Sometimes being a woman kind of sucks (this is a shocker to all, I know). The life of a woman is not always a Shania Twain dance-fest (am I dating myself?); sometimes the fun aspects of being a girl (men’s shirts, short skirts) can be just plain inconvenient. Sure, it’s ridiculously fun to get all dolled up for a night out dancing with the girls, curling your hair while singing along to Top 40 songs, but then you get to the club and realize - motherfucker, now you have to carry around your super cute clutch all night, and even though it’s super cute, you really wish you had a freaking pocket or something to put your cell phone/lipstick/taser inside instead.
After all, how’s a girl supposed to show off her latest dance moves if she has one of those cumbersome purse wrist straps holding her down? If she’s with a willing male companion (or a woman who happens to be wearing a pocket-endowed getup, of course), she can force him to stretch out his pants’ pockets by loading him down with all her night-out essentials, but that’s just a lose-lose situation (he has to avoid snapping her credit card in half when he sits, and she has to confront the fact that she’s basically not a truly independent woman).
Thankfully, Elizabeth Anne LeGear, a 28-year old Canadian entrepreneur, came up with an ingenious solution that’s sure to make everyone quite content in this unfortunate weekend-night scenario: Purse N’ Shoes. Her idea was elegantly simple and oh-so-brilliant: she combined women’s two favorite accessories (purses and shoes) into one super stylish and comfortable package.
Elizabeth Anne’s gorgeous boots are comfortable enough to hit the dance floor in, yet cute enough to ensure more than one compliment per outing. My personal favorite is the Indian Princess style (can you tell I’m from the Southwest?):
The best part? No one would ever be able to tell that functional little pockets are built right into these boots’ interior structures to hold all the essentials. The shoes’ hidden pockets hold everything you could possibly decide you need when you go out for a night of fun: your iPhone, Blackberry, makeup, cash, ID, loose change, even your passport (you know, for when you plan to have a REALLY good night). While all your friends get their purses searched at the concert security checkpoints, you’ll waltz right on through (not that, you know, I condone sneaking in anything worth sneaking in…).
Shoes that are fashion-forward, comfortable, AND will let you bust out your killer “Gangnam Style” gallup like no one’s business? Now that’s good shit.
As I mentioned earlier, I was quite sick last week, which basically sucked overall but which also graciously allowed me plentiful time in which to catch up on a book that I started a couple months back and that had been, frankly, causing me a great deal of suffering, because I wanted to keep reading it so desperately but I couldn’t because I had no time because life truly does, even when you’re not sick, suck. But then there are bright spots (having my dog curled up on my lap whilst reading, getting paid for not working, clearing out the deep phlegm-coated regions of my lungs with all that hacking) and life is forgiven for all the shit. For a moment, anyway.
The book that tormented me with its relentless flirtations? Sheila Heti’s absolutely beyond brilliant “How Should A Person Be?”
If you are any of the following, you will enjoy this book:
a) Between the ages of 20 and 50.
b) Female, or not female.
c) Someone who doubts themselves from time to time.
d) An artist, or an admirer of art.
e) None of the above.
What I love most about this fictional novel is how incredibly unique and unconventional it is. The short summary of the plot is this: it revolves a character named Sheila (who is the author, but also not) who lives in Toronto and wants to be a writer and has a best friend named Margaux who’s a painter. Sheila is trying to uncover who she really is after escaping a stale marriage, but she goes about her self-discovery in all the wrong ways: she tries to fashion herself after some grand societal notions of how women/artists/anyone “should” be, which is not sustainable. She throws herself into contrived sexual relationships and begins a play which she cannot complete and compromises her friendship with Margaux because, at its core, the identity she tries to adopt is not genuine.
I could not have found this book at a better time, because it so perfectly echoes my own personal grievances, as well as that, I think of my generation and those that followed - a mass of young people who were given entirely too much room to “discover” themselves with no resources and no real grounding. I don’t mean that in the “poor spoiled rich girl with too many options” a la HBO’s “Girls” sense (although it was through a recommendation from Lena Dunham in some magazine that led me to seek out this novel); I mean merely to point out that our current societal tendency to encourage people to have it all, to be everything they want to be, while also forcing them to conform to some pretty strict ideals of what that SHOULD be is something that will inevitably threaten individuality, and, subsequently art, altogether.
In an interview in the August 2012 issue of Nylon magazine, Heti explained her use of unconventional format in the book, which incorporates normal narrative, dialogue (with no action), and a play format of breaking the story up into acts:
“The book is about how to be ugly in the world - and that maybe it’s OK to be ugly, maybe you need to be. For me, ugliness is a lack of control, so the book had to have that feeling of looseness or freedom or ugliness or lack of inhibition. I guess when you’re inhibited, you’re trying to hide parts of yourself. And the idea of this book is, ‘What is it like if you allow all those parts of yourself to exist in the world?’”
What is normal, anyway, and what is ugly? Who’s to say that the ugly isn’t beautiful? The thoughtful discussion of these questions are why you should go read this book right now. But, of course, that’s only if you want to… who am I to tell you who to be?
THE 8 FRIENDS EVERY GIRL NEEDS
The Very Wise One. Whether you need job advice or help getting over a broken heart, a wise friend is essential to any girl’s life. This person listens to you and always offers up solid, sound advice. She always see both sides to a story (yes, it might sometimes annoy you that she sees your ex’s side of the story too) and sometimes just listening to her feels inspiring. She pushes you and you know you can trust her 100%.
The One Who Offers Up Her Shoulder. In any girl’s life there are tough times and sometimes you just need a familiar face and shoulder to cry on. Sometimes there is no advice to give or problem to fix, you just need to let it out and have a good cry…and know you aren’t alone.
The Experienced One. Having someone older who has been there and done that is a fabulous resource. This might be an older sibling or a mentor, or just someone who bloomed quicker than you! Who is supposed to pay on a business lunch? She’s got the answers. Need a wedding planner? No problem, her friend got married last month. Have a question about how to navigate the LA freeways? She knows every secret route there is to know.
The One Who Can Always Make You Laugh. Not everyone is great at advice or knowing how to handle tough situations, but laughter is an endless source of comfort during a trying time. A good friend who knows when to send over a funny YouTube video or make a funny face is priceless.
The One You Can Count On For a Good Time. This girl knows all the best spots to go out. Whether you want a really trendy dinner or a night out on the town dancing, she knows the place. She is friends with everyone she meets and conversation with her is never dull. She’s an endless source of energy and can pull you out and show you a good time even when you insist on sitting at home and feeling sorry for yourself. This girl knows that sometimes the best medicine is just a distraction.
The Fiercely Loyal One. This is the girl who will hold your hair when you hit the booze a little too hard that one night in Vegas. She will slap your (now) ex-boyfriend in the face for cheating on you. She’ll protect you as best she can, because keeping you from pain is important to her. You know you can count on her for a ride to the gynecologist when you have a daunting appointment or take you to the airport at 6am. She’s got your back.
The One Who Has Known You the Longest. She’s the girl who knows you inside and out. She knows your favorite color, how old you were when you lost your virginity, that repetitive noises make you tick, and that frozen yogurt always cheers you up. You caught chicken pox from each other in preschool, you experienced your first crushes together… and first heartbreak, you cried for her when she got into her dream college, and she encouraged you to start your own business. She is your BFF and even if you live hundreds of miles apart, she’s only a phone call and a plane ride away should you ever really need her.