18 November 2006
Pictures of silly

Even though they've been legal for two and a half weeks now, I have not felt compelled to run out and get a tattoo; while under certain circumstances they can be attractive — there's a nice little ankh-like design near one ankle on the second-nicest pair of legs I've ever seen — there's still something a trifle off-putting about the whole concept.

Steph Waller, as usual, puts it more aptly:

I'm probably just an old fart, but I don't like tattoos. They look dirty to me because they're usually the same color as the grease that gets trapped under the fingernails of auto mechanics.

And on me, regardless of color, it would create the image that the Goodyear Blimp is subletting advertising space.

Permalink to this item (posted at 10:41 AM)
22 November 2006
Young doctors in love

Young doctors, claims a Miami physician in The New York Times, are dressing inappropriately:

Among older and middle-aged physicians (like myself), tales of salacious and sloppy trainee attire abound. One colleague commented that a particularly statuesque student "must have thought all her male patients were having strokes" when she walked in their exam room wearing a low-cut top and a miniskirt. Another complained about a male student who came to class unshaven, even though he hadnít been on call the night before. One Midwestern medical school dean reported that her school instituted a formal dress policy after administrators noticed students revealing too much flesh while sunbathing on a small patch of grass outside the school building, directly below patientsí hospital room windows.

Patients and colleagues may dismiss a young doctorís skills and knowledge or feel their concerns aren't being taken seriously when the doctor is dressed in a manner more suitable for the gym or a night on the town. There are also hygiene considerations: open-toed shoes donít protect against the spills that commonly occur in patient care, and long, flowing hair can potentially carry harmful bacteria.

Well, okay. Dr Pamela A Rowland, director of the Office of Professional Development at Dartmouth Medical School, says that it can also affect the outcome of oral exams for board certification:

"You donít want to look too attractive to be serious," she said, adding that "a certain amount of the nerd factor" can help a doctorís performance.

As a rule, I shy away from That Which Is Medical, and therefore I have little anecdotal evidence to cite here, though I did once (okay, more than once) avail myself of the services of a dentist who seemed to fulfill the Texas Babe stereotype: slender and rangy, moderately-big blonde hair, endless legs. However, it must be pointed out that, at the office anyway, she dressed more like Lubbock than Dallas — no effort to be trendy — and she didn't go out of her way to dazzle you with any of that Dr McLusciousness stuff.

Meanwhile, Lindsay Beyerstein has her doubts:

It's always newsworthy when someone claims that an unexpected group of women is dressing wantonly: six-year-olds, pro bowlers, physicians.... It's the sort of thing the public needs to know about right away. You don't necessarily have time to establish whether one person's anecdotes [are] representative, or even plausible.

Unfortunately, the NYT couldn't find any of these scantily-clad doctors in time, so the editors had to make do with a more impressionistic illustration.

And indeed, the Times illustration reeks of stockphotohood; I don't know any physicians who look like that, and if I did, the first thing I'd want to know is "Is she in our network?"

Permalink to this item (posted at 4:34 PM)
17 February 2007
Size matters

Jacqueline Passey declares that yes, there is such a thing as vanity sizing:

10 years ago I had a 24 inch waist and 36 inch hips and I wore a size 6. Today I have a 26 inch waist and 38 inch hips and size 6 is too big.

Ten years ago she was 18 (I think); do teenagers get their own size scale? Not that anyone eighteen thinks (s)he's a teenager or anything.

Maybe it's time for something other than numbers. Example: In the early 1950s, hosiery manufacturers were trying to distinguish among a line of three or four sizes without using accusative terms like, say, "large." I shuffled through some advertising pieces from this period and happened upon a 1953 ad from Wayne Knitting Mills, who sold stockings under the Belle-Sharmeer brand. They offered four sizes, as follows:

BREV (purple edge) for slender or small legs. Sizes 8 to 10½

MODITE (green edge) for average size legs. Sizes 8½ to 11

DUCHESS (red edge) for tall, larger legs. Sizes 9½ to 11½

CLASSIC (plain edge) for largest legs. Sizes 9½ to 11½

Now obviously there's more description necessary for a dress than for a pair of nylons, but I, for one, would like to be able to go into the store and ask for shirts in, say, "Duff Man," rather than ask where all the 4X Talls are hiding.

