Recently, I was posing for a photographer with my long-time friend Sarah Petrescu who was producing her last Fashion column for her newspaper before a year-long sabbatical. (I have a special place in my heart for Sarah as she knew me when I had a baby in my arms reading poetry on the Sunshine Coast many, many years ago and we bonded as writers then). I was flattered she asked but more so touched that I would be in her last fashion piece for a long while. When I arrived at Bernstein and Gold, likely my favourite store in Victoria, I of course fell instantly in love with their entire fall collection. But I was working, not shopping and had a few dresses to try on for the shoot; one was a gorgeous silk light-as-air dress in white with a little geometric pattern and two sexy little bows on the hip and shoulder and the other was a clingy, hip-hugging, very flattering Diane Von Furstenburg in deep burgundy. The women collectively decided that was ‘the one’. It felt fan-effing fabulous on and I desperately lusted after it as soon I wriggled into it’s tight little contours. Diane Von Furstenburg is a woman who designs for real women–professional women–and this dress would go the mile and a half on any business meeting followed by dinner and even a midnight tryst in a martini bar. It had legs.
When we arrived for the shoot, to my surprise, the other models looked like they had not yet graduated high school. A sort of panic started when I imagined our pictures side by side in the newspaper but then I looked down at the dress and went fuck it and played that Bif Naked song in my head, ‘I love myself today!’. While a few of the models were being shot, I stood and chatted with a young male model who my first words to were: ‘You need to go model for Abercrombie and Fitch‘. He said he doesn’t like to be photographed. I said, ‘Get over it’.
I seriously don’t understand when people are genetically given a lottery that they don’t see it. I don’t think I’ve seen such an attractive man in years. I counseled him on other brands he could easily work for with his particular looks, Calvin Klein, Ralph Lauren, Donna Karan. He had that all-American east coast look and in his fall sweater, with a high-collar, he looked like he should be heading to the Kennedy compound for the weekend.
It was a hot day and I was in a hot dress so I suggested to him we go do shooters of Tequila next door at the Mexican restaurant and then maybe some Corona’s? I was completely kidding, just horsing around, but, to my surprise he was game. (We did not drink on set, just for the record, though he was game for post-shoot cocktails). Now, here’s the thing all men above 30 that I can share with you: the reason there are ‘Cougars’ is, in a large part, because of our hormones, but more so it is because as a woman gets older, she gets more….to the point. She wants what she wants and doesn’t like to negotiate about it and younger men are, well, more game for the most part. I could be wrong–I’m open to anyone who wants to argue this point, because I have enough stories to fill a library on this subject.
This morning I was reading The Daily Love’s post by Mastin Kipp (who is a sexy enlightened beast), Vulnerability is Strength, and I was struck by this quote, because it describes what I am getting at much better than I am attempting to do:
“Instead of trying to change yourself to please others and then taking rejection as a sign that something is wrong with you, let’s step into our authentic power and allow ourselves to be ourselves with no apologies.”
Yes. Bravo. As I walked down Pandora towards the lens going click, click, click, with lines of cars idling beside me, windows open, I had a moment of oh god, this is really kind of embarassing, then my friend Sarah told me to wiggle my hips more and look to my right. I smiled, and as I did I met the eyes of more than a few drivers who smiled right back at me. In that moment, letting my hips do their thing, I guess I had stepped into my ‘authentic power…with no apologies’.
Post shoot note: Thanks Sarah for the experience. We’ll miss your daily writing for us here in YYJ, but I cannot wait to see what you’ll write from your journeys this year.