Monday, August 29, 2011

Sophia Loren Can Do No Wrong.

By Ginger Murray

​Having a fetish for underarms is known as "Axillism." But what about armpit hair? On men it's accepted -- there are a number of gay websites dedicated to armpit hair sexiness. This same hair on women, however, provokes a range of reactions. It can inspire desire, cause disgust, and for many, it is the de facto badge of a feminist.

Vibha Raval says, "I don't have any hair below my eyebrows, ever, but I am not any less feminist." For her it's an issue of hygiene, personal preference, and modernity. However, Vivian De Milo, a gender queer fetish model and artist, loves it.

"I think body hair, armpit hair in particular, is smokin' hot on femme and female bodied people. It turns me on and tickles my pickle."

​Sexy or not sexy, political or personal? The question rages on, but what about the stink factor?
For years, when I was stressed or excited, my armpits would put out an honest to goodness rankness. Despite those few who were turned on by it, I didn't even like smelling myself. My stench once cleared a dance floor. I tried all manner of deodorants but nothing worked. Then one day, a friend asked me, "have you ever just tried not shaving?"

Like most American girls, I began shaving as soon those first little hairs emerged and so, no, the thought had never crossed my mind. As an experiment, I threw away the razor and let it grow.

Surprise: No more stinking. Wild. I have now become a confirmed hairy armpit gal, and those who got a kick out of my particular odor will just have to come a lot closer. And some will.

Photographer Rosie Jones says, "The most important and fascinating role of hair is to be a part of the olfactory communication. The smell of each and every human being is different and unique -- pheromones produce this distinct smell. Hair holds in itself this unique scent and helps humans to identify and respond to others. Therefore body hair is sex and is sexy. But I can't help but whip it off for aesthetic reasons."

And of course those aesthetics keep a lot of wax and razor companies in business. In fact, it was a marketing campaign that put a smooth, hairless underarm on the map. In 1917, the Wilkinson Sword Co., which made razor blades for men, created advertising to persuade women that underarm hair was unfeminine. The sales of razor blades quickly doubled, and culture was altered.

So whatever your preference, the beauty of our postmodern world is that for the most part, you can do as you damn well please. But Tracey Snyder Stone offers this word of advice, "Hair is sexy if kept neat and clean. Man or woman." Indeed, although there are those who like it dirty, real dirty.

The Sweet Spot is a blog column about alternative sexuality by Ginger Murray, the editor of Whore! magazine.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Article: What Size Are You, Really?

- Lisa Marsh

Like most new moms, Erin Correale wants to whip her wardrobe back into shape.

Correale has it easier than most. At 38, she’s within 10 pounds of the weight she’s been since her teenage years. But her clothing size isn’t.

“I wear a size two in Ann Taylor, a four in Banana Republic, a six in Old Navy, a four at Coldwater Creek and a friend told me about Chico’s, but told me I would have to look at a size zero,” she says. “I never like size zero—it’s encouraging people to be waifs. That doesn’t make me feel good.”

Sizes zero, two, four and six all for one woman? Is Correale lost in the looking glass, growing and shrinking at every turn like Alice, or is there something seriously askew with the sizing of clothing?

It’s no mistake. The American apparel industry has created an intentional system of “Vanity Sizing.” The increasing use of the smaller sizes—a size 12 in 1970 is now in the size four-six-eight range—is meant to make consumers feel better about buying clothing.

Standards—or Lack Thereof

When it comes to sizing, there are no universal standards. A woman with a traditional hourglass figure with 36-24-36 measurements can wear anything from a size zero to a size ten, depending on the brand and whether it’s sold at the designer, contemporary, junior, bridge or mass level.

The only standard that does exist is to con the buyer into believing she’s smaller. Over time, sizes are getting roomier, allowing women to believe they can still squeeze into a more desirable size two, four, six or even eight.

“At this point, sizes are meaningless. They’re more relative than anything else,” Bill Ivers, chief operating officer of MSA Models told YouBeauty. His agency specializes in providing fit models for designers and brands.

