Category Archives: fantasies

Oleg Dou. Happy Hallo.

For Halloween, creepy should be creepy. This is. And gorgeous. Enjoy.

(Oleg Dou, Russian artist, http://www.olegdou.com)

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friday ‘finking | women are vegetables

Women are savory, men are sweet. (Whoa, get back, this is not a value statement. It doesn’t mean anything but a play on concepts, so bare with me. You’ll say that it’s women who eat sweets, and men like salty, that the girls are soft and the boys are harsh, etc.etc. Sure. But maybe women eat sweets because they lack sugar, how ’bout that?!)

Assuming you do have the patience to go through this exercise (in-hale. ex-hale. now think), let me tell you why I believe women are savory and men are sweet (for the sake of this discussion, we’ll forget about sour, bitter and hot [which is not exactly a taste, since we perceive it not with the taste buds, but the pain receptors in our mouth]). Weeeeell… women are savory because they are food (you have to have it, no matter how gross, it still is nutritious). Men are sweet because they are dessert (you go on and fill in this parenthesis with whatever crosses your mind).

Now, if women were savory and we were to put them in a food category diverse enough to cover all their types, I will go on a limb here and say women are vegetables. They need some seeding, some water to grow, a lot of attention; they have a young phase (when eating them too young is both a pleasure and a sin) and a mature, perfect phase; they have a specific cooking temperature and a specific nutrient value; and they have a point where, even dead, they can make some damn good compost.

Here are some of the classic types:

Lady Onion– probably a Pisces, she is the most romantic of the bunch. Her outfits are complicated and well put together from multiple layers, and she is the only one who still owns petticoats, dress slips, silken thigh-highs and bustiers (if wealthy, she is likely to be a Vivienne Westwood aficionado). She likes dreamy soap operas, which she watches drinking tea from a very old and demure tea set. Her lashes are always long and perfectly mascara’d, and she uses them quite often when she’s flirting; another powerful weapon is the streams of perfume she disguises herself in but by which she is easily recognizable. She’s good in crowds, and whether young or old she can bring a plus of savor to any meeting. She sighs quite frequently and she is easily moved by crudeness or misplaced attention, usually ending up in a river of tears over the most trivial of issues. When cooked by the fires of love, she becomes a ghost of herself, almost translucid, sweet and sacrificially discreet. Madame Bovary was an Onion.

Lady Artichoke– a master of disguise and double-entendres, this gal makes the subject of movies, books and infatuations world-round. She’s smart, she’s shrewd and she can talk herself out of any situation. Words are her weapons, although she’s also good looking, poised and very put together. She possesses a huge reservoir of knowledge as well as the most random of abilities- from speaking ancient Greek to car-repairing skills to having an acute vision in the dark. Her sharp tongue and keen self awareness make her magnetic and irresistible to the hoards of men who are ready to die at her door, writing her poems and buying her gifts. She’s almost impenetrable and it takes a long time and a lot of discovering before truly getting to her core. When you do, you’ll discover a very intense, fascinating, umami heart as interesting and as capable as the person who’s carrying it. Most female politicians and all the spies we know of were artichokes.

Lady Potato– very plain but strong and oddly symmetrical, like one of those candidates for “Complete makeover” (has all the right elements to be comely, but no songs will be written about her looks. Her personality is rather beige, as well). Takes the right person to pull her out of her cozy environment, but once out she can adapt to any group and any situation- without ever standing out. She’s the universal companion, never too special but always there, sturdy and healthy like an ox, almost asexual but fertile like no other. No matter the age or girth, she’s always inelegant but never completely ugly, as her kindness and loyalty can easily be read and are always heartwarming. Sentimentally, it takes a long time to get her going because she’s the most stubborn of all women, but there are many ways to make her fall in love- once fully cooked she comes alive and turns into a comforting, familiar, purposeful and long-lasting partner.

