I just wanna look good for WHO?: Dressing, dining, and dating as a feminist

My boss lady friend Ariel wrote a great post about “That stupid Selena Gomez song and second wave feminism.” Just from that title in quotations, you probably know the song I’m talking about. I sure did…

So the gist of Ariel’s post was a conversation that ensued between her and her husband about whether or not that song is gross. I laughed, because I had that exact same conversation, except it was just with myself in the car the other day…

“WHAT!? You want to look good for WHO!? Naw girl, that’s awful. Look good for YOU.”

“Oh, but Megan, did you not just wear a skin-tight dress out to dinner the other night in front of a bunch of strangers because your man thinks you look amazing in it?”

“Yeah… shit. I did, huh? That was both fun and weird. Does that make me a bad feminist?”

“It makes you a fun partner.”

“But does it make me a bad feminist?”

“Maybe.”

“See! I want to make choices for myself not for him.”

“But you made that choice for yourself to make that choice for him.”

“I’m confused.”

“Me too.”

“Just enjoy the music.”

This has been a kind of over-arching theme that I’m self-conversing about a lot lately. There are a lot of times that I have questioned my choices and have questioned the concept of choice itself — What is and isn’t my choice? Am I giving myself a choice? Do I even like my choice? — while dating.

For example, my boyfriend happens to be really passionate about restaurants, and he loves dining out. It happens to be one of my most favorite things to do as well. So there, that’s good. I’m doing something with him that I love to do as well, all is fine. Nothing to worry over here.

EXCEPT! Imagine you’re me: A girl who spent the last 10 years with a partner who didn’t like to go to new restaurants and flat-out didn’t like fine dining options, relegated to restaurants where we knew there’d be a “hamburger” or “pepperoni pizza” options. And you’re now you’re newly single and on a date at a new and super-trendy Mexican restaurant with a guy you really really like. (“Yes! Mexican food,” you think. “I’ve got this.”) Then you are handed a menu that feels more like a yearbook, and the first thing you set your eyes on is this:

Queso Fundido
melted asadero, oaxacan and panela cheeses over roasted pasilla chiles with sautéed cremini and chanterelle mushrooms, fire roasted tomato salsa, avocado tomatillo sauce and house-made flour tortillas

So you think, “No worries, I’ll just order a simple taco. That should be easy.” And instead of “steak, chicken, or fish,” you get hit with choices like, “Crispy Sea Bass, Chipotle Tofu Lettuce Wrap, or Cochinita Pibil.”

I had climbed out the burger and pizza frying pan and into the boutique, shared-plate format, “Barrio Style Fine Dining” fire, with an emphasis on organic as well as a full vegan menu with gluten-free options. After a 10 year dearth of interesting culinary experience, menus are very different and confusing to me now. I was instantly overwhelmed and panicky.

So I started to do this thing where I just let my boyfriend order. Like… every time. What started out as an “anxiety hack” on that second date (“I’m feeling overwhelmed, why don’t you just order”), is now just a relationship default. What we eat is about 90% his choice — the 10% that is mine is stipulating “no bacon, nothing cooked ‘rare,’ and not too spicy.”

In a pre-boyfriend world, I was eating frozen burritos. This is what my culinary world looks like now that he’s ordering the meals.

 

The thing is, while our meals are 90% his choice, I’m 100% happy with this arrangement. I, in fact, fucking LOVE this arrangement. I love sitting down, and glancing at the mostly-Greek-to-me menu for fun, but knowing full well that I don’t have to worry about it. Mike is good at food, he knows a lot of shit, he knows what I might like and what I definitely don’t want, and, beyond that, I’m finding it super-sexy to have my partner just take control of the situation.

Er… does that make me a bad feminist? Does that make me a submissive partner? Do I look weak? Are servers going back into the kitchen and being all, “you should have seen this bitch just sitting there why her boyfriend just decided everything they were going to eat. Naw girl, that’s awful. You should order for YOU.” Honestly, I don’t know. And I wish I could say that I don’t care. But clearly I do. I definitely can’t shake some of this second-wave feminist guilt.