“Sizes are not standard by design,” he explained. “It helps brands be unique and offer an edge over the competition. Brands are looking for brand loyalty and if last season you were an eight and this season you’re a size six, that’s a sales tool. We all look to apparel to make us look good, feel comfortable and confident.”

Even celebrities fall victim to the need for vanity sizing.

One actress cold-called Robert Verdi, style director at and a celebrity stylist who regularly works with stars like Eva Longoria and Kathy Griffin, and asked him to wardrobe her for multiple appearances during an awards season.

Her publicist said the actress was a size 12, and because they were working on a quick turnaround of less than three weeks, Verdi couldn’t ask designers to make anything custom, so had to rely on pieces designers had in stock.

“We looked at pictures of this woman and I called her publicist back and asked her, is she really a size 12?” he told YouBeauty. “The publicist insisted she was a 12.”

When Verdi and his team packed the dresses up for the trip to Los Angeles, “we snuck in some 14s, 16s and even some 18s.”

Though Verdi told the actress that everything was a “size 12,” the actress “wasn’t happy,” he said. She ultimately wore several of his picks, but one of the dresses was altered to fit by making it six-to-eight inches shorter. The fabric was then added as a panel on the back of the dress so the “size 12” would fit.

“She didn’t want to be bigger than that in her head. A number means so much to so many people,” he added. That's really too bad since the numbers are pretty much meaningless and there are no standards in place.

This lack of sizing standards wasn’t always the case.

Until January 20, 1983, the U.S. Department of Commerce and the National Institute of Standards and Technology offered specifics for the sizing of apparel with body measurements for men, women, junior women, young men and children. These standards began in the late 1940s as a byproduct of the necessity for size-standardization in military uniforms during World War Two. Committees that included textile manufacturers, designers and retailers worked with the Department of Agriculture to determine these sizing standards and all adhered to it.

The program was discontinued in 1983. The measurements were not keeping up with the typical American body, which was changing due to better medicine and nutrition, along with an influx of new and varied ethnic groups. Sponsorship of these standards was assumed by private industry. That marked the start of sizing’s new Wild West, a lawless, volatile environment that continues today.

An End in Sight?

“Each designer has their own vision of what they imagine as the ideal person to wear their clothing,” explained Tanya Shaw to YouBeauty. “Designers will hold true to what they believe.”

Shaw is the founder and president of MyBestFit, a sizing system that scans your body for about 10 seconds and then provides you with sizing recommendations for styles from over 30 brands like the Gap, Old Navy, Talbots and J Brand.

“We help customers decode sizing and that makes shopping as simple as uniformity,” she explained. “We should find clothes that fit our bodies, not sizes we like to hear.”

The company currently operates one scanner at the King of Prussia Mall in the suburbs of Philadelphia, PA, but will be adding 45 more locations in fall 2011. Though a Personal Shopping Guide from MyBestFit in King of Prussia will only provide resources that are in that mall, you can enter your identifying code on the company’s web site to find what other sizes and brands will fit you when shopping at another location or online.

“When you cut the confusion out, consumers buy more,” Shaw said. “They have told us the conversion rate [from shopper to buyer] of 100 customers is normally 20 percent. With MyBestFit, in some cases, it’s as high as 90 percent. Imagine if you went into a fitting room and it all fit—your shopping time is more productive.”

Cricket Lee is taking it a step further and attempting to get standards back into the lexicon of apparel makers and designers. She founded Fitlogic, a patented sizing system that fits by body type and size. Though it is now accepting pre-orders online for fall shipments, Lee has spent five years struggling to bring it to market. Because each brand has its own sizing, designers and apparel manufacturers weren’t interested.
Her labeling categorizes women in three shape groups—circle, hourglass and triangle—and the Fitlogic label carries the traditional size plus a number for one of these categories.

“The truth will set you free and if you know you’re a size four and shape three, you know a size 4.3 in FitLogic will fit you every time,” Lee explained. “Women don’t have the time to mess with trying on sizes. It is debilitating to walk into a fitting room with 10 pairs of pants and have nothing fit.”

