Blogs are like Tequila. They should be taken with a pinch of salt.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Cat Person.

I need to get something off my chest. I’m not just talking about the crumbs from the party pie I just ate lying down. It’s a confession. An admission that I struggle with on a regular basis, and have finally decided to stop concealing. Here it is, I'm just going to say it.

I like cats. That’s a major understatement – I frigging love cats. Ladies and Gentlemen... I am a Cat Person.

You see, the reason I keep this concealed is because of the unpredictable response. I’m looking at you, Dog Person. Now, I quite like canines. I never had one growing up, but I’m not opposed to their happy nature and licky love, despite a scary experience as a kid. When I was about five, a friend had a big St Bernard dog. One day, the dog stood looking at me for about two minutes. That’s the reality. But in my over-imaginative memory, a rabid dog with blood and saliva dripping from his fangs snarled and snapped at me for hours as I cowered under a chair. Despite that scarring experience, I still like most dogs (though I’m scared of that Beethoven fella). And even if I didn’t, I would never criticise dogs to a Dog Person. So why do we Cat People get so much shit??

If you want an awesome half hour, google 'Cat memes'. I did and I'm NOT ASHAMED.

 Cats are great. I GET them. They like cuddles with the person that provides them food. They like stretching their backs. They reeeeeally like napping. I’m a fur coat and a meow away from being a cat myself. The happiest day of my life began when my Mum and I found four one-day-old kittens in a gutter, getting eaten by ants (not such a good day for them... but wait, it ends well). We took them home and I got to snuggle them for SIX WEEKS. They opened their eyes after a few days to Mum and I smothering them with love – I bottle-fed them, tucked them in, named them, took photos of them, and floated on a cloud of happiness for a month and a half. Winky (not a euphemism, he had one eye open when we found him) sadly died after a week (yeah... it didn’t end well for all of them...), but the other three went to happy Cat Person homes. 

My Dad holding the happiest moments of my life.

Despite the warm and fuzziness of this little anecdote, I know that it’s only for a selective audience, because only a Cat Person wants to hear a cat story. A Dog Person wants to call me a crazy cat lady, tell me about feral cats and allergies, and ironically not show any of the non-judgemental happy nature and licky love that their beloved canine friends possess. Well, Dog People, I’m singing out loud and proud. I love cats, and I’m no longer going to be ashamed of it. I have even typed ‘kitten videos’ into YouTube more than once. I’ve got other confessions too. Things that I hesitate to admit, not just to Dog People, but to All People. Until now. Deep breath...

I love Hanson’s song MMMbop and I still listen to it regularly. And Human Nature. And B*Witched.

I still occasionally sleep with my teddy bear, and I apologise to her sometimes because I fear she feels rejected.

I love the show Toddlers and Tiaras.

Growing up, I had major crushes on Aaron Carter*, Ian Thorpe and the red-headed Planeteer, Wheeler.

I hold my breath when I go past cemeteries, and I try to hide it from passengers in my car by being really subtle (until now).

I don’t really know what superannuation** is.

I have made a wish upon a star pretty much every day of my life that I can remember.

I’d rather listen to Gold FM than Triple J.

I believe in the existence of aliens, a parallel universe, ghosts, fate, and Santa’s workshop (but not necessarily Santa... it’s hard to articulate).

I love Harry Potter. Like... I LOVE Harry Potter.

That’s enough confessions for now. It feels good to get all of that off my crumb-covered chest. Fingers crossed I don’t die of shame overnight. But just in case I do, if I have any friends left – Cat People, Dog People, secret-shamers or Triple J fans – please know that I love you.

And cats. I love you, cats.

*This is one of the biggest confessions of all, because I pretended to my best friends that the poster of Aaron Carter on my wall was only to cover up a crack in the plaster. Girls – you shamed me for years to try and get the truth, and this is it. I loved that orange-overalled, bowl-haircutted little dork with all of my 11-year-old heart.

**Yes, people have tried to explain it to me. No, I don’t really listen. Superannuation sounds like a superhero, and I prefer to think of him that way.

By Lucy Gransbury. Follow her on Twitter @LucyGransbury. Or follow her in real life. She is probably apologising to her teddy.

Monday, January 6, 2014

Dear Kookai... F*ck you.

Dear Kookai,

Fuck you. 

I have two small bones and one massive, bitch-tonne of a bone to pick with you.

