch of sanding, painting, and moving the epic ton of giant river rocks from out backyard to our front yard. You want rocks moved? I’m your gal! (Only if I can get Pastry to drive the wheelbarrow through the gravel as that gets hard for my puny t-rex arms.) The wiener dog only occasionally eats poop, and the old gentleman lab has been having many a dog-dream of recent. He’s also on this super expensive heart medicine at this point and has more specialist doctors than I do, but he’s still doing great. Pastry had a job he hated, got laid off, and then was rehired by the same company. It was an emotional rollercoaster of a week which happened to take place whilst we were visiting family in Arkansas so there was lots of drinking on a lake within the job purgatory time, but it worked out great in the end.

I graduated with my doctorate last May and just got around to framing my diplomas. It’s weird having people refer to me as a doctor, and I only insist on it very occasionally, mostly when old white men always get the default title treatment. Students, the one group that I sincerely do not care what they call me as long as they are learning something, almost always call me Dr. Lastname – It’s my own academic field and institution that is really aggravating with the title. “Good evening all, I have the distinct pleasure of introducing Dr. Penis-Haver, Dr. Penis-Holder, Dr. TwigNBerries…and Pepina.” Uh, that’s DR. VAGINA FOR THE WIN, thank you. “Dr. Phallus and Pepina, how did you approach this research question?” “It’s Dr. Lastname if we are going with labels…” (confused look) “Oh.” I recently presented on my research at a national conference, during which a man asked me, “Well, surely Dr. Dick-Recipient did all the quantitative analysis?” Well, sexist asshole, given that I have hard time even counting my pin money for my lady-like endeavors such as tampon-hat-making plus the analysis would have definitely required counting on my fingers AND toes, I surely had to rely upon the male academic to analyze those number things. Afterall, with a penis, you can count up to 21 due to the extra appendage involved! I’m fairly certain I said something to the affect of “Though my collaborator for this project is a clinical psychologist, you might note that the measures for this study are within a different field, the field in which I have a doctoral degree. Also, as my name is on the study and I am presenting on the research, it might be best to assume that the analysis was, you know, done by the woman in front of you.” He then asked to see all my syllabi, literature reviews, measures etc. to help his own project. You keep waitin’ for that email, sugar pie.

Many years ago prior to meeting my Pastry, while I was working as part of a team on a large research grant for a renowned research center, I went on a date as single ladies are wont to do when they are finding new ways to procrastinate during their degree programs. It didn’t start out well – My phone was stolen out of my bag on campus and I didn’t know where I was going so I had to run to my office, find the location, plot a course, all without being able to contact said date. All in all, I was about 15 minutes late. Not the end of the world, but I hate being tardy. My date was waiting for me at the bar, drinking a beer. He was slightly annoyed but understood when I explained the careening around a major city. Said date, post-bachelor’s degree in journalism, had quit his job to start a webpage detailing hiking trails. He asked me what I did…I explained my current project as a researcher as well as some of the other research projects I had on the horizon. HE THEN TOLD ME I WAS WRONG AND SPENT 10 MINUTES TELLING ME WHAT RESEARCH IS. He mansplained qualitative research to a qualitative researcher. I, being the sass I am, told him that I was going to order dinner and he was welcome to leave so I could dine in peace. THEN HE STAYED. And, thus, a hiking enthusiast watched me eat a steak and drink a Manhattan as I ignored him. He offered to walk me to my car. I declined lest he want to explain anything else to me on the way there. I think about this date a lot whenever I do not get the title treatment or I get asked who helped me in my own research. And, I do not have any solutions beyond a steak, a Manhattan, and a pithy comeback. It also makes me truly and deeply love that Pastry has never done things (and has secretly become a staunch feminist in his old, centrist-yet-registered Republican ways).

So, in summary as this is not what I thought I’d be writing about for this yearly update, I want all lady researchers to channel their inner naked mole rat queen and their quest for world domination. You suppress those gendered explanations and take control of your complex system. Live extra long and prosper. And, if questioned, that’s Dr. Queen Mole Rat.

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Post-Nuptial Adventures…Or, how we’ve been married for over a year and are still as crazy (in love) as ever.

So, uh, it’s been over a year!