While confronting these issues at the beginning of my (albeit short-lived) dating career, I felt the existential angst rising up, and threatening to quickly overtake me in a tsunami of questions: What should/will/or do I wear now when I go out as a single person? Would I want or need to change the style my hair to make me seem more approachable? I was getting bored with it before I became single, but would changing it now look like I was changing it for someone else? Is this all in the quest to make myself attractive in order to find a new parter, or do I want to do be doing this for myself too? Am I eating this because I want to, or because he wants me to? I mean, sure I wouldn’t have ordered this, but I like it. Does that make me look like I don’t know what I want in life? Is this what dating is like? Is this going to be forever? I’m confused now. Can’t I just enjoy the music???

Through all these conversations with myself, I’m realizing that it’s totally possible to want to look good, or enjoy something for your partner and for yourself AT THE SAME TIME. I like to think of that tight dress I wore “to look good for him” as an analogy for (my type of) dating as a feminist…

rocking my sexy chainmail dress on a date

Yes, I wore a skin-tight dress that felt very “not me” to wear. I was uncomfortable with the fact that I was inviting the general male gaze. But I didn’t let that ruin the fact that I was actively inviting and delighting the one male gaze that I desired. While, at the same time, I made damn sure that my “sexy” dress was in a very kick-ass, geek-chic, chainmail fabric, that both represented and made me feel like the bad-ass bitch that I know I am.

From casual to hot date, comfortable shoes you can walk in all day long

Let’s talk about the most comfortable shoes I own…

I like to walk. According to my FitBit, I walk about 11k steps a day. Which means I always like to wear comfortable shoes… even when I’m dressed up. This is my roundup of my comfortable shoes, from casual to hot dinner date, that you can walk in all day long.

Casual

If I had to pick ONE thing to wear on my feet for the rest of eternity, it would be a pair of single layer Men’s Rainbow sandals. (Although my Rainbow tan on my feet would probably argue that I’ve already made that choice years ago.) I have these in grey, tan, and a really pretty dark pink that they don’t make anymore.

Click here to read everything you need to know about these amazing boots. The tl;dr of it: I live in these. You should too (but not to the same event though, okay?).

Much like my Rainbow sandals, Chuck Taylors have been a shoe staple for me since the ’90s. I can’t even remember how many pairs I’ve burned through, but right I have a pair of these in black and purple.

Dressy

Vagabond Grace Lace-Up Boot

Vagabond Grace Lace-Up Boot from Urban Outfitters

You might recognize these boots from this post. Would you believe I walk miles and miles in these babies all the time? This is my go-to shoe for a dinner date followed by a long late night stroll. Sexy and comfy.

Black Milk’s I Eat Mice shoes from Solestruck.

These were a birthday present to myself. I debated getting the kitty cat print ones, but I figured this cool snake skin pattern can be both dressed up and down. I also spent three hours in these while alternately standing in line in a courthouse and walking back and forth and up and down in said courthouse. I’m thinking of getting ALL styles of these bad girls.


You guys should stop reading this and buy these sandals right now, because they’re on sale for $5 and they’re STUPID AWESOME!

Your turn!

Please help me, and help everyone reading this, by leaving YOUR suggestions for the most comfortable shoes EVAR in the comments.

My birthday: The Jesus Year and the year of the brat

Today I turned 34.

Me on the morning of my 34th birthday.

Last night, on my last night of being 33, a friend asked me if the past year was, indeed, a “Jesus year” for me.

My favorite definition of the term “Jesus year” comes (of course) from Urban Dictionary:

“The 33rd year of your life where you are reborn in some sense. Perhaps a mid-life crisis, perhaps an ego death, perhaps the year where you abandon old ways and start new …. or perhaps you were affixed to a cross and came out the other side a spiritual figure that historians, theologians, worshipers and dissenters make the subject of many a conversation.”