Lady Tomato– this one is juicy, exotic, and fragrant- the woman all women admire and feel threatened by (and rightfully so). She’s warm and organic but also sharp and ballsy. She’s not necessarily trying to be in everyone’s faces, but she enjoys the spotlight and it’s usually impossible to ignore her. She’s artsy, crafty, well read and well travelled- a citizen of the world with interest in politics, arts and gastronomy who also has a taste for unique clothes and accessories. She personalizes everything she touches and her style is easily recognizable as a tasteful combination of unique elements, both old and new, bold and discrete, industrial and ethnic. She’s very social, probably dedicated to various charity causes and a community- builder. Interesting and delicious, she has the zest  for life that makes the subject of life- long passions and friendships. Comfortable in any situation and any entourage, she’s a fantastic lover and one of the few females who get better with age.

Lady Lettuce– out of the bunch, this one is the absolute party girl, the “yes” woman- for her, life is a fun game, and a breeze. Loud, sincere and unidimensional, she comes and goes as she pleases and can easily be mixed with any group, anytime, anywhere. She’s the one standing out through her outfits, her crazy hair, her voice and her ability to fill up the room with her presence. She knows the latest jokes, cares about the latest fashions, remembers everyone’s birthdays- she’s a true networker. She can be very smart, but she normally prefers not to get herself involved in delicate issues such as politics or religion (or philosophy, for that matter). She’s always down to play, ready for any adventure, simple and tonic, fun and actual. She rarely falls in love, and when she’s cooked smitten she retires in her den to lick her wounds- so you won’t ever see her other than rational, fresh and ready to go. The best PR agents are lettuces.

Lady Celery– you know a celery because 1. she’s probably wearing her hair short and 2. her perfume is something citrusy. She’s a tyrant of the gym and her body is a temple. She exercises, she eats well, she trims and plucks and moisturizes and she has very specific tastes in everything. She’s subject to a self-imposed draconic discipline which she respects and follows 24/7. She’s tough, she’s clean, she’s detailed and she makes a very dedicated friend, with the condition that you don’t mess with her routines, schedule or diet. She never half-asses things, and she’s always in control of her feelings, her surroundings and her professional life- in short, she’s a tank. She makes a great lover, because her relationships are built with the same dedication, discipline and no-drama attitude. Nadia Comaneci (if you don’t know who that is, shame on you- go look her up) is a classic celery.

Lady Bean– dry, smart and tough as nails, this gal is one of the most interesting in the whole bunch although she does have a tendency to be a misanthrope. She’s the ageless woman dedicated to reading, cats and fashion and usually she’s an apparition you want to touch, listen to, watch and have around. She’s probably a chain smoker, a master at cards and a connaisseur of all society games. Her tastes are refined but she sometimes surprises with her improbable choices- like her preference to drink beer dressed in the most elegant of gowns, at the most exclusive, champagne-only ball. She has an incredible sense of (dry) humor, which she uses to guard herself as she’s, in fact, a softie. It comes in all shapes and sizes, but it always takes a loooooooong time to get her going and reach her un-protected, raw, loving core- once there, though, she’s one of the most delicious, surprising, satiating girls out there.

 

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friday ‘finking | mother fucking

Twisted thoughts can come from the most poetic of concepts.

Last night I went to the the premiere of Jana and Baladoor, a phantasmagorical creation of the master that still is (albeit one reputably hard to work with) Bahram Beizai. A crazy production of shadow puppets, lights, live music and ridiculously good writing, it kept me on my seat with my eyes glued to the surtitles, my ear perched on the high note of literary Farsi and my soul melting over the two storytellers (one of them being the brilliant Mohsen Namjoo) who did more than what I thought a performer is able to do by simply using the humble instrument of the human body. It was GOOD. Visionary good.

The story is quasicomplicated, well-rounded, sensible, filled with symbolic characters grander than life and, therefore, beyond morals as we, mortals, understand them. This one chick (essence of water and precursor of everything meant to give life) sleeps with her earth, fire and wind siblings. Now, THAT is entertaining to watch (picture flat shadow puppets going at it behind a screen) but also pretty shortcircuiting to deal with in the brain- generally because fucking your sister and brothers is not an easy-breezy subject, and particularly since this play is in Farsi (religious military, anyone?). That being said, the writing and the mis-en-scene managed to somehow separate the earthly meanings from the concept in a way that, in my humble opinion, is what artistic excellence is made of.

