Greetings from Brooklyn babes,
In the triumphant manic that accompanies saying goodbye to an office cubicle, I declared 2013 the summer of crop tops. I bought an armload of spandex from a chain retail store that regularly swindles its workers of health insurance, questionably adopted the pec-centric workout plan of my favorite XY gym buddies, and wore my midriff out everywhere except construction sites and bad parties.
These heady months have not passed without some measure of resistance to my exposed stomach. Though I’ll allow that dealing with the blowback has been a pink Cadillac problem, this is the AHDM4U ladies issue and unsolicited outfit feedback is a ladies’ issue. So you will read these editor’s notes quietly, and when I’m done you’ll tell me I’m the smartest one and we’ll fix it together.
Scenes from the summer of crop tops. Photo credits: top left by Fabian Echeverria, bottom left by MORE!boy Isaac
Three things, one: “You can’t leave the house wearing that,” a well-meaning family member told me. We were at the outset of a sweltering July evening in Austin that I’d be spending on Porno Bobbie’s tour of local gay bars, culminating on the expansive patio of a bicycle-themed leather daddy establishment watching bears whip each other. “You look like a prostitute,” she said. “It’s not safe.” I decided against debating with this beloved elder over the market wisdom of a curbside sex worker wearing Mickey Mouse print stretch pants and a blue bob — or one of the other inconsistencies involved in the situation — and instead initiated a discussion on the globally viral Slut Walk phenomenon. Fyi, this is actually an incredibly productive thing to talk about with the older liberals in your life.
Three things, two: I am living in New York for the moment, tagging on the studded mesh coattails of the City’s new babe on the block Dick Van Dick, and I’ll be goddammt if I’m going to be fangirling in smoky basements alongside transcendent hostess/corporate space reappropriator (check the recent Amos Mac photoshoot at her day job, which she told me is soon to be expanded into a photo book) Juliana Huxtable, or House of Ladosha’s fiercest queen rapper Antonio Blair, while I’m wearing something calculated to evade the notice of the creeps outside the Canal Street subway station. This, of course, goes beyond midriffs. I didn’t bring my pleather shorts and cyclecross-ready Santee Alley minidress to not look worth hollering at, not sorry. Nightlife is one of the few places I’ve found in my life when smart and sexy are not divided by that barbed wire fence we’re asked to straddle.
Three things, three: My favorite moment of 2012 was in the middle of some daylife mess at El Rio when Anna Conda, the drag queen most likely to succeed in San Francisco local politics, approached my outfit. “How do you expect anyone to take you seriously?” she asked atop heels, through a full face of makeup. I got offended, got the joke, wound up proud. To join the ranks of those who wear their rebuttal of the social code so well seemed an honor worth dwelling on (although given the backdrop, surely a tequila shot with noted slutwear enthusiast Tom Temprano/DJ Carnita erased my reverie within moments.)
Resolved to live our lives for those moments in the spotlight, not the ones when we’re in the crosswalk being yelled at. Asking seriously: why do we ask our women to be invisible? Who is someone putting in danger when they “dress dangerously”? Be the change babe, and attire yourself for a world who death drops to the floor when you walk into a room.
And accordingly, because AHDM4U (this for the potential investor/collaborators who’ve been asking us for a onesheet of late) at its core is about celebrating fierce reactions to assigned mediocrity, I present to you four women who are doing just this.
We’ll be releasing Issue 3 of AHDM4U day by day, feature by feature this week so come back here/Twitter to hear their stories. Today, Lexi Laphor, and her meditation on the subversive potential of kawaii, a piece that inspired the rant you are currently reading.
Also be appraised that per my current residency — and the temporary addition to the AHDM4U team of Vogue and Tone dance-choreography luminary Jocquese Whitfield and other precious angels unafraid to wear crop tops — you’ll have a ringside seat for the fashions and revolutionary hip-hop at Brooklyn’s Afropunk Festival later this week.
Also, official notice that we have some big things coming. Even bigger than the fact that we got an Instagram account.