“It’s progress and it will happen,” she added. “If this can reduce return by 75 percent, how can designers and retailers ignore it?”

MSA Models’ Ivers is skeptical that day will come. “There is no universal fit and I doubt that there ever will be. If five people take measurements of the same person, there will be five different measurements,” he said. “Consumers have to learn to adapt to the fact that today you’re a size zero and tomorrow, you’re a four.”

While new mom Correale admits she “loved being a size two at Ann Taylor, I didn’t really believe it.” Shopping certainly isn’t any easier. “I don’t know how to shop other than taking three sizes into the fitting room or having someone run back and forth for me. It never works.”

Shopping woes aside, maybe Lee is correct and the truth will set you free. If knowing that a number on a tag is meaningless will free you from getting hung up on sizes and allow you to focus on the best fit for you, maybe it's not such a bad thing after all.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Size 2 = Curvy?

I was logging onto Yahoo Messenger this afternoon and saw this headline:

Now I have no issues with Jennifer Love Hewitt as a person (although I don't  follow Celebrity News so really she could be an awful human being and I'd have no idea). What I do have is an issue with media saying that, "Actress Jennifer Love Hewitt proved that real women do have curves upon arriving at the premiere of her latest movie..."

SHE IS A SIZE 2!!!!!

So what I want to know is since when does a size 2 equal "curvy"? I'm not saying her breasts and hips aren't "curvy" but only because the rest of her is so tiny!And what kind of message is that sending to women (and girls) who are sizes 12 or 22?

I Need to Move.

According to OKCupid, I live in "the most promiscuous city in the nation".... I'm obviously living in the wrong city....

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Unless you're reading this in Portland, the most promiscuous city in the nation, you have some work to do -- at least according to The start-up dating site has taken on the envious job of determining which cities are most likely to engage in casual sex. Along the way, they've also compiled some sex-related infographics correlating the mundane and the risque (for instance, a ven-diagram of 'people who eat oatmeal,' and 'people who, like, really go at it').

How were these distinctions awarded? OkCupid told the HuffPost it all ties back to the percentage of users in each city who list "Casual Sex" as one of the relationship types they seek. While we're thrilled two of HuffPost's Locals broke the top 10 (Denver and San Francisco), we're disappointed neither of them grab number one by the... uh, never mind.

10. Houston, TX
9. San Diego, CA*
8. Denver, CO
7. San Bernardino, CA*
6. Dallas, TX
5. San Francisco, CA*
4. Miami, FL
3. Pittsburgh, PA
2. Seattle, WA
1. Portland, OR*

*          *          *

Oh and I have lived in (or very close too) 4 out of the top 10 (marked by *).... I think I need to start rethinking where I move to. Where's the list of the top 10 cities to find someone to settle down with?
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I wrote the above piece first thing this morning. This afternoon I came across an email that has some interesting overlap. This article was called "Top 10 Cities for Single Women" - based on surveys and research done by (I know such a well known research institute) the following ten cities were considered most desirable for single woman (based off what their research found single woman found "desirable").

10. San Jose, CA
9. New York, NY
8. Las Vegas, NV
7. Los Angeles, CA
6. Chicago, IL
5. Washington DC
4. Denver, CO
3. Austin, TX
2. Seattle, WA
1. Phoenix, AZ

So wait, if you combine the two lists does that mean the promiscuous single women live mostly in Denver and Seattle?

Just kidding folks. Although it does make you wonder who is looking for "Casual Sex" in those first Top-10 if not the "Single Women"?

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Common Courtesy (a rant)

I need to rant here for a moment so I hope you don't mind..... and if you do, well that's too damn bad and you can just move along. 

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Now, I will start off by saying that my last entry was about Mr. CT and since writing that blog I have told him how I feel and am now wearing my heart on my sleeve. Did I call him up and say I want you to be mind? No. Did I email him like a nervous little school girl, rambling about how I like him and don't want to put labels on what and who we are but that I like him and am not interested in "dating" anyone else? You bet I did!