Now, on to the twisted part (that’s what you’re here for, right?). In one scene, after having made love to one of her siblings, Baladoor iterates: I am a virgin, and I am your own and my own mother.

That got me thinking- what is sex, anyway, if not a way of recreating one’s birth? All men we know came from some birth canal- the same, in essence, as the one they’re trying to put their penis into every time they utter a pick-up line. Boys come into this world head first, prying open their mothers from the inside out, materializing an expulsion, creating a void they no longer inhabit and opening a tract throughout the path taken in their passing. When they copulate, it’s the other way around. They shut an opening, they fill in the void, they recreate the motion outside-in, they start with their extremities (their penis, their fingers, whatever) and, if we were to imagine a vagina becoming this great vacuum sucking a whole man in, the head would be, somehow, the last part to see the light of day.

That being said, are men ever trying, unconsciously, to go back? Does that mean they’re looking not for sex, but to un-birth themselves by sex with [some, their, future] Mothers? 

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fashion wednesdays | 3 perfumes that smell like sheets

My eyes are bad, my ears are bad, my fingertips are busted and my taste buds- oversolicited. My nose, however, works with the unbearable precision of finding- in a restaurant, let’s say- the one women around me who’s having her period. It can remember things better than my brain, it can judge pheromones better than match.com can compute compatibility, it can save me from food poisoning and it can guide me to all the real things in my life- real sterling silver, real leather, real EDP, real love.

I live by my smell. Over the years I gave in to its not-so-royal bearings, abandoning my tastes and displeasures to the mercy of my too-small-for-my-head, never-stuffy, third-world nuzzle (I don’t mean no disrespect to nature or my parents’ genes, but the monster that adorns my face does not deserve the human, delicate, normal title of “nose”. No, sir-ee. The thing that announces me who farted, what it is they ate a few hours ago and how much they’re sweating with shame because of it is not a nose. The animal that makes me wet my underwear at the simple whiff of a [I’ll keep this one to myself] is not a nose. The machine that, infallibly, makes me weep with nostalgia every time I smell old powder boxes is not a nose.

What I have is called, scientifically, a proboscis. An organ that, once activated by a few random molecules of [..take a pick], takes over my face, my consciousness and my whole being and makes me into a slave of air and what the air can carry. (Speaking of which, if you ever find me wandering aimlessly, empty-eyed and looking like I haven’t washed or eaten in days,  please take pity in me and direct me to my home as I’m probably under some new olfactory spell and out of my self… just sayin’). Good or bad is not a discussion here, as I remember being equally fascinated by fermenting menure, and water lilies (which, by the way, do have a smell). As soon as esters or some other odor molecules start brewing, my nose is there and the rest of me has to follow.

With this type of undiscriminating snout, all I can do is cross my fingers and hope most of the stuff coming my way is not unpleasant. And most isn’t -maybe because in America people shower and brush their teeth more, or maybe because the sewage system is usually in working conditions, or maybe because I’ve sniffed soooooo many things that I rarely get surprised anymore.

No surprise, then, that I am the biggest fragrance whore you’ve ever met- and, while I’ll still go for more, here are three of my latest- and most remarkable- lovers:

1. The sheet in a black and white nude photograph

White afternoon, a bit moist- like all fall afternoons in Paris-, a bit chilly but still languorous, like the naked back of the summer lying on a day bed. The model is up, you can see her slender legs in the background, blurry, beautiful and shiny- she’s almost naked, soft, comfortable, wrapped in sheets and talking to the photographer. He has a funny hat and two sad eyes, she has a gap in her front teeth and curly, short hair. They like each other, even though she has many lovers and he- none but his black room. The wind is blowing soundlessly through the white curtains, the studio smells a bit like coffee, a bit like cold and the stage is still set. No fish nets, they ended up using a sheet and the straight light coming through the blinds… The street is roaming many stories below, you can hear the cafe bell going off with every customer and the day is sharp and lazy like a demoiselle with too many admirers.