My response: Well, let’s see… this last year only my WHOLE ENTIRE LIFE changed.

By the time my 33rd year would end, most of the things I had used to define myself were stripped away: My 10 year relationship with that guy I married would be over, I would no longer be a doggy mommy, I’d be eating foods I swore off or swore I’d never eat, I’d be making dental appointments!!! Oh, and I’d also be in a new relationship (more on that later).

I had in a way definitely been reborn on my 33rd year. Some of this change was forced upon me, some of it was by choice, but all of it was exactly what I needed, and I couldn’t be happier heading into my next year of living on this planet.

Now I’m starting my 34th year with nothing but optimism and excitement. It’s no wonder that today has already been one of the best birthdays I’ve had in years, and it isn’t even over yet.

So far I’ve… Read More

What’s a TV geek without TV?: My experiment with not having cable

In my apartment reboot, one of the things that ate shit was my Dish TV. (Long story that involved not being able to close doors anymore due to my new floors being thicker than shitty apartment carpet.)

I was all too hasty in canceling my Dish subscription (sorry to the four people I left stranded without an HBOGO login on the night of the Game of Thrones finale!). My plan was to get ATT Uverse, but… turns out, the website lied, and Uverse isn’t available in my ‘hood (despite it being available 1 mile away!?). They can offer me DirecTV — but I’m not willing to sign a two year contract, because I’m not willing to admit that I’ll still be living in this same apartment in two years. And long ago I swore to NEVER get Time Warner Cable again.

Then I thought, ‘most of my friends have no cable TV whatsoever, maybe I could pull that off too? I’m young and hip… ish.’

So I got Amazon Fire TV, and challenged myself to live without cable TV.

It’s… not been going well. Read More

Could this unicorn umbrella be the answer to Los Angeles’ drought?

unicorn umbrella

I haven’t owned an umbrella since… wait — I don’t think I’ve EVER owned an umbrella. Umbrella ownership is pretty optional in Los Angeles. But it’s been raining on and off for the past couple of days. (Even thundering! Of course, I missed most of the opportunity to enjoy the rare thunder storm, as I assumed it was the noise of the landscapers’ wheelbarrows being pushed down a driveway. Was that the most LA thing I’ve ever said?)

What a coincidence that Think Geek just released the Magical Unicorn Umbrella! This could possibly be the first umbrella I ever own. Is it not a thing a beauty?

Of course, with my weather luck, the moment I purchase it Los Angeles will never see rain again in my life time. UNLESS… with a little magical unicorn power, maybe this umbrella could herald the rumored El Nino rains???

What do you think guys, should I buy this as an early birthday present to myself? Or will it just sit there, unused and be a reminder of how LA is drying up into a barren wasteland?

Death, drama, and dating: The only time my awesome job sucks

This dead cockaroach is saying what I was thinking last night.

Do you know what’s bound to happen the moment I go on a date, my editor Catherine goes to a movie, and my boss Ariel is on vacation with ZERO data on her phone and no internet connection? The post that went viral all day long yesterday — the one that had (miraculously) no drama for the amount of traffic it was bringing in, lulling us into a feeling of internet stranger security — will absolutely erupt in controversy.

Or as a friend of mine put it: “What a surreal world when you’re like ‘excuse me dinner date but I’m not sure if this bride’s husband really died, and I have to go handle the unfolding Australian drama.’ Very few people said that sentence last night you know. ;)”

As part of my job, I wrote about the whole Offbeat Bride commentroversy/drama over on Offbeat Empire. Check it out if you want a dose of internet WTF-ery.

How to maintain a minimalist bohemian bedroom in both decor and lifestyle

Over on Offbeat Home, I showed off some of my minimalist bedroom inspiration from a real estate listing. One of my wonderful Homies asked to know more about my actual bedroom. So here it is (keep in mind that it’s still a work in progress)…

minimalist bohemian bedroom

How to achieve this look:

Read More