Hello World, my name is Morgan and I have a giant yellow streak down my back when it comes to expressing my feelings to men. 

So it's been put out into the Universe and now I'm just waiting to see what happens.... aside from the Universe plopping a sexy handsome international attorney into my lap two days ago.  Oh, and did I mention he's local? And by local I mean here in Portland/Vancouver!! Not sure if this is a test to see if I'm really ready for Mr CT and I to be solo or if this is the Universe's way of saying Mr. CT is not the one.... damn you!

*                 *                 *

Anyway, this blog wasn't meant to be a rant about me being a fickly mistress, this blog is about "Common Courtesy" and how it does/should still apply to online dating. 

Now I realize that online dating is a lot like speed dating. It's an opportunity to meet a variety of people quickly, all at the same time, and if you don't like what you see across the proverbial table... you move along. 

However, I also believe that once you have exchanged a handful of emails, have discussed likes/dislikes, have flirted, have chatted.... it is COMMON COURTESY to say if you are no longer interested! I believe that after all the above it is polite to say "well thanks, but I just don't feel the chemistry" or "good luck on your search but I've found someone local"... Hell I'd accept "I've decided to delete my account and join a monastery!" 

The point is - that you would (or at least I hope not) get up from the table, on a f2f date, excuse yourself to the restroom and just not come back. Would you? Most respectable people wouldn't. They'd have that friend call at 7:03 pretending to be an emergency or you'd say "thanks for a nice evening, but I have an early meeting in the morning". Even if you ended the evening with the common dating white lie "I'll call you".... at least you're saying "Goodbye"

There have been two men (three if you count the fact that Mr. CT deleted his online account before we could really get emailing) who have chatted with me for weeks -- series of emails discussing anything and everything... at times perhaps more than if we had been across an actual table sharing drinks after work -- that have just "disappeared" so to speak. 

The first one mentioned in his last email he was going camping for the weekend and would email me upon his return. The weekend came and went and no emails. After a few weeks (you can see roughly the last time someone was logged in when you/they have marked each other as a "favorite") I just began to assume he'd been eaten by some starting Canadian bear.  I just looked (prior to this blog) to see if it still listed his last log in as "2+ weeks", NOPE "Earlier This Week"! So his "I'm going camping" and "I'll email you on Monday" was a digital combination of a "bathroom break" and "I'll call you". 

The next one literally just "disappeared" and deleted his account... TWICE! The first time I noticed his profile didn't show up under my favs, I figured oh well, we hadn't emailed that often. Then he reappeared one day and sent me an email. His email account had been hacked so he was deleting and recreating various accounts. So we started emailing again, back and forth, multiple times a day. Then this morning *poof* GONE AGAIN. 


Now I'm sure both of these men had perfectly "logical" reasons for these occurrences.  But at the same time.... something old fashioned courtesy queen in me says this is FAR from okay. Common courtesy isn't hard. Saying "thanks but no thanks" makes a person feel a lot less like an undesirable leper. 

Friday, August 19, 2011

How Do You Know?

How do you know when you're done "looking around" and "keeping doors open"? 

What are the signs you're ready to see what can happen with that ONE special one you found? 

And do you even begin to say that out loud to the person? 

It's been years and I feel old and rusty.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Is Age Really Just a Number?

The inspiration for this blog came from the dating site I'm a member of. Despite being very smitten with Mr. CT - I'm trying to "keep my options open" (as a friend so wisely recommended) and have not closed my profile. I'm not on the site searching through other people's pages, but am leaving mine up for others to contact me (I know this isn't the way to find a date but really I'm more interested in seeing what happens with Mr. CT than anything else at this point). 

Anyway. I've noticed that either mostly men over 40 are looking at my profile (you can see who has viewed you recently on this site) or there are only mostly over 40 men on this website.

