23 October 2006

Halloween Love

Ms. Kansas always has the best of intentions for Halloween--even if she rarely follows through on them. There is something very glamorous and sultry about this holiday, no? What with the whole veil-between-living-and-dead-lifting/carnivalesque angle, don't you think? Revellers in stunning and well-planned costumes inspire fantasies of going as Billie Holiday or Ella Fitzgerald, a 1930s glamorpuss or an Anne Rice-style vampire.Though, for the record, Ms. Kansas has nothing for the Halloween in Madison scene but an upturned nose. Yes, that was "Madison," as in "Wisconsin."

This morning Ms. Kansas was thinking about how female college students' costumes list toward Sexy This or That. As in Sexy (read: Slutty) Nurse or Teacher. These costumes not only lack imagination, originality and intelligence--but also they're completely, utterly tired.

So, Ms. Kansas is here to solve the Halloween costuming conundrum for female college students the nation over. Fortunately, every college student can't come to Halloween in Madison. But that doesn't mean they have to miss out on all the fun! Below is a list of Sexy Costumes A La Wisconsin:

10. Slutty Wolf
9. Slutty Beer Stein
8. Slutty Cranberry
7. Slutty Sink
6. Slutty Maple Syrup Bottle
5. Slutty Can of Pledge
4. Slutty Calatrava Wing
3. Slutty Sub-Zero Fridge
2. Slutty Lake Michigan
1. Slutty Frank Lloyd Wright Building

Just like being there! Enjoy! And Happy Halloween!!

07 October 2006

Workplace Scourge

I am, of course, referring to "khakis." Rhymes with "tacky." Not coincidental, I'm sure. I find it demoralizing simply to contemplate putting on a pair of khakis right now. They sap my lifeforce. And, not to get all white-shoe on anybody's ass, but they're appropriate only for a very limited (fortunately!!) sartorial window: any time in May until the weekend after Labor Day. This opinion, of course, is greatly influenced by the fact that in Wisconsin there are only about 14 days of the year, at most, that can legitimately be described as "hot." Khakis are absurd in March--too light--in character and hue; they're laughable in fall--for the same reason; unthinkable in winter. I believe darker trousers are much more suitable the shorter the days and the brisker the weather. I'll be blunt: in cold or even cool weather, khakis are bumptious. Khakis were invented for a hot, no! make that tropical environment. Inappropriate khaki usage can bring down an entire workforce. It bleeds away the self-esteem and acts as a blockage to know one looks ridiculous.

02 October 2006

The Fall and Rise of the House of Coiffure

Has it really been nearly a month since my last post?! Many topics have been circulating through my mind. And here is one that is unavoidable since my hair is growing: coiffure. Specifically in its relationship to Black women. This isn't an original thought. I read it somewhere before; I forget where. Coiffure--or, rather, its downfall since the end of the 1950s--has been the downfall of Black women's hair.

In my mind, the word "coiffure" connotes hair with volume and, perhaps, density. Braids, knots, buns, twists, etc. Hair being bound up or fastened in some manner. This is why I say I say coiffure had its end in the 1950s; for, in the 1960s, we see the trend toward unfastened, free-floating hair. For Black women, this means one thing: Yikes! Ergo, the hair straightening chemicals of dubious long-term effects.

Ah, but in the glory days of coiffure...it was all so simple. Hair was about volume--and volume Black women's hair had in abundance. Have you ever noticed that in 18th-century portraiture French aristocrats look like they have White 'fros? Wealthy women called in the coiffeur de jour for a toilette that could take hours. In the 19th century, women wore their hair in puffs, frizzes, braids, knots, curls, fringes, and all other manner of somewhat morbid Victorian assemblage. (I'm thinking mid- to late-19th century.) Again, no problem for Black women.

In the early 20th century, Gibson girl hair was big! Waves, kinks and wild curls aren't a problem when you wear your hair in a pompadour. Everyone had serious frizz back then. And it was so picturesque! On into the 1920s and 1930s, you could do a shiny finger wave if you pressed your hair. And who cares when everyone had a head full of all manner of grease and brilliantine?? Ok, and on into the 1940s and 1950s. And then, in the 1960s, it all started to go flat, so to speak.

Hair used to take up space around the head--sometimes a lot, sometimes a little less. It used to have sculptural, 3-D quality. Hair could make shape. Alack! not anymore. I remember when I was a girl my mother used to braid my hair. Those are the days I want to get back to. To be honest, I feel uneasy when my hair isn't fastened or bound in some way. I want quasi-19th century bohemian braids. Amel Larrieux does that well. Onward! This, I think, is the future of Black women's hair.