My Review of Shirred Swimsuit

Originally submitted at Chadwick’s

One piece mailot with a surplice neckline and shirring detail. Tummy control panel creates a flattering fit. Nylon/spandex. Hand wash. Imported

Misses

Shirred Swimsuit

Fantastic!

By miteypen from Columbus, Ohio on 6/4/2008

5out of 5

Pros: Attractive Design, Lightweight, Flattering, Good Fit, High Quality

Best Uses: Beach, Swimming

Describe Yourself: Sexy, Stylish, Comfort-oriented

I am overweight and this swimsuit makes me look like a million bucks. The overall style is slimming but it also has a tummy panel which is very comfortable but really works. And the color is stunning.

(legalese)

Weddings, Part 2

And now to my opinions about weddings. First off, I want to be on record as saying that each person’s wedding should be meaningful to her and her intended, no matter what other people—or convention—say. Gone are the days when weddings were pretty much alike except for the wording in the ceremony, depending on one’s faith—or lack of. I think this is partly because the world is smaller and we’re more aware of other customs than we used to be. And it could also be because of younger generations’ attempts to create new meaning for themselves by re-working old traditions. We tend to think of weddings as always having been the way they are now, but the truth is, they have changed over the years. For instance, it wasn’t until around the Civil War that it became popular in the U.S. for the bride to wear white. (Queen Victoria, however, is credited with starting that trend.)

My weddings were all basically traditional: in a church (not counting the ceremony in a field), with a minister from a mainline denomination, and with words that were only slightly different from ceremony to ceremony. (Strangely enough, the groom and I never opted for writing our own vows.) But they varied in size: one was in the presence of a large number of guests, one was without any guests at all, one was in front of family and close friends, and one was with only my children and grandson. (My parents were both deceased by then.) And they certainly varied in atmosphere. I’ve never experienced a full-blown, down-to-the smallest details wedding. For instance, I’ve never had favors for guests to take home. I never had a professional photographer. The groom never bought or rented a formal suit just for the wedding (nor did I ever buy a formal dress!). Only one of my weddings had a rehearsal dinner and only two had music. My father only gave me away once (which seems like quite enough). Anyway, you get the idea: I can’t compare my relatively simple weddings to the huge extravaganza that some of them become; I can only imagine. And what I imagine is horrifying.

More later.

Weddings

I’ve had four of them–five, if you count the two ceremonies my first husband and I had (to accommodate family and friends). So I guess you could call me an expert of sorts about weddings. I’m not a full-fledged expert however, because I’ve never spent as much as a year’s college tuition at any of my weddings, never had a wedding planner, printed invitations, a professional photographer, an expensive wedding gown, or a honeymoon (unless you count the trip my first husband and I took before our wedding). At one wedding, we didn’t even have guests.

For my first wedding, we handwrote our invitations, I wore my mother’s wedding gown at one ceremony and a white dress bought in Mallorca at the other, an old boyfriend took pictures (and ruined half of them–hmm, was that really an accident?), the first ceremony was in the church my grandfather had pastored for 35 years in the town my mother grew up in, my sister was the only bridesmaid (thus also the maid of honor) and my husband’s brother his best man. My sister wore an former prom dress. The very accommodating minister (he traveled an hour and half to repeat the second and technically unnecessary ceremony) was an old friend of the family. The second ceremony was held in a field closer to home with rented chairs, three bridesmaids (with home-made dresses) and a picnic-style reception. As wedding goes, it was a pretty big production. But it wasn’t that expensive. (I don’t know the final total–my parents paid for it all and we never even saw the bills–but I’m guessing it was less than $1000.) We were also only 20. The marriage lasted ten years. But it was worth it. (I got four children out of the deal–yeah, I know…)

My second wedding took place in a “borrowed” church, with a minister we barely knew. I wore a dark blue dress and my kids wore outfits that were all red, white and blue–I had pictures taken of them later on in their dresses, but the only wedding pictures were snapshots. The reception was held at my new husband’s family’s house. The guest list was very small: family and a few friends. That marriage lasted three and a half years. It had definitely been a rebound relationship, with an old boyfriend (not the one who took pictures). I should have remembered why we broke up the first time around.

My third wedding was held in the church my fiance and I had been attending, conducted by the minister we knew very well and witnessed only by his wife. There were no other guests, not even my children. (I figured they were getting tired of this wedding business by this time–their father was also on his third marriage.) I wore a white dress and we went to White Castle afterwards for coffee. (This was pretty much pre-Starbucks.) Again, only a few snapshots taken by the minister. It was probably the sweetest of my ceremonies. I cried. The marriage lasted eight years but we had lived together for two years before that.

My fourth and last wedding was held in a “professional” wedding chapel by the minister that ran it. We figured it was a little better than city hall. We had to rush to get married because my husband-to-be was in the States on a fiance visa which required us to get married within 90 days. The only guests were my four daughters and my grandson. The minister took the pictures (that was included in the package) and they were awful. We had a dinner back at the house afterwards which was nice. Again, we’d sort of had our honeymoon before the ceremony since we’d just come from Germany together. (I’d stayed with him there for four months before I brought him back with me to the States.) That was right after 9/11–I was in Germany when it happened. So we will be celebrating our seventh anniversary this November11th–exactly two months after that horrible event. (It makes it hard to forget either.)