Is it because by 40+ men don't feel the same pressure as younger men to conform and date "super model" looking woman? Is it because they're looking for a younger woman to make them feel young? Or is it just something about me that appeals to older men?

Not that I want to judge all older men based off my first-first date experience but I think that date showed me that there might be an age limit for me. Someone who hasn't experienced everything I've yet to (marriage/divorce, traveling, etc) or at least wants to do them again (i.e., have children).  I understand the benefits of the "older man" - ready to settle down, done with the "bachelor lifestyle", secure in job/finances....but I think for me ten years older is really my maximum. Anything over that and I start playing the mental "Are you closer to my age or my mother's?" game (fyi Mr. 1st 1st Date was closer to my mothers....eek)

On the reverse side I definitely feel that there is a limit to how young I could/would date. 

Yesterday I saw a 20 year old had viewed my profile. Now he didn't make contact but the first thing I thought when I saw his age (age mind you not profile/picture) was "Oh hell no!".

Mostly because my younger sister is only 20 and since I helped raise her after my parents divorced I some how can't get the Baby C's Age = Child (I still call her and her bf "The Kids")... which brings me to her boyfriend... he's 22 and I still don't think I could date someone that young. Sure they're old enough to go to the bars (where a 20 year old can't even do that!)... but I'd forever thing Mr. X = Same Age as Nick-Nick.

No thank you.

I think the youngest I could go... probably only a year or two younger than myself... or at least for now. I've been out of school for five years, have worked at a number of businesses and organizations as well as moved around a bit. Just like I don't want to be with someone who has experienced much more life than I have I don't want to be with someone who is still discovering who they are. (Not to say younger people haven't "lived" more than I).

However, as a general rule of thumb I don't (or at least try not to) prejudge based on age. I'll engage in conversation, reply to an email, but I can't help but wonder how much farther than a "hello" it will go.

What about you? How much older/younger have you dated?

Tuesday, August 9, 2011


I remember being somewhere around 9 or 10 the first time I shaved my legs. I didn't need to, the hair was blond and "peach-fuzz" but it was thicker and (in my opinion) more visible than my friends. I didn't ask my mom or someone to help me with how. It just seemed instinctual. Now years later, I'm still shaving my legs and often wish for thin peach fuzz again.  

I think my first real exposure, however, to the conversation about hair "down below" was when I first read Eve Ensler's The Vagina Monologues in college, and the piece called "Hair"

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"You cannot love a vagina unless you love hair. My first and only husband hated hair. He said it was cluttered and dirty. He made me shave my vagina. It looked puffy and exposed and like a little girl. This excited him. When he made live to me, my vagina felt the way a beard must feel. It felt good to rub it, and painful. Like scratching a mosquito bite. It felt like it was on fire. There were screaming red bumps. I refused to shave again. Then my husband had an affair. 

When we went to marital therapy, he said he screwed around because I wouldn't please him sexually. I wouldn't shave my vagina. The therapist had a thick German accent and gasped between sentences to show her empathy. She asked me why I didn't want to please my husband. I told her I thought it was weird. I felt little when my hair was gone down there, and couldn't help talking in a baby voice, and the skin got irritated and even calamine lotion wouldn't help it. She told me marriage was a compromise. I asked her if shaving my vagina would stop him from screwing around. I asked her if she'd had many cases like this before. She said that questions diluted the process. I needed to jump in. She was sure it was a good beginning.

"This time when we got home, he got to shave my vagina. It was like a therapy bonus prize. He clipped it a few times, and there was a little blood in the bathtub. He didn't even notice it, 'cause he was so happy shaving me. Then, later, when my husband was pressing against me, I could feel his spiky sharpness sticking into me, my naked puffy vagina. There was no protection. There was no fluff.

"I realized then that hair is there for a reason-it's the leaf around the flower, the lawn around the house. You have to love hair in order to love the vagina. You can't pick the parts you want. And besides, my husband never stopped screwing around."