Permalink to this item (posted at 12:06 PM)
18 February 2007
Pattern analysis

It was almost 50 degrees yesterday when I hit the supermarket, historically a below-average temperature for this date, but a veritable heat wave compared to what February has been dealing us so far, so I wasn't too surprised to catch a glimpse of a woman in fishnets over by — well, it wasn't the seafood counter, so I suppose it doesn't matter where she was.

More than once I've mentioned that I just don't get fishnets:

I have been fortunate enough over the years to have met a small number of women with incredible legs, and not once have I found myself thinking, "Gee, I wonder what she'd look like if you overlaid a pattern of polygons upon her."

And I was perhaps unduly pleased to hear a similar sentiment from someone who actually has worn them:

What do you think it is about fishnets that made someone decide that they are sexy in the first place? Is it the fact that you can see skin through them? Because surely men weren't thinking, "You know, I'm tired of running my hands over sleek, smooth, unblemished thighs. I sure would prefer some that have some texture — almost like cellulite, but more ordered, like graph paper but in 3-D, or like the weave of a wicker chair. Is there some way that we could create this effect temporarily?" Because right now the back of my thighs makes me look like I've been hanging out on a lanai, and in less of a Spring-Break-Cancun kind of way than a Golden Girls kind of way.

Well, that Blanche Devereaux, she could ... um, never mind.

Permalink to this item (posted at 9:52 AM)
28 February 2007
Agent 99, your phone is ready

Maxwell Smart, of course, had his shoe phone, but today's wireless world demands something sleeker, especially if you're working the distaff side of the Agency.* Enter ... the CPC Strap.

CPC Strap

For just $19.95 for a limited time, you can fasten your very own cell phone to your ankle, which will have two salutary effects:

  • People will no longer apologize for looking at your legs;

  • If someone dorky asks you to dance, you can always tell him that you're sorry, but you have to take this call.

Hey, it could happen. (Couldn't it?)

* There is no "Agency." We just put that in to throw people off.

Permalink to this item (posted at 7:01 PM)
3 April 2007
The proper passenger

By now, everyone knows how to get out of a car gracefully without showing your underwear. Maybe. Used to be, the tricky part was getting into the car:

Make your entrance gracefully. The best way to make a transition from pedestrian to passenger is by putting your left foot on the floor of the car and then easing into the car in a sitting position. If it's one of the low-slung models, though, you'll need to change your approach completely. First, sit sideways on the seat with your feet outside the car and swivel forward. Let your body form a gentle "S" curve, with your legs crossed at the ankles.

At the time, there presumably weren't any high-slung models, so don't try this with a Ford F-150.

And yes, there are instructions on debarking:

When you're ready for your exit, take the most attractive way out by sliding along the seat until you can put a foot on the ground. Lower your head and slip out smoothly.

This would seem to imply a bench seat. Interestingly, the illustration accompanying this wisdom seems to be a drawing of a Jaguar E-type, in which case, um, well, you're on your own, sweetheart.

[From "Key to Car Dates" by Kitt Gerard, American Girl, August 1968.]

Permalink to this item (posted at 6:33 AM)
4 May 2007
We've got a fuzz issue and we're gonna use it

Schick Quattro adThis is the third of four frames in an animated GIF advertising Schick's Quattro for Women razor, which I spotted today while browsing Popgadget. (That "Energizer" tag might seem odd until you remember that the battery maker acquired Schick and Wilkinson Sword in 2003.) I had to ask myself, "Self, are you that easily distracted by a nice pair of gams?" (Yes.) I suppose it's a good thing they're not taking things too seriously. To make sure they weren't, I wandered over to their Web site and found something called Quattro Lingo, which introduces some new terms into the vernacular. I was most amused by this description: when you "intentionally go without shaving before a date as a way of making yourself behave," you're said to be wearing a "chastity pelt." I have no idea what Dawn Eden thinks of this notion, though I'm sure she'd endorse behaving oneself.