I’m now 33, I got a new tattoo, I’m still considering a Subaru. We bought a new house. The wiener dog still eats shit, and probably still thinks I’m too old to be wearing flower crowns. Pastry’s engagement ring, Edison, met a watery, very drunken, very nude death on our honeymoon in Jamaica after Pastry did a Bob Marley shot at the pool bar and beelined to the nude beach. (Please also note, it was no longer a nude beach after 5pm, and my very pale, naked husband ran past a whole group of very confused Jamaican fishermen.) In other news, I’ve taken Cookie Monster’s advice to heart, and Triscuits are now a “sometimes food.” I’ve recently been flirting with summertime’s smelly pee experiment as I keep eating grilled asparagus for dinner. I am a joy to be around. Bridal Magazine Carla is also married at this point after a very epic Mexican-American and Russian wedding featuring opening champagne with a SABER and a mariachi band! I’m ABD in my dissertation pursuits, and about a year from finishing. I told Pastry that should I ever consider another degree, certificate, minor, program, class anything, just slap me and yell “REMEMBER ALL THAT TIME YOU LOST WRITING SNARKY BLOG POSTS BECAUSE YOU WERE TRYING TO CHANGE THE WORLD!”

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WHAM! BAM! POW! DR. PEPINA, NO MORE DEGREES!

I study and teach courses on failure, so hey, forgotten blog. You’re not a failure – you were just put aside for, oh, 14 months. (Horrifying moment of consideration that we could have a TODDLER at this point. I’m still working on the whole keeping houseplants alive business.)

Oh yeah. And, our wedding was AWESOME.

Me: “How would you describe our wedding?”

Pastry: “Uhhhhh…A whimsical explosion of color and sound. The vows were my favorite part because it was what we were there for.”

Me: EYEBROWS OF DEATH.

Pastry: “Well, they were the vows we said to each other in front of our friends and family. I could write entire blog posts, and I might now, about the wedding itself. But, putting me on the spot.”

Me: EYEBROWS OF UNDERSTANDING.

First point: Can an explosion really be whimsical? Would it have to be filmed by Wes Anderson in that case? And, because of that, would said explosion both be  super annoying and also have a great soundtrack with a pleasing ka-boom of a retro color palette? Wes Anderson themed weddings, turns out, are a thing.

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This was not our wedding.

Pastry: “What do you want to drink with dinner?”

Me: “I think I’ll fuel the asparagus project and have some water.”

Pastry: “I’m having white wine.”

Me: “I WANT WHITE WINE.”

Pastry: “No. Only water for you.”

Me: EYEBROWS OF SADNESS. (He pours me a glass of wine.)

Not much has changed. But, we still go on lots of adventures, and have lots of tales to tell such as how Gary, the inflatable pink dinosaur at our wedding, was the real star of the whole weekend, took pictures with another wedding party, and pretty much generally stole the show. How unexpected family members rocked out at karaoke. How the rehearsal dinner ended up being exceedingly tame, and how herding groomsmen is, in fact, worse than herding cats, especially when they are very stoned cats in my mom’s hotel room. How I found a white feather that had so much meaning to me. How there was a mystery of a broken wine bottle that we figured out a year later. How we share our pie and talk about how amazing the whole crazy, dinosaur, purple LED lighted, fiesta, succulent, insanity of our wedding was perfect.

But, now for white wine with my Pastry.

EYEBROWS OF HAPPINESS.

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An Ode to Thirty-Two

Today I am 32.

I’m a real adult! Well, sort of…Thirty-two feels like full on adult imposter, a knock-off of real responsibility yet with glorious things like taxes, mandatory retirement savings, and buying sensible shoes for work. I’m considering a practical Subaru for my next car, but I’m also considering a new tattoo. It’s all a balance of reliability and poor decision making really.

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If you liked mandatory retirement savings as required by your job, you’ll really like the new aggressive investment options open to you!  The scent of ROTH, Eau d’IRA.

I haven’t gotten into any of the real adulty stuff yet, babies, mortgages directly attached to my name, marriage (though that will change in approximately 43 more days), houseplants that live longer than a year. I melted succulents last year as I forgot to water them and shelter them from the cruel, cruel desert sun. They became piles of melted brown leaves with significant black char on the ends of each leaf. It was sad. I have, however, managed to keep the rescue mutt, Pepe the Doxiepin of glory, alive for almost two years…though he does eat a lot of our other dog’s poop and subsequently gets his teeth brushed quite frequently.

