Daily Life: Stark Contrast

Daily Life: Stark Contrast

When I was little I was an avid reader of Highlights magazine for children. One of the regular features was a comic strip called “Goofus & Gallant,” where two boys in the same situation responded in different ways. Goofus always picked the “wrong” thing to do, while Gallant picked the “right” thing to do. Even as a very young child, I knew that Goofus’ behavior wasn’t right. He would do things like eat before everyone else was seated at the table, boss his friends around, or refuse to share. This weekend I experienced my very own “Goofus & Gallant” tale.

On Friday I visited my father, and returned home very late. The train was mostly empty when I got on, but at the next stop a group of five or six young men (university-aged) got on. They were joking and clearly enjoying each other’s company, but without being rude or overly noisy. My skirt was sneaking onto the seat next to me, and one of these fellows politely asked me if he might sit there–instead of just plopping down on it. He took a seat facing away from me, and he and his friends continued their conversation.

However, at the next stop there was a pause. I looked up to see all of them staring at me, and the young man next to me broke the silence. “I’m very curious–what’s with the stuffed animal?”

I replied that it was a backpack (they were referencing Monsieur Lait, my usakumya), and immediately all of the gentlemen were intrigued. They wanted to see the straps, see how it zippered, tell me what they had thought it was. The one sitting next to me introduced himself, shook my hand, and started to ask questions. I don’t particularly like speaking to strangers on the train, but they were far from rude and quite unthreatening. I felt uncomfortable only in that I was tired and wanted some piece and quiet.

They asked about my clothing, the young man in front of my announcing to the others that he thought it was some Japanese thing–which, obviously, it is. They were intrigued and posed a few other questions. When they exited the train, they said goodbye and gave a wave. While it wasn’t necessarily enjoyable, their good spirits and kindness (I’m sure they were thinking it, but no-one called me a freak or acted like I was crazy) made it more than tolerable.

This afternoon, after seeing my guests to their car and returning home, I suddenly realized that I had forgotten to tip our waitress at lunch in my rush to pay for the check. I hurried over to remedy the situation, hoping that the café wouldn’t yet be closed, and managed to make it just in time! I headed home more slowly, a bit worn out from the panic and hurry.

The weather has been quite nice today, so the bar I passed soon after had opened the front to allow circulations. Five men, older than those who had ridden with me on the train, leaned forward over the bar and started calling to me. One kept going, “Hey! Hey! Hey!” and another waved a camera saying over and over, “Can I get a picture with you? Can I get a picture with you?” I froze although I knew I should have kept walking.

They started to shift as if they would get up from their bar stools and walk towards me, with the man holding the camera looking around for someone to take the picture for him. Another of the patrons–the one who had been doing the calling–started trying to “ask me a question” which sounded suspiciously like some kind of obscene joke or unpleasant pick-up-line. I didn’t remain still for too much longer and briskly walked off.

And that is exactly how not to behave when you see someone dressed oddly. I seem to only get such distasteful behavior from drunk people–they feel the need to yell strange things at me or try to get close to me. I never should have stopped walking–that was a severe error on my part–but I really shouldn’t have to deal with that kind of hassling simply because I am pink and rather fluffy. I would take the young men on the train talking to me endlessly any time over drunk men saying inappropriate things and making me feel unsafe. Ugh! I don’t think I really need to spell out which group was Goofuses and which were Gallants!

On Being Lolita: Errands and Lolita Fashion

On Being Lolita: Errands and Lolita Fashion

Today I had one of those moments that was so amusing that I very much wanted to write about and share it, but I couldn’t quite connect it into anything more than an anecdote. There’s not a clear lesson to be learned or theme to expand on. I find that sometimes even when I’m not actually wearing lolita fashion, it’s interesting how it impacts my life.

I insist on dry cleaning my lolita garments, even though many of them can be hand washed. When I voice my opinion on dry cleaning, I am often reminded that lolita clothing can be washed by hand. Why take it somewhere that uses questionable chemicals and incur additional expense? The biggest reason that I dry clean the bulk of my lolita fashion wardrobe is related to the fact that I have a really, really awesome neighborhood dry cleaner. My dry cleaner has been dealing with lolita fashion for years, even before I moved into the area, because a friend of mine has lived there and worn lolita fashion much, much longer than I have. She once wore it daily for a year without interruption!

When we were roommates I became acquainted with the dry cleaner when I would stop by and drop off or pick up her clothing, and eventually mine as well. I was always a little bit wary of dry cleaners, because there can be such varied results. (My grandfather has a penchant for taking his clothes to a place that doesn’t actually send them back clean because he likes talking with the employees there.) My dry cleaner is far more reliable! Everything comes back without damage, looking pristine. ♥ They’ve even brightened my bunny pochette, Mallow, who was looking a dingy from living such an active life.

For some reason, the dry cleaner always enters my clothing under my friend’s name, even though they are well aware that I am not her. Most of the employees recognize my husband and me before we’ve even walked through the door, and will ring out our bill before we’ve even asked. Whenever I drop something off there are always “oohs” and “aahs.” One of the employees has told me that she adores my outfits and is always hoping to spot me when she’s not at work.

Today when I stopped by to pick some things up after work, I noted that I didn’t recognize the employee in the shop today. When I pointed out my garments so they could be paid for, she was visibly confused and apologetically excused herself to make a phone call. I could hear her worriedly asking if the “costumes” were ready, if they had needed more sewing work, etc. She had to be guided through ringing them up, at one point exclaiming, “…But they’re costumes!” I couldn’t help being a bit amused, because she’ll be seeing more of me and my “costumes”–which were only there to be cleaned and pressed, no alteration or construction required.

It got me thinking about the kind of reactions I tend to get when I’m not attending an event, but just milling about doing mundane tasks in ruffles and lace. Sometimes the reactions are oblivious or avoidant; when I grocery shop in lolita fashion, almost no-one will look me in the eye and they often glance away hastily. My petticoat could brush against someone’s shopping cart, and they’ll stare juuuust over my head to avoid acknowledging me. Sometimes–such as at the post office–the attention is almost unbearable. And if I venture downtown for shopping, every tourist wants more information about the “show” I’m promoting…as if carrying a tote and browsing the shelves at a bookstore is promoting. n_~

It’s always interesting to me to see what people will try to do to justify or explain things they don’t understand. :3 It’s very difficult to just accept something as “unusual”–there’s always a quest for a deeper meaning or logical reasoning.