Permalink to this item (posted at 6:37 PM)
10 June 2007
Sort of hosed

Open-toe stockingsI am a big fan of both shortish skirts and strappy sandals, as I have probably mentioned entirely too often, but I don't quite get this open-at-the-toe hosiery, despite its construction of some "revolutionary Japanese yarn" that's supposed to keep you cool, thereby eliminating the major objection to hosiery in the summertime. A commenter noted: "The end of the stocking never coincides with the shape of your shoe, so you end up looking even dorkier than before," which seems logical to me. Maybe this would make more sense if it were cut off around the ankle, if you happened to own a pair of ankle-strap shoes. Moreover, if we're to believe some of the advertising these days, there are lots of women who will willingly put a lot of leg on display, but please, please don't look at their feet; they're never, ever going to consider wearing something like this. (And a not-so-perfunctory informal survey during this weekend's wandering about between film screenings didn't turn up a single person who really ought to wear it.)

Permalink to this item (posted at 11:36 AM)
25 July 2007
Eventual shortcomings

An informal survey of 2500 women by a British shopping center suggests that after age 28, it's time to toss out the miniskirts.

I am of course distraught at the possibility that someone might actually take this seriously: as Bill Blass is supposed to have said, the legs are generally the last things to go, and I've seen some spectacular stems on fiftysomethings. I continue to believe, however, that every woman has an ideal skirt length, and it's usually not around mid-thigh. (And if it is, you know where to find me.)

Permalink to this item (posted at 5:58 AM)
16 August 2007
Battle of the Blogger Body Parts

John Hawkins of Right Wing News has put out his regular list of Favorite 40 Bloggers, and it's about what you'd expect, given Hawkins' conservative bent and eye for the ladies/drooling fanboy tendencies [choose one]. The American Princess finished five spots above Atlas Shrugs, about which the Princess herself comments:

We think that this is clear and convincing proof that all those bikini shots people keep asking us for will not increase traffic one iota, because it means you can still get beat by a pair of legs and a cynical bent.

I await with (barely) bated breath a comment from Dennis the Peasant.

Addendum, Saturday: The Princess on television!

Permalink to this item (posted at 9:54 AM)
22 August 2007
The tibiazation of television news

The Daily Mail, in a bit of classic Daily Mail feigned outrage:

In olden days a glimpse of a newsreader's stocking was looked on as something shocking. But now, it seems, almost anything goes — at least as far as Emily Maitlis is concerned.

The glamorous presenter decided to liven up proceedings during a televised trailer for the BBC's 10pm news. Perched casually on the edge of her circular desk, her stilettos dangling above the studio floor, the 36-year-old blonde swung one toned leg over the other.

Although she was wearing a relatively demure navy skirt-suit, Miss Maitlis's flash of shapely calf caused a stir among more conservative viewers who saw the 9pm trailer on Monday.

Which, if nothing else, demonstrates that England is way behind on this cultural phenomenon: here in the States, we're already in the Post-Couric Era. And considering what can be seen on a regular basis on our Spanish-language channels, I suspect the Brits doth protest too much. (Personal favorite: Ana Patricia Candiani on Telemundo.)

(Via Fark.)

Permalink to this item (posted at 4:23 PM)
8 September 2007
Such a tease

Christian Louboutin heels worn by Sarah Michelle GellarI have never quite made up my mind about toe cleavage: like its upstairs cousin, it hints at further delights, but I always wonder if maybe she's wearing the wrong size, or wrong style, shoe. This particular shoe is a design by Christian Louboutin, who usually doesn't push the envelope too much, but geez, Chris, if you'd cut this vamp any lower you'd have a sandal, fercryingoutloud. I suppose it would be fairer to see this shoe in context — Shoebunny, from whom I pilfered this thumbnail (!), has more pictures — and I figure that maybe the overall intent is to make legs look longer, not that Sarah Michelle Gellar, who's wearing the shoes in the picture, needs any help in that regard. Ultimately, I suppose, this is more ammunition for the folks who think toe cleavage is some sort of freak show, and I suspect you'll never get Miriam into a pair of these.