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This is the face of a shit-eater. Do not trust his happy licks and wiggles or his heroic pose in front of a Batman poster. He is not Batman. And, he will happily clean up the backyard of all leavings. 

Today, I woke up before my alarm at 7:00am and put on a little too much eyeliner to celebrate the day, carefully selecting a dress I purchased when I was 24 for the day of THIRTY TWO. I could be all, “Oh yes, I still fit into the same size as I did in my early twenties, la de da, I am so fancy!” But, it’s a sensible black wrap dress and I’ve worn the same size, uh, probably since I was 14. It’s been two decades of the same penchant for jersey dresses with a little bit of stretch, fancy sandals, too much eyeliner, and a statement necklace that looks like armor, though my body has rearranged itself in numerous different and sometimes interesting ways (here’s to you, stomach paunch of the 30s!).

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Do you like my cute little black dress? I think it’s so flexible, wear to work or out for the evening! Good for any occasion, a cougar prom, a coven meeting, a Russian bride meet-up, etc. 

Half my life ago on my 16th birthday, I celebrated with my mom, her best friend Ginny, and Ginny’s two daughters/best friends/essentially my sisters by going out for Indian food and painting pottery at one of those places usually found near a movie theater and mid-range cafes. As a holdover from our even younger days, Robin and I ordered around Lisa, the youngest of us all, and had her fetch us paint colors are we painted heinously ugly objects. I believe I painted a claw-footed bathtub (about the size of Pepe) in a mottled blue color…for it to sit unused for a decade because really what is one to do with a foot long bathtub to then be donated to Goodwill in my mid-twenties. Fast forward to now, and this event actually sounds exactly my speed as I am still a fan of naan, overpriced ceramics, friendship, and being bossy. These ladies are also in my wedding party in a few weeks so perhaps we can revisit the whole shebang — This time in yoga pants and with wine because those 30s cliches are so real. I make no promises about ordering Lisa around though…

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Minus the single part, it’s so true. Except my version tends more bourbon, chicken wings, and stretchy jeans. Also, if I have to yell to be heard in a bar, I’d rather just leave to go home and sit with my love, the normal big dog, and the small poop-eater while watching HGTV.

 

For celebrating another year of the early thirties, my mom and I went on an adventure of sensible work-shoe buying, wedding jewelry shopping for her ensemble, wedding dress altering and accessorizing, and fancy, fancy restaurant dining yesterday to ring in the olde 32. Pastry, like a Cylon, has a plan for Sunday involving the symphony and crab legs. I also went out to lunch with a friend to talk over spicy Thai noodles about life, loves, and weird ex-boyfriends. Due to Pastry’s crazy work schedule, I’m thinking about an evening of bourbon, chicken wings, and Star Wars with the hounds, normal and poop-eating. Maybe I’ll transfer some money around in a few accounts to truly feel like an adult, maybe I’ll plan a giant mermaid tattoo for my thigh. You know, a balance of responsibility and bizarreness.

 

Pastry Post: The Lead Weights of the Suit Industry

It’s been a little while since I made my first post about suits, and I decided I would have a follow-up for that one in regards to the experience of trying to find my sartorial glory prior to posting the update to my previous post.

But before I begin, I’d like to talk a little bit about power supplies.

Stay with me. I used to work for a computer manufacturer, and one day, we were meeting with a new chassis manufacturer that would, in theory, provide us with our computer cases and the internal power supplies to go with them.

Now power supplies were (and are) an oft-overlooked piece of hardware when spec’ing out a computer build. One that can provide a steady stream of power while absorbing the occasional power spike can save your expensive investment from an early, smelly, death.

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“If ONLY they had spent an extra $20!”

Now it used to be (and I may be accidentally aging myself here), you could tell the quality of a power supply by how heavy it was. The heavier it was, the more capacitors, resistors, and other groovy electrical components were built in to it and it could signify a good buy.

It didn’t take the cheap, crap manufacturers long to figure this out, as evidenced by our first meeting with one of these said manufacturers.

“How much do you want the power supplies to weigh?” they asked, as if it were an obvious question. We were perplexed, because a power supply’s weight shouldn’t really be variable. It should weigh whatever it weighs.

Turns out, this manufacturer would add weights to the power supply in order to make it heavier than it originally would be, thus giving the impression of quality. We didn’t buy from them.

