On Self-Respect

It is the phenomenon sometimes called alienation from self. In its advanced stages, we no longer answer the telephone, because someone might want something; that we could say no without drowning in self-reproach is an idea alien to this game. Every encounter demands too much, tears the nerves, drains the will, and the spectre of something as small as an unanswered letter arouses such disproportionate guilt that one’s sanity becomes an object of speculation among one’s acquaintances. To assign unanswered letters their proper weight, to free us from the expectations of others, to give us back to ourselves—there lies the great, the singular power of self-respect. Without it, one eventually discovers the final turn of the screw: one runs away to find oneself, and finds no one at home.
— from Joan Didion's 1961 essay for Vogue, "On Self-Respect"

On Short Hair by Joan Juliet Buck

'm borrowing this piece from Joan Juliet Buck, who originally wrote it for American Vogue in 1988. I found it by way of a mention on Into the Gloss. While I am trying to grow my hair long, I can't help but think about the day when I can lop it off and feel fresh and new. I was never one to be afraid of starting over. After all, it's just hair. It'll grow back.


Hair is time.

Women with short hair always look as if they have somewhere else to go. Women with long hair tend to look as if they belong where they are, especially in California. Short hair takes a short time. Long hair takes a long time. Long hair moves faster than short hair. Long hair tells men that you are all woman, or a real woman, or at the very least a girl. Short hair always makes them wonder. Short hair makes children ask each other --usually at the school-yard gate, when parents are late-- "Are you a boy or girl?" Men married to women with short hair should not have affairs with women who have long hair kept up with many little pins and combs. Once you have cut your hair you have to remember to wear lipstick, but you can put away the brush, elastics, and the black barrettes in the form of shiny leaves with rhinestone hearts. When you cut your hair you lose a nose and gain a neck. A neck is generally better than a nose. It does not need to be powdered, except on extreme occasions. It does, however, need to be washed more often.

With short hair you suddenly dislike the month of March, when the wind blows down the back of your neck. With short hair you begin to crave pearl necklaces, long earrings, and a variety of sunglasses. And you brush your teeth more often. Short hair removes obvious femininity and replaces it with style. When it starts growing out a little and losing its style, you have to wear sunglasses until you can get it to the hairdresser. That's why you need a variety. Short hair makes you aware of subtraction as style. You can no longer wear puffed sleeves or ruffles; the neat is suddenly preferable to the fussy. You eye the tweezers instead of the blusher. What else can you take away? You can't hide behind short hair. Your nape is exposed. Men put their hands around your neck instead of stroking your long locks. You can only pray they have friendly intentions. The backs of your ears show, your jaw line is clear to anyone watching, and you realize --perhaps for the first time-- how wide the expanse of skin is between cheekbone and ear.

You may look a little androgynous, a little unfinished, a little bare. You will look elegant, as short hair requires you to keep your weight slightly below acceptable levels. However, the first time you wear a bathing suit with short hair, you will feel exceptionally naked. People who used to look straight at you will love you in profile. Short hair makes others think you have good bones, determination, and an agenda. The shape of your skull is commented on, so are its contents. They can pick you out in a crowd, and you can be recognized from behind, which can be good or bad. But your face is no longer a flat screen surrounded by a curtain: the world sees you in three dimensions.

Chase to the cut.

The Duality of an SGD Life

"I have spinach smoothies for breakfast, I only eat salads for lunch, and then, for dinner, I'll go to town on, like, pork belly," said a girlfriend of mine, ironically, over a shared plate of sizzling sisig at Pig and Khao, "It's all about balance." I nodded in agreement while crunching on the last pork rind from our appetizer of chicharrones.

We went on to discuss the ups and downs and yins and yangs of an SGD lifestyle. We work hard and gym hard. We'll buy fabulous shoes during the day and eat cereal in bed at night. We're game to try crazy diets yet not afraid to indulge in a meal of fried chicken. We've developed a refined palate but can also enjoy Doritos. We're somewhat of a conundrum even to ourselves.

It's hard to find a food blog that we can relate to. Sure, there are plenty of ones with gorgeous photos and interesting recipes, but I'm not an aspiring domestic diva, a heath nut, a dive junkie, or an ambitious home-cook. I'm a complex creature. I'm looking for a conversation about food that's not only about food. Less Food Network and more Sex and the City-meets-Nigella Lawson, with a dash of Parker Posey and a sprinkle of je ne sais quois. Are those shoes too big to fill? It's a dream pair of shoes for SGD to grow into.

Carrie Bradshaw once famously said: "When I first moved to New York and I was totally broke, sometimes I would buy Vogue instead of dinner. I just felt it fed me more." Let's be real, it might not be the main course, but when it comes to #singlegirldinners, there are times when reading Vogue definitely makes the meal.