For years, I resisted your temptations. I have vague memories of disliking you since the first time I went through your shiny glass doors as a slightly chubby teenager. At that time, it was because of your prices. BONE ONE. I didn’t even bother trying on your fancy stretchy clothes, because I was slowly saving up my pocket money for a ticket to see the Black Eyed Peas in concert (and yes, they were awesome). So I would just go in for the air-conditioning and loitering opportunities. Sometime after, once I had become a successful and accomplished 20-year-old with slightly less chub and slightly more cash (and I use “slightly” very truthfully... 500 grams less, $50 more...), I wanted to buy an item of clothing with a proper label (i.e. not Kmart). I tried on the only loose-fiiting dress in the store and convinced myself to buy it. It looked alright, it kind of fitted (cos it was a loose-fitting dress,) it was a nice green colour and lovely raw silk material, and it only cost half of my life savings. Do you know what, Kookai? The strap of that dress (though I only ever wore it as a top, as it was embarrassingly short and I live by the old-fashioned motto “if you can see the crease of your ass-cheek, the hemline is too high”) broke the second time I wore it. I sewed it back on, and soon after, the other strap broke. BONE TWO. I was so annoyed at the time about how crappy the quality of your sewing was, that I didn’t go back into your store for SIX YEARS.

Kookai store. So shiny. So skinny.

Until last month. I was on the lookout for a dress for a special occasion. I tried my usual cheap stores and nothing was taking my fancy. And then I saw your St Kilda store, like a shining beacon of downlights and clean glass. The clothes on the pencil-thin mannequins in the window were such pretty colours, summery yellows and Tiffany blues, that I forgot about my broken-green-raw-silk-dress-top, and stepped into the cool air-conditioning and smell of Windex. Instantly, I found a dress that I liked, and went to find it in my size. The first size I came across was size 1. Baffled, considering that this is not a usual Australian size* (except maybe for an actual pencil), I continued to rifle through the rack. Size 2. Nope... still had about ten sizes until we reached me. Kept rifling... but what was this? There was only size 1 and size 2. I asked the lovely sales assistant, who explained they were THE ONLY SIZES, and why don’t I try them on? I gathered a bunch of dress styles in size 2’s – I’m generally an optimistic person, but I could see that size 1 would be totally fucking kidding myself – and went into the fancy change room with the swishy curtain.

Kookai. I tried on the first dress, and the seam began to rip before I’d even got it past my hips. This was not just a reflection on your shithouse sewing. This was about your abso-fucking-lutely ridiculous sizing system. BONE THREE, KOOKAI. BONE. FUCKING. THREE.

A blurb from the Kookai website. I guess I'm not a 'Kookai Woman' because I'm restricted by a fashion boundary... The width of a Size 2 dress.

According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, an average Aussie woman is a size 16. At most stores, I am a size 12 – sometimes a 10, sometimes a 14, depending on how creative the store is feeling. I am well in the healthy weight range for my height. I may have a little layer of memory foam**, but I’m a fairly fit and normal woman. And yet, I don’t fit into the BIGGEST SIZE THAT YOU STOCK. Do you know how that feels? Even for me, a fairly secure, self-assured female (and actor, which means I deal with having my flaws pointed out on a regular basis), it’s a shitty feeling. I stood in your changeroom, spilling out of the second dress I tried on (which didn’t rip, but was so tight it showed the shape of the sushi I’d had for lunch), frowning at the mirror and making plans to eat only celery sticks and cotton wool for the rest of my life. For about five seconds. Then I took the stupid dress off, walked out of the store, mentally gave you the finger, and went to one of the many shops that cater to the other ninety percent of the female population.

Having done a Google search about your sizes, it would seem that thousands of women feel the same as me. A few women claim that they are usually a size 8-10, and your size 2 dresses would not zip up over their ribcages. Apparently, others are pissed off that circa 2005, you GOT RID of your size 3 (good sales move, dickheads... you literally narrowed your market). I even found a petition begging you to upgrade your sizes, or declare yourself to be a specialty store for small/thin women. I want to be clear that there is nothing wrong with the women who do fit into your clothes (skinny people can get just as much shit as fat people, neither of which is fair or anyone’s business). I also concede that as a country, we are overweight, and 16 is not a healthy size to be the average. However, women come in all shapes and sizes, and by not classifying yourself as a specialty store, you are promoting an unhealthy body image, which is particularly concerning for the many teenage girls with more money than I had at that age, who actually try on your stretchy clothes in your fancy change room, and end up crying at their reflection. At the very, very least, you should be catering to the entire healthy weight range, and not making perfectly fine females like me want to stick their fingers down their throat just to wear your summery yellows and Tiffany fucking blues.

Kookai, with your calming, cool-aired stores and beautiful, badly-sewn clothes, I’m sorry for being so angry at you. But, unlike the Heart Foundation’s BMI calculator, you called me fat. So fuck you.

I’m going to Kmart.

*As it turns out, the Australian Standard Size Coding Scheme was scrapped in 2008, which allows retailers to play fast and loose (or tight) with whatever sizing scheme they want. Cheers for that, guys. I’ve got a bone to pick with you, too.

**Memory foam – the fond term I have given to the little love handles and curvier bits of my body, that are testament to wonderful memories – Pot & Parma deals with friends at the local pub, afternoon ciders in the sun, movie nights with Maltesers, and so on. I don’t love the layer of memory foam... but I don’t have any regrets either.

By Lucy Gransbury. Follow her on Twitter @LucyGransbury. Or follow her in real life. She is probably at Kmart, trying on a size 12... or playing in the Barbie aisle.