Permalink to this item (posted at 12:42 PM)
18 September 2007
This thread is useless without pictures

Fabian Basabe interviews Ann Coulter, and let's face it, this isn't going to be some hard-hitting political commentary. Sample:

Basabe: We have both had our troubles with The New York Observer. They called you "the Republican Michael Moore," and "Rush Limbaugh in a miniskirt." Don't you think your legs are much better than Rush or Moore's?

Coulter: Don't knock Rush Limbaugh's legs — they're better than Hillary's.

I'll, um, take her word for it.

What's weird about that is that the Observer, according to Basabe, felt the need to compare Coulter to a couple of fairly hefty guys, and if there's one thing Coulter isn't, it's bulky.

Well, that and the fact that the photo accompanying the article didn't show any legs at all, Coulter's or anyone else's.

Permalink to this item (posted at 9:06 PM)
25 January 2008
Manolos on the edge

What we have here is a pair of classic Manolo Blahnik pumps, apparently deployed without a whole lot of concern for their longevity.

Condi wears Manolos

Courtesy of Princess Sparkle Pony, this is the original caption to that wire-service photo:

Picture shows the shoes of U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice as she crosses her legs following her key-note speech at the World Economic Forum (WEF) in the Swiss Alpine resort town of Davos January 23, 2008. Rice offered Iran normal ties if it drops nuclear plans. REUTERS/Stefan Wermuth (SWITZERLAND)

Now I always thought she was partial to Ferragamo. Not that I pay the slightest bit of attention to the Secretary's legs, of course.

Permalink to this item (posted at 6:57 AM)
27 January 2008
Shucks and the city

Sarah Jessica Parker from here downDawn Eden, at the beginning of Chapter 10 of her best-seller The Thrill of the Chaste, quotes this noted shoe authority regarding Sex and the City:

[T]he former HBO series did have some impact on popular culture, to the extent that it's had some small but measurable effect on women's shoes, pushing them a notch or two in the direction of sheer frivolity.

Perhaps I spoke too soon, or maybe I have trouble counting notches, because Sarah Jessica Parker, during a New York shoot for the film version of Sex and the City, was spotted wearing these extremely strange boots, possibly clogs with a pituitary problem, footwear for which no one apparently has a kind word. (And no one seems to be able to identify them, either; not even Shoewawa's famed Ugly Shoes list turned up a reference, and I paged through literally scores of boots at Zappos. The things I go through for you people.) Admittedly, it's hard to disagree with Jess Cartner-Morley's assessment of the genre:

[E]very piece I read raving about ankle boots ended with a caveat along the lines of "ankle boots look brilliant on us beautiful people, because they contrast so winningly with our adorable, pipe-cleaner legs, but they look freaking hideous on disgusting size 12 weirdos who need liposuction".

SJP might actually qualify on the "pipe-cleaner legs" bit, and normally I'd forgive her this sort of lapse in judgment — by my reckoning, she's still got some goodwill left over from L.A. Story — but you should see the dress she was wearing at the time: it's like Björk after a transporter accident.

Oh, I must retract: somebody has kind words for these boots. At the Sun, Bizarre columnist (now that's a title) Gordon Smart says:

The Biz secretary told me: "If a fella buys me those shoes I'll marry him no matter who he is."

I despair.

In the absence of information to the contrary, I blame Patricia Field.

Permalink to this item (posted at 6:42 PM)
8 April 2008
Who wears short shorts?

You do, young lady, if you care anything about the nation's economy:

Although there are scoffers, the hemline theory of market fluctuation has always been remarkably accurate. In the twenties and sixties skirts were high, and so was the economy. In the thirties and forties, as women tripped over their dresses, the market was in the tank, and the economy sputtered in slow motion.

Miniskirts and short shorts were all the rage in 1987. The designers then decided that short skirts were ridiculous and we had Black Monday.

And evidently we haven't learned:

This year long dresses are all over Milan, Paris, New York and London. Mid-calf skirts and floor skimmers are definitely the trend. And short shorts are far and few between.

This won't necessarily actually work, of course — correlation and causation have only a passing acquaintance with one another — but it couldn't hurt, could it? Besides, our leading hysterics scienticians say it's supposed to be hot this summer.

Permalink to this item (posted at 2:28 PM)
15 April 2008
A tights situation

If I close my eyes and think of Ann Miller, I see a big smile and glorious gams.

