Faking It

Here at IPF, Eastern Division things have been predictably, though still somehow unexpectedly, crazy and blogging has been the first thing to go as I navigate my 3-course term, my renewal application, various (pretend-because-they-suck) grant applications, book proposal-writing, student whingeing, cat retaliation and all other manner of stupidness that makes me have to hit the ground running after Labour Day, even though I’m slow and out of shape.  It’s the same every year but I seem to have a very short memory.

This is all by way of a lame apology for not commenting on your blogs (which I’ve been faithfully reading) and for not posting current outfits today. Rest assured, I wore outfits these last two weeks, and I will post about them, but not today. Obviously I am brimming with sage fashion advice for the academic professional–cf. here, here, and here–but today I bring you a Public Service Announcement about fake pregnancy and irony.

Observe:

Top: thrifted for me by KellyBean
Pants: Franco Mirabelli
Jacket: Old Navy
Flats: now defunct, bought in Paris 
Beer: Guinness, Rickard’s Red & Rickard’s Red
Event: Hallowe’en
Bar Award: Best Beer Belly

As you may know by now, I have the same haircut as Mia Farrow in Rosemary’s Baby, which makes Rosemary an obvious choice for me for Hallowe’en.  Of course, only the most savvy film buffs understood my clearly obvious homage (I considered wearing a nightgown, but there was a lot of drinking and dancing and I felt that pants would be wise, mostly to save me from myself) and people just thought I was actually pregnant and debauched.

So here’s a word to the wise as we begin Autumn with a full moon and start to consider our sartorial fantasies for that most excellent of hols Hallowe’en.  Even though it is a holiday that demands you dress as you aren’t, do not assume that everyone is going to a) understand how clever and ironic you are about your haircut and b) assume you are not actually pregnant.  Seriously.  All night as I busted move after move on the dance floor, and I’ve got moves, people would come up to me with genuine concern for the health of my pseudo-baby and with advice about not-drinking-while-pregnant.  Including the bartender, who is actually not allowed by law to refuse service to me if I’m pregnant.  After a while, I started to court this by holding a friend’s cigarette and his pint (pictured).  I got to be all smug and dismissive of the men at a gay dance club who thought they knew my uterus.


Still.  Our bodies and our clothing counts.  If I ever needed a lesson in that, this was it and this gives me renewed, in this time of institutional pressure, commitment to our style blog.  Except I haven’t had any time to do outfit photos.  Or laundry and ironing so I look nice in outfit photos for you.  So what you see is what you get, StyleNation.

Have there been instances where you’ve been reminded that your body, and its clothing, is part of the public domain?  
Do you handle it by holding a cigarette and raising your eyebrow at the naysayers? 

12 thoughts on “Faking It

  1. I think, Charlotte, that you are being too lovely and too generous. Those who queried me (and the question was, I think, exclusively from men) were not doing so because they were concerned for my health or my "child's"; they wanted me to know that they were judging me. No one showed any concern for why a woman might be so self-loathing or so desperate or so uninformed about her own health as to drink and smoke and go dancing when she was so hugely pregnant, nor were they willing to help such a woman. No one offered any help. No one even asked if I were feeling alright. They were demonstrating their own superiority over me because they had judged me and found me wanting but they were not concerned with anything other than voicing that to me. The thing is, there is no great risk in wrath from a stranger. Who cares if a stranger is mad at you? No one cared if I got mad at them, and mostly I just smiled and took a swig from my beer anyway because I considered it none of their business either way. What is risky, I think, is showing real concern for a friend when they are engaging in risky behaviour. Speaking up then is truly brave. Because the wrath you court comes from someone you care about and they may cut you out of their life if they don't want to hear you. I would hope that if I were pregnant and started smoking and drinking in excess that my friends would recognize this for what it is, dangerous and reckless behaviour that bespeaks difficulty or helplessness or hopelessness, and they would endeavour to help me. Judgement from a stranger in the form of a "talking to" is not any kind of support; it supports the stranger's need to pass judgement and be done with it. And anyway, it was Hallowe'en. I mean, what did people think I was dressed as if I really were pregnant? It's a couch cushion under there and it worked out much better than I thought it would. And yes, I really did win a Best Beer Belly because, obviously, I deserved it. Though I suspect the award was created for me.As a side note, I also attended a "chav" party when I lived in London as a preggo chavette and no one at the party, including people I did not know, ever told me I shouldn't be drinking. But the English are so polite.

  2. hilarious! I was Rosemary for halloween a few years back and it led to some awkward moments too- not least when a terribly annoying guy I knew turned up as the devil! (shudder) And there was a small argument in the kitchen when some guy lit up a cigarette in front of me! I cheerfully rapped on the hubcap over my belly to indicate there was nothing to worry about.Great styling!