But as I’ve noticed, items that give the APPEARANCE of quality are rife in the custom clothing industry. And things like functional sleeve buttons are the lead weights of the fashion industry.

When Cucumber and I were suit shopping, we dropped in to a suit store in which you’ve probably heard of. It didn’t take too long to figure out that the off-the-rack section wasn’t going to work for me (as I have mentioned, off-the-rack suits and I just don’t get along), but they had a section in which you could have custom clothing made for you. Not that it was bespoke, just that it was a brick-and-mortar form of made-to-measure. Not a bad thing, as long as you accept what it is.

But the sales rep was desperate to make a sale.

The sales rep that we had talked to was a nice enough guy, but it was pretty obvious that his commission went up drastically when custom clothing was ordered, as he was fairly well pushing us that direction from the moment we walked into the store. Can’t say I blame the guy, but the tactics in which he tried to push us towards custom were just kinda slimy.

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You want a suit? I gotcha suit. Full’a canvas! N’stitching!

N‘Buttholes, aye..aye.. mean button holes!

One of the tactics he used, was in talking about how obviously high-quality the made-to-measure suits were, because they employed the use of pick-stitching in construction. Pick-stitching is (anymore) entirely decorative. It used to be that you only saw it on really high-end clothing. But like our friends who add weights to power supplies, the pick-stitch was quickly adopted by low-cost manufacturers as a way of bringing the appearance of quality to cheaper clothing.

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A stitch in time may save nine, but it ain’t fooling anyone into thinking your suit cost more than it did.

The other item he mentioned: functional button holes. I am not a fan of them. Why? Because I’m not convinced of the utility of buttons on suit sleeves in the first place. There’s some debate about the origin of buttons on suit sleeves. The most obvious (and likely correct) source of buttons on the sleeves are a vestigial form that came from the ability to adjust the garment to better suit the wearer whether it be from the owner gaining or losing weight, or simply because it’s hot or cold.

The other origin story of suit buttons involves snot, and is therefore my preferred version. The story goes that Napoleon (or Alexander the Great, or Admiral Nelson, or Wellington, or whatever historical figure you like) repeatedly saw his men wipe their noses on the section of sleeve in which we now see button holes. So disgusted was he by the lack of professionalism, that he had his men sew buttons onto that spot, making it painful to wipe one’s nose.

Now I don’t know about you, but my nose isn’t such that it can only be wiped on one small section of sleeve. Thus, like at Waterloo, Napoleon’s efforts would be for naught.

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“Napoleon (with stereotypical French accent): Ah hah! There is no WAY they will THINK of wiping their noses somewhere else! Now, let’s go invade Russia! There’s plenty of time before winter!”

Functional button-holes on suits, nowadays, are just another attempt at indicating quality. They don’t really offer any real adjustment – buttoning them all doesn’t reduce the size of the sleeve, and unbuttoning them just makes the sleeve split. In short, it looks awful. Worse yet, it’s advised that when you have functional sleeves, you leave 1-2 unbuttoned so that one can tell it was “custom made” (laa dee dah).

Here’s the thing I don’t like about all of this stuff – it’s an attempt to make it seem like your clothing is something that it is not. It’s an attempt to make your suit look fully bespoke (i.e. patterns made specifically for you, fully canvased, etc), and sold for a much higher price than it actually is. After having it tailored to me (which will be discussed in a future post), it looks really great. It fits well, and it will totally serve the purpose for which it is intended, at a price that was acceptable to me.

Adding pick-stitching, functional button holes, and whatever other flair you want is, to me, the same as buying a “Limited Edition” badge, and sticking it on your car.

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It might be time to discuss just what exactly is “limited” on your car.

The irony of all of this? On my new suit that I ordered made for me (despite the fact that I didn’t order it this way), it came with functional button holes.

That Time Pastry Gave Me a Pep Talk (Yet Again)

I’ve been a bit of an anxious pill of recent. I’ve been having anxiety dreams every night around my job, my doctorate, losing our dogs, Pastry not sharing his pie with me.

We had this conversation a while ago in the wee hours of the morning:

“Pastry! Pastry, wake up.” 

“Grrruuummmblrgh, wha?”

“I had a really bad dream and it made me cry…”

“Shwaaaaa? Ssssyou’okay?”

“Yeah. But it made me really, really, really sad.” 

“Wha happen?”