So which wedding did I prefer? That’s hard to say. Each one fit the circumstances at the time. Yet I do have a few opinions about weddings which are based on my own as well as others I’ve attended. I’ll save those opinions for my next post.

At a Crossroads

Sometimes it doesn’t seem real that I’m a mother. When my kids were all little it did because taking care of them was the main focus of my day. Even when they were in school, it was lunch money and school clothes, school programs and homework—there was no way that a day could go by without my thinking about my kids. And of course I always worried about money. Not for things for myself; it was almost always for them.

I guess even now my being a mother is a driving force in my life. If I didn’t want to keep my time free for the kids, I would probably be going for my master’s now. Hmm. I hadn’t quite thought of it that way. Does that mean that I should go for my master’s? That I shouldn’t let my being a mother hold me back from doing what I want to do in life? Aren’t I suffering from boredom doing what I’m doing now? Do I really want to be waiting around for my kids to need me in one way or another?

But there are a lot of reasons why I decided not to go for my master’s. One is that I want more time for my writing. But that’s not going as well as I would like for it to go. Another is that I don’t know if I could do it. Even the application process seems so daunting. Of course, that’s when I think of applying to the Women’s Studies program. If I were applying to the M. Ed. Program I don’t think I’d be as intimidated. For one thing, I wouldn’t have to take the GRE. Sometimes I think I should take the GRE just to get it over and done with and prove to myself that I can do it. But why spend the time and money on it if I don’t need it?

I feel like I’m avoiding something and I’m not quite sure what it is. Is it my writing? The fact that I’m too afraid to go forward with it? I haven’t been working on my essays or my novel for weeks now. (My novel for months.) I do this constantly. I come up with new interests and ideas and I go like gangbusters for a while learning and writing about them and then I lose interest and I can no more make myself excited again than I can turn myself into a man. I always stop before I become fully accomplished. Wait a minute. How do I know when I’m fully accomplished about something? When I write an essay or article about it. That’s how I judge myself. What if I’m just supposed to learn for the sake of learning? That seems so pointless. But is it really? And isn’t it true that I want to have time to pursue my interests? No matter where they may take me?

I feel very much that I’m at a crossroads. I know I can’t keep going on this for the rest of my life or I’ll go bonkers. I have to find some consuming interest besides my kids. They just don’t need me that much. I love being available when they do need me, but it’s so infrequent and mostly means phone conversations anyway. I’m not the center of their lives either (and haven’t been for a very long time!). I know I’m important to them, but they’re adults now and the best thing I can do for them is to be happy. No one wants an unhappy old woman hanging around, least of all me. I don’t want to be filled with regrets at the end of my life.

I went back to school five years ago for a variety of reasons. One was to finish something I started, to finally see it through. Another was to for something to do. But the most important one was to discover what I wanted to do with my life. I just went into it without thinking about the future. What did I think I was going to do with a degree in History? I’d love to be a teacher but I didn’t get an education degree. Maybe that’s what I should be doing next.

I never thought I’d be 56 years old and still trying to figure out what I’m supposed to be doing with my life!

Definitions of Feminism

“I myself have never been able to find out precisely what feminism is. I only know that people call me a feminist whenever I express sentiments that differentiate me from a doormat or a prostitute.” –Rebecca West, journalist and suffrage campaigner, 1913.

Ninety-five years later, feminism is still having that crisis of identity. No one can agree on what feminists believe. After all, anyone can call herself (or himself) a feminist. There are Second and Third Wave feminists, New Feminists (a Catholic Church phenomenon), Liberal Feminists, Radical Feminists, Marxist and Socialist Feminists, Cultural Feminists, and Eco-Feminists, to name a few.

See here for definitions.
For a more exhaustive list of types and definitions, go here.

What worries me the most about modern-day feminism is that it is largely ignored. It’s not much of a movement if no one is paying attention to it. While it’s true that it’s better to have many categories of feminism than no feminism at all, I do think that all the split-offs dilute the feminist message. Say what you will about Second Wave (and First Wave) feminists, they were a force to be reckoned with.

What can be learned from the Women’s Liberation Movement for today’s feminist movement? Was it Women’s Libbers’ ideology or their solidarity that made them so influential? Why don’t we have that same power today? Could it possibly have to do with the fact that we’re more concerned with categorizing ourselves than with working for common goals?

NARAL Endorsement

I understand why NARAL came out with their Obama endorsement but it’s still a slap in the face for Clinton. If they had waited until the outcome was assured, they wouldn’t have put Clinton in such a bad light. What if she runs again? How will NARAL back up and say that now they’re for her, even though they weren’t back in 2008?

I was glad to see that some of the NARAL chapters pitched a fit about the endorsement and made it public that they were pissed off. That’s something, at least.