  3. I've been wanting to dress up as a pregnant nun for Halloween for years, but haven't really gone to any Halloween parties in a while. I figured I'd get weird looks for pretending to be pregnant and a nun, but it hadn't occurred to me that people would think I was actually pregnant and, thus, shouldn't be drinking. How annoying. Next time, just don a wig and be pregnant Betty Draper. Then the drinking and smoking won't look out of place.Did you get an actual award for best beer belly?

  4. I think, Charlotte, that you are being too lovely and too generous. Those who queried me (and the question was, I think, exclusively from men) were not doing so because they were concerned for my health or my "child's"; they wanted me to know that they were judging me. No one showed any concern for why a woman might be so self-loathing or so desperate or so uninformed about her own health as to drink and smoke and go dancing when she was so hugely pregnant, nor were they willing to help such a woman. No one offered any help. No one even asked if I were feeling alright. They were demonstrating their own superiority over me because they had judged me and found me wanting but they were not concerned with anything other than voicing that to me. The thing is, there is no great risk in wrath from a stranger. Who cares if a stranger is mad at you? No one cared if I got mad at them, and mostly I just smiled and took a swig from my beer anyway because I considered it none of their business either way. What is risky, I think, is showing real concern for a friend when they are engaging in risky behaviour. Speaking up then is truly brave. Because the wrath you court comes from someone you care about and they may cut you out of their life if they don't want to hear you. I would hope that if I were pregnant and started smoking and drinking in excess that my friends would recognize this for what it is, dangerous and reckless behaviour that bespeaks difficulty or helplessness or hopelessness, and they would endeavour to help me. Judgement from a stranger in the form of a "talking to" is not any kind of support; it supports the stranger's need to pass judgement and be done with it. And anyway, it was Hallowe'en. I mean, what did people think I was dressed as if I really were pregnant? It's a couch cushion under there and it worked out much better than I thought it would. And yes, I really did win a Best Beer Belly because, obviously, I deserved it. Though I suspect the award was created for me.As a side note, I also attended a "chav" party when I lived in London as a preggo chavette and no one at the party, including people I did not know, ever told me I shouldn't be drinking. But the English are so polite.

  5. Anne–I wouldn't recommend the pregnant nun bit. I tried that years ago at the University of Montana and it prompted a photo and quite a debate in the university news.

  6. LOL! i like that you said you did not do laundry and ironing so you look nice in outfit photos for us! we all have to have motivation, don't we?!good luck with everything! love your Halloween picture with beer and a cigarette! You're hilariousness!!!

  7. I've been wanting to dress up as a pregnant nun for Halloween for years, but haven't really gone to any Halloween parties in a while. I figured I'd get weird looks for pretending to be pregnant and a nun, but it hadn't occurred to me that people would think I was actually pregnant and, thus, shouldn't be drinking. How annoying. Next time, just don a wig and be pregnant Betty Draper. Then the drinking and smoking won't look out of place.Did you get an actual award for best beer belly?

  8. Look at that Guinness on your faux belly! I love the peter pan collar and the fact that you have a perfect pregnant woman's stance. I don't know what it's like to be pregnant, although my friends have told me how crazy it that people want to touch you, but I do know a bit about what it's like for a body to be other people's business. I've had colleagues (former) and students (former and current) make comments about my weight and it's been really disconcerting. A weird double take where I have to make a quick calculation as to whether it's worth it to care. (Usually, I just get very awkward).

  9. hilarious! I was Rosemary for halloween a few years back and it led to some awkward moments too- not least when a terribly annoying guy I knew turned up as the devil! (shudder) And there was a small argument in the kitchen when some guy lit up a cigarette in front of me! I cheerfully rapped on the hubcap over my belly to indicate there was nothing to worry about.Great styling!

  10. You know you weren't pregnant, but they didn't know. I think their concern is actually kind of remarkable. It takes balls to tell a pregnant woman who's quaffing a cocktail that she's not being kind to her fetus, but they risked wrath to do so.It's like waiting for the person who leaves their dog in a parked car to come back so you can tell him or her that this practice can be dangerous (even fatal) to the dog. You know they're not going to be happy to see you and may be hostile. On the other hand, if the dog were to die, you'd never forgive yourself.Some people really don't know any better. And you look very convincingly pregnant. What have you got stuffed under there?

  11. I could go on and on (and on) about the ways in which a pregnant female body is deemed to be public property. I'll leave that rant aside and note that during the aforementioned Rosemary's Night Out, more than one person took me aside to ask if my friend was really pregnant. It was, as D-Med notes, both hilarious and upsetting.

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