“You wouldn’t share your pie with me.”

“What?” (Alertness achieved.)

“Your pie. We were eating pie together and I asked you for a bite. And, you said no. And IT DESTROYED MY ENTIRE WORLD AND I WAS SO SAD AND I HYSTERICALLY SOBBED AND WOKE UP CRYING.” 

“But, I would always share my pie with you.” 

“I know.” (Sniffles)

“Because I love you.” 

“I love you, too.” (Snort cry) “And, I will always share my pie with you, too.” 

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The Pastry, he knows what to say to calm down his crying fiancee in the middle of the night after a sad pie dream. He’s also just given me another excellent pep talk around all the wedding shenanigans, but we’ll get to that later.

Last summer, we went to the Bridal Expo (as detailed in  The Bridal Expo: We Laughed, We Played Bridal Bingo, We Tasted Terrible Cake). I signed up for a free Bride magazine ’cause why not have a glossy and pastel advertisement for all things wedding directly delivered to your neighborhood mailbox that you forget to check but every two weeks? I would say I waited for its arrival, but I completely forgot about it until my first issue arrived last week.

The cover is a skinny, gently spray-tanned blonde in a delicate white dress (of which the cups are slightly ever so aggressively cupping her non-boobs in a spritz of organza), holding some loosely assembled flowers in a attempt to look like she just casually gathered them from her classic French garden near the ocean bluffs. Her neck is like a Photoshopped swan, elongated and devoid of creases while adjusted for exposure and tone. Her bushy brows have definitely been seeing her brow specialist according to her bridal beauty six month prep list.

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Inside there are hundreds of pages of slender, slightly tan, usually blonde sprites in ethereal gowns with delicate details, slouching delicately on a chaise or grassy knoll no belly rolls to be seen. (To be fair, there are also lots of advertisements featuring puppies, of which I am a fan, and a editorial on Janet Mock’s wedding, of whom I am also a fan, so it’s not all horrible). Flipping through the magazine, I was disheartened. I am loud and fairly fat with bright red hair, freckles, and cleavage that necessitated ordering my bridal gown in a size 20 in order to not squish my built-in flotation devices. I have arm creases (something no one ever has in magazines; see above), neck wrinkles, and persistent hormonal pimples on my chin, moving from side to side every month depending on which ovary would like to mock my skin care regimen.

All the featured weddings in the magazine were pastel, delicate, blush and champagne in a celebration of adulthood’s love. These were adult people pledging their commitments (and perhaps eventual financial ruin considering the cost of eight tier cakes) to each other in appropriate ADULT FASHIONS. And, it made me ponder our wedding, a shindig that my mom pointed out is a perfect combination of my first and grade birthday parties (dinosaurs with an awesome volcano cake to be followed the next year by a Hawaiian themed luau with hot dogs and pineapple on skewers along with giant paper flower construction).

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My first grade birthday party cake looked almost exactly like this one and I still remember it ever so fondly. 

I began to question the purchase of foam dinosaur masks for our photo booth, and thus soon spiraled into a judgey, insecure cloud of wedding anxiety .

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Internal monologue: “Will people judge us? What if they think this is silly or dumb or childish? But, who wouldn’t want to be a triceratops in a fancy suit or gown? I mean, I would…But, maybe not. This is dumb. But, I really want a picture of my friend Brian who is almost 7′ feet tall and Pastry’s conservative mom wearing dinosaur masks…”

Then we got our engagement photos back. And, all I could see was arm creases, chin pimples, and bra back fat in my bright purple gown, unruly red hair blowing in the desert wind. And, I know Pastry only saw his own perceived flaws when he saw the pictures as I’m fairly certain most wedding photographers forget about the groom as a person and use them more as a prop, leading to some bizarrely awkward Pastry poses as directed by our paid paparazzi. I’ve also learned that anytime we are directed to touch noses, we should just glare at the camera in our best emo couple look as it will certainly result in a better photo. NO NOSE TOUCHING PHOTOS. NO. There were…some really bad and awkward photos of us both. It was not heartening.

Meanwhile in overall nuptial planning, Pastry has been on a one-man endeavor to get submersible LED ice cubes for the wedding reception. The Pastry loves all things tech and LED with a passion (as in he has a lot to say about the color range of certain LED bulbs over others), and the ice cubes make him very happy. I fully admit these are not my thing. And, queue epic wedding judgement…

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Cubes in question.

Pastry ordered a bunch in a ton of colors so we could decide what might work the best. And, I was less than enthusiastic while he danced about excitedly with his flashing cubes of freezable gel. He put them in drinks for my mom and I while we were constructing a giant flagging tape curtain (a story to itself). My response was “meh.” He brought them out on the town for St. Patrick’s Day much to the great fascination of drunk people. I didn’t say anything, my silence speaking for my now verging on rude response to the light cubes. I said something akin to “well, I guess we could do yellow and orange cubes…You know, keeping it in line with the color palette of the reception space as I want to keep it only in warm tones…” (Please read that again with a snotty affect.) Pastry asked me to rate how against I was the cubes on a scale from 1-5 and how I felt about including his favorite color of purple, five being “if you do it, there will never again be any roasted carrot salad (favorite recipe ever) ever again.” I said a 3.

Here is me waxing poetic about including purple light cubes. Note this is only about the inclusion of purple as a choice, nothing else.

“I’m afraid that too many colors will take our already on the verge of a kid’s birthday party-esque wedding reception with it’s crazy colors, dinosaurs, ribbon curtains, karaoke, and giant dinosaur over into a fully tacky rave. I’m trying to keep the color palette limited. Adding purple will make it look like a Laker’s dance party in Vegas. I want this whole thing to be fun and colorful, but also really classy and carefully curated, and finding the balance of including a giant dinosaur and purple light cubes is hard…” 

Oh, the snobbery. As if I hadn’t been happily ordering dinosaur masks, colorful fans, making fifteen foot long curtains out of bright pink ribbon. The purple light cubes, they so obviously were the ONE thing that was going to take this over the line. (Uh, not really…That may be the 7′ dinosaur cut-out, ten foot tall tree, or uh, the gigantic dress I’m wearing…)

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I’m the owl on the left. Pastry, right owl, is just trying to be nice.

 

So, Pastry sent me this today.

“So, I had a thought about how worried you are about the wedding and the fear that it will all be silly…

And my thought is: fuck it. 

The day is about you and I, inviting our friends to enjoy the celebration of the union of two very silly people. If someone has a problem with the way in which we choose to celebrate? That’s their problem. Because, honestly, who wouldn’t want to attend a free party with free booze, dancing, music, and photo booths with dinosaurs? Eliminating the bagagge that it being a ‘wedding’ carries, what would your reaction be to being invited to said party? You would totally be like ‘BEST. FUCKING. PARTY. EVER.’

Just keep focused on the fact that this shindig is basically us in party form. And, that everyone coming loves us and will enjoy everything that is there. Because if you’re worried what someone might think about dinosaur masks [and purple light cubes], the thought they are going to have is ‘of course there are dinosaur masks.’ Trying to hold an ultra classy affair with people discussing the better part of trade negotiation while they lament the color scheme of the room is not us.

And, additionally, my thinking is that I wouldn’t care if someone didn’t like the dinosaurs or the purple cubes — We’re both going to love them.” 

And, then he drove over to pick me up for lunch and took me to eat fish tacos in the sun. And, we had a discussion about the German pop band Dschinghis Khan, their epic dance moves, and its applicability to our first wedding dance. (Also, how the guy in the blue looks like the love child of Yul Brynner and a Vulcan princess.)

 

I am very lucky. And, he is very right. The expectations, guidelines, and overall weddingness of weddings got to me.

So, I looked at our engagement photos again with a new viewpoint. In the less staged pictured (see NO NOSE TOUCHING guidelines), I can now see us. I can see how Pastry looks at me with his eyebrows raised in jest, how he holds my hand naturally in promise, and how I look at him like he’s going to share his pie with me forever. It took us both a little bit to become okay with the flaws, the bad angles, the chin pimples, and all. And, now all I see is love and a future of purple light cubes, dinosaur masks, and pie with two forks.

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A Pastry Post: Sartorial Suit Adventures

Pastry’s Quest for the Perfect Suit: A Guest Blog by Pastry

When Cucumber and I started our process of planning a wedding, we decided that, rather than a tuxedo, I would wear a suit. I own one already, and (because I am pretty cheap) had hoped that I might be able to skip the expense of one, and wear what I had. So with this in mind, I took it into my tailor, hoping that some minor modifications would make the suit fit me like a glove and look god-like. This was my first reality-check when it came to me and suits. Because in his (very brusque, VERY funny) way, my tailor informed me that my suit was off-the-rack and off-the-rack suits are not for me. Why?