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I've heard feminists and friends (sometimes one person in both roles) speak on both the pro-hair and pro-shaving side. Women who wax all together, shave a "landing strip", a "V" and those who don't trim at all. I personally don't think there's a "right" or "wrong" way to keep your hair. 

Do I have preferences? 
Who doesn't?

Earlier in my blog I praised the NYTimes for having an article (in the Fashion & Style section) about the choice women make on whether or not to shave (arms, pits, legs, vaginas, etc). Then later on they ran another article - this time focusing on men and hair

We seem to be at a tug-of-war struggle between women encouraging others to let it grow (au naturel) and marketing ads pushing men  it's time to take the razor plunge and remove it all. 

Would you shave it all or let it all grow in for the one you love? 
Do you have a preference for hair or no hair? 
Do you see it as a political statement or a marketing ploy?

To shave or not to shave?

Thursday, August 4, 2011

A Thrisis?

20 Somethings - Get ready for a "Thrisis"

By Andrea Lavinthal and Jessical Rozler

(CNN) -- Despite lackluster reviews and declining ratings we're holding out hope for "$#*! My Dad Says," the new CBS comedy starring William Shatner. No, we're not particularly big fans of the 79-year-old actor, but we do appreciate the prime-time sitcom's realistic portrayal of adulthood.

For those who don't know, the show is based on the wildly popular Twitter feed of Justin Halpern, a comedy writer who moved back into his parents' house in his late 20s and started documenting the hilarious -- and profanity-laced -- musings of his father.

With more and more adults living under the same roof as their parents -- 85 percent of college seniors planned to return home after graduation, according to a recent poll) -- one thing is for certain: For most 20-somethings, and a lot of 30-somethings, the road to becoming a genuine grown-up, minus the air quotes, is an increasingly long one.

Sure, delaying the onset of adulthood isn't exactly breaking news, but here's what is: People are finally paying attention to the late 20s and early 30s, that gray zone when you're not young enough to be young and not old enough to be old.

Forget the quarterlife crisis -- that post-college moment of clarity when you realize that working at a job actually requires -- you know -- work.

This is a "thrisis" -- an uneasiness people experience as they hit the big 3-0. Or the big 3-uh-oh, as we like to call it.

These feelings of anxiety crept into our own lives as we left our 20s. Our peers -- whether single or married, with or without children, unemployed or climbing the corporate ladder -- had to two primary questions as they neared 30:

• Is this what it feels like to be an adult?

• And am I normal?

(Spoiler: The answer to both questions is most likely "yes.")

While a discussion of 20-somethings inevitably turns into a lament about the younger generation, with their buffet-of-life choices, lack of responsibility, and refusal to grow up, here's the truth: This isn't your mother's 30.

These choices come with the pressure to not only have it all, but to make it perfect -- the HGTV-worthy house, gifted children, high-powered career, and soul mate. A tough current economic climate has made it difficult for people of all ages to mark the "traditional" adult milestones, making adulthood even more complicated.

In addition to the pressure for perfection, today, we also have the added anxiety of living our lives more publicly than ever before. Thanks to social networking and other forms of digital dishing, not only can we spend hours navel-gazing online, but we can also gaze at each other's navels via social networking sites.

Now you can log onto Facebook or Twitter and find out that your younger cousin is pregnant (again), your best friend got a promotion, and your college roommate is engaged. It's easier to compare and contrast our friends' life trajectories to our own and then blog, tweet, text, and instant message about it.

While the thrisis isn't exactly fun, there is some good news: You'll realize that part of being an adult is understanding that "figuring it all out" is a lifelong task even for the biggest grown-ups among us, not a goal that must be reached by an arbitrary birthday. You'll also gain a lot a more out of a thrisis than you'll lose -- good stuff like maturity, self-awareness, and perspective.

Speaking of perspective, let's step back for a moment and not forget that 30 isn't exactly geriatric, for gosh sakes. Plus, more research shows we actually get happier as we get older. We should all be so lucky to have a life re-evaluation at age 100, although "century-is" or "hundred-is" just doesn't have the same ring to it as thrisis does.