What We Do in Paris is Secret from A Lab on Fire, 2012 (perfumer: Dominique Ropion)- a deep, discrete, addictive, thoroughly feminine, unique scent. This perfume is sophisticated.

what we do in paris is secret | a lab on fire

What they say it smells like: bergamot/ Turkish rose/ Tonka bean

What I smell: honey, lychee, clover, heliotrope and vanilla, sandalwood, amber, a bit of rose and some flower I can’t name (a sweeter bergamot… if it exists).

Sillage: on my skin, less than 2 hours- which is disappointing. However, the dry-down is strong and loyal to what the perfume smells like when you put it on- which is not something I’m used to.

Overall: extremely well constructed, unique and sophisticated formula… a tour de force.

2. The sheet the baker hangs on his door

The vacation you see in glossy magazine is, fortunately, not real. The polished, tan, perfectly poised women and men drinking cordials in their steril white pants, suspended in a motionless dusk air, do not exist- and neither does the clean, sharp sound you imagine  their teeth to make when they’re hitting the edge of their glass.

What is real is the dust, the color changing under your eyes with every hour that passes, the constant humming of the local market, the cloying smells of the butchers and the spice merchants and the leather workers, the hunger, the jet lag. What is real is the knot in your stomach and the conscious feeling that now-and-here is a fortuitous, mortal, indescribable and unrepeatable moment so painfully precious that you are already nostalgic for the time in the future when you’ll be missing it. And so you breathe it in, you look around, you zoom in on details and worry you won’t remember how every cobble street seems to be birthing cats, how every woman here has eyes inside her eyes and how the baker, before leaving his shop for the afternoon prayer, put a sheet in the door so that the bees don’t make it, once again, to his freshly-made Turkish delight.

Traversee du Bosphore | L’Artisan Parfumeur, 2010 (perfumer: Bertrand Duchaufour)- a gourmand-but-fresh Oriental fragrance that is sweet without being cloying, clean without being watery and fruity without being legere. This perfume is collective/ alive.

traversee du bosphore | l’artisan parfumeur

What they say it smells like: iris/ leather/ turkish delight

What I smell: leather, champagne, iris, saffron, tulip, vanilla, musk, figs and a bit of hyacinth.

Sillage: very good, 6-8 hours with a soft, organic, powdery dry-down.

3. The sheet for making silent love by the sea side

I remember a time when I was very young, very pretty, very free and and very thin- so thin, that when I lied down my hip bones poked through my skin on each side of my Venus bump, looking like big, clumsy butterfly wings spread on my inside and immobilized by my flesh before ever taking flight.

One unnamed summer I went to the seaside with my boyfriend- back then, nothing but a big boy- and we took a room with a local. A white room, freshly painted, with a big old bed covered with big old white sheets embroidered by hand by small, long gone old women. A silent, clean, airy white room with a window covered in fat geraniums and not much else but ripe youth and silent love.

I remember going for a swim, then sitting on the old white sheets and not talking much, then going for a swim, then sitting in the sun, then being kissed THERE and not talking much, then being melted and ravenous and closing my eyes and becoming oh-so-aware of the insides of my head, the outsides of my body, and the bitter taste of the old bed by the Black Sea.

Alba | Profvmvm Roma, 2004- an organic, bodily, nutty, sexy and serene fragrance that doesn’t need much talking. This perfume is raw.

alba | profvmvm roma

What they say it smells like: anise, musk, amber, vanilla, hazelnut.

What it really smells like: musk, ambergris, oakwood, hazelnuts, grass, aniseed, rock salt.

Sillage: very good, 4-6 hours with a pungent, present, woody dry- down.

Overall: a fantastic, albeit underrated creation of PR, singular and remarkable. For me, a definite stay.

 

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flying Mondays | 10 rules for travel

For me, flying is surrender. For you it may not be. But if you expect things to go as planned and insist on thinking you know everything happening at the other end of your flight,.. well,…that’s pretty unrealistic, but that’s your choice (probably because you’re a dreamer, or you’re OCD. Which is fine, but not fun (I know. Trust me, I know)).

Personally, when I fly, I put my hands in the air, I shrug and I prepare to take in whatever may come. I ca-pi-tu-late. Continue reading

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