  1. Off-the-rack suits simply look AWFUL on me. I have a very short rise in my pants (queue rimshot). Because of the way that pants sit on my waist, off-the-rack suit pants tend to sit very low and make it look like I have an obsession with an early ‘90s Hip-Hop legend.

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“A sartorial god amongst men? A role-model for today’s fashion-challenged youth? Or a victim of bad tailoring?”

Often times, an off-the-rack jacket will look fine on me, but the pants will need so much work, I might as well go custom. Additionally, in the case of suit-separates, they CAN work really well, in-theory. Calvin Klein pants in their slimmer fits (paradoxically) tend to look pretty damn good on me. Their jackets, however, are a problem, because…

  1.   If anyone were to describe me, “small” is not an adjective that would be chosen. I’m convinced that in a parallel world, I made a pretty solid defensive football player. I played for a bit as a kid, but a unfortunate formation of my ankles that made running extremely difficult and football practice miserable (I was strong as a bear, so I worked well on the line, but during practice I was consistently at the very end of the distance running game).

Plus, who wants to play football outside in the Arizona heat when there’s Nintendo games to be played?

But ultimately, while this shape may have really benefited me on the grid-iron, when it comes to fashion choices…not so much.

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“Do you have anything in a lightweight wool, preferably in a dark-gray sharkskin weave? And the pants should be flattering to the trailer.”

Adulthood left me with a suit-jacket size of 50R but pants in the 36” waist range. Finding a suit that accommodated these factors was NOT going to be easy.

So knowing that I wouldn’t just be able to use my currently owned-suit meant that I would need to purchase a new one. And I now knew that I couldn’t just run down to the local Saks Off-Fifth and pick up a nifty two-piece. Something custom was in order.

Now, most tailors will do custom clothing (or know someone who will), and my tailor was no exception. When I started to inquire about his custom suitmaking practice, however, he shut me down pretty quickly. “I’m not the guy to make your suit,” he told me, in his densely Italian manner. A flash of irritation crossed my mind for a brief second (thinking he was somehow judging me unworthy of his talents), before he followed-up by saying, “my suits start at around $8000.”

Remember that I’m cheap. So imagine what my reaction must have been to that lovely piece of news – that my wedding attire would be many times the price of Cucumber’s wedding dress. We do tend to challenge gender roles, but this wasn’t a statement I was desperate to make.

Fortunately, Phil (my tailor) is nothing if not helpful. He told me to look into online made-to-measure clothing. I had looked into this a while ago, but had found (through reviews) that when they arrived, they were usually non-customized separates that were picked off-the-shelf as close to the measurements as possible and just shipped.

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Man wearing oversized suit — Image by © CJ Burton/Corbis

Oh yeah. It’s fully custom. Isn’t it obvious this was made just for me?

Phil, however, informed me that online made-to-measure had improved dramatically over the past few years. Apparently suits can arrive on one’s doorstep, with a nearly perfect fit. And if any tailoring is required, the suit-makers will often include a tailoring budget to allow for some small alterations.

With this all in mind, I ordered a suit from www.blacklapel.com. With my obsessive nature at researching all options before ordering, they fit my desire to provide as many customized options as possible, while maintaining the price point that I wanted to hit.

After ordering, they informed me that because of the Chinese New Year, they were running behind schedule and wouldn’t ship for 8-10 weeks. However, when I happened to check it this morning, their website informed me that my suit had already shipped. By coincidence, Cucumber informed me that I had a package waiting for me at home, and that it appeared my suit had been compressed to the rough density of a black hole prior to shipping.

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“Sure, it distorts time and space. But the fabric of reality drapes off the shoulders extremely well.”

I don’t know if I should be delighted or scared about my suit arriving 6 weeks earlier than expected. We’ll see soon I suppose…

First Truly Important Wedding Purchase

In terms of wedding purchase excitement, this item is perhaps the thing about which I am most pleased. Presenting, a key wedding item in the form of a 73″ wide and 70″ tall Giganotoasaurus stand-up cutout for our reception photo booth. IT IS GLORIOUS. And, was reasonably priced as a mere $39.95 on Amazon. I AM SO EXCITED.

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