Well, she never did much to advance the technology of the smile, but she did come up with one innovation for the legs:

TCM aired a 1997 interview yesterday [Private Screenings, hosted by Robert Osborne] in which she discussed her long career. Among the highlights: She invented pantyhose. Miller complained to a hosiery maker that she had to have her silk stockings sewn to her dress and undergarments for every costume change. If she got a run in her stockings, they'd have to rip everything apart and sew on a new one. "Why can't we have what ballet dancers have but with silk stockings?"

It wasn't until 1953 that anyone decided to produce mass quantities of the new garment, and only in 1959 was a finished product available, from North Carolina-based Glen Raven Mills. But pantyhose really didn't catch on until the rise, as it were, of the miniskirt; the exposure of stocking tops was subsequently deemed unsightly.

The sheer stuff is out of fashion these days, though textures and colors are coming back into vogue (and into Vogue). If I see any this spring, I'll remember to think of Ann Miller. It won't be any trouble, believe me.

Permalink to this item (posted at 10:14 AM)
7 June 2008
The fatted calf

"Some man somewhere will take you, baby," claimed Joe Tex, "skinny legs and all."

Of course, that was in 1967, and we'd already seen Twiggy. Before that, well, there was this:

Leg Falsies

Leg falsies for gals with unshapely gams are now being made by Mrs. Dorothy Funk of Burbank, Calif. (Blushing, girls?) Moulded from customer's legs they are concealed by special rubber and nylon stockings.

Today, you're more likely to see the shin feigned.

(Via Jezebel.)

Update, 11 June: Did someone mention torture?

Permalink to this item (posted at 1:57 PM)
17 June 2008
Texas babe makes good

In the late 1960s, one of our high-school classes was semi-regularly packed off to see classic films at the old Garden Theater, and one of the films I saw was Brigadoon, an Alan Jay Lerner musical put together by MGM's famed Arthur Freed unit.

The trick about the town of Brigadoon, you may remember, is that it's not always there: the enchantment that preserves it does so by bringing it to life only once every hundred years, thereby making sure it's not influenced by contemporary evils. Which means that when Tommy Albright (Gene Kelly) falls hard for one of the town girls, he's faced with the sort of choice you wouldn't give Hobson: either he stays with her, thereby giving up his life in this world, or he returns to New York and never gets another shot. I remember yelling at the screen: "You fool! Go back to her!" (I saw the greatest minds of my generation garner detentions for just such breaches of conduct.)

This was my first exposure to Tula Ellice Finklea, known to the rest of the world as Cyd Charisse. At the time, I didn't know that she'd been primarily a dancer; once I got a chance to see more of her work, I discovered that she'd been one of the all-time greats. As an actress, she was respectable if not noteworthy, and I'd noticed early on that her Russian accent in Silk Stockings was largely indistinguishable from her Scottish burr in Brigadoon. Not that there's anything wrong with that.

(Aside: Allow me to recommend the scene in Silk Stockings where she replaces her coarse Communist unmentionables with Parisian finery: the ratio of sheer eroticism to volume of actual exposed flesh is among the highest in motion-picture history.)

I was, admittedly, a serious skirtwatcher before I saw Cyd doing her stuff, but if I hadn't been, she'd have surely converted me. And she had plenty of time to do it, too: right up until today, when her heart finally gave out. She was eighty-six.

Permalink to this item (posted at 9:17 PM)
25 June 2008
They never did this to Madeleine Albright

Princess Sparkle Pony has pointed out several times that Reuters seems to be fond of gratuitous photos of Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice's legs.

I was wavering a bit, but no more:

Condoleezza Rice's shadow

Here's the proffered caption:

U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice casts her shadow as she arrives to a group picture after a conference of international donors in Berlin, June 24, 2008. Berlin says the one-day donors conference is an important step on the path to a two-state agreement between Israel and the Palestinians, a goal the two sides pledged to pursue at a conference in the U.S. city of Annapolis last November.

You can't get much more gratuitous than that. (I'm gonna miss Condi, really I am.)

Permalink to this item (posted at 8:09 PM)
The Finch Formerly Known As Gold

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