1. If you could style yourself what accoutrements do you see fitting into your overall motif?
2. Who has inspired you most during your short existence?
The woman who awoke thinking that day was going to be like all the rest: get out of bed, shower, açaí bowl & coffee, thirty minutes on the train, walk the three blocks to put in a full day, dinner with a friend at Brasserie, take a picture of the perfectly crafted meal and send it out into the world, stalk an ex on Facebook, curse herself for stalking a man on Facebook, peruse Match, 7 minutes of digitus manus pleasure and off to bed. This particular morning she noticed the mustache was needing its monthly tending which meant she would be stopping in to see Lydia on the trek home. Sitting in the waiting room of the cramped salon, my girl listened as the austere esthetician went to town on what sounded like a bush with a lot of fight left, every rip igniting a tiny “eep!” As if feeling the pain, my girl shifted in her seat and clutched her thighs together, a move that let her vagina know, “I hereby decree that ye shall be spared today.” The decree melded smoothly into wonder, the wonder of what she was doing exactly, “All this pain and for what? So some guy doesn’t have to acknowledge the fact that my body has the ability to grow hair? Some man who’s just gonna love me then leave me?” Okay, so her thought process might’ve been a bit too militant and pessimistic considering we were only dealing with a hairy, upper lip but that aside, she got up and she walked out, igniting the door chime. “Hahlo,” Lydia called as she walked out into the waiting area, holding a wax-laden application stick in one hand and a waxing strip of Cousin It proportions in the other. She glanced outside and upon noticing my girl crossing the street, she shrugged, “Bitch,” and returned to the waxing room, “Now, turn over.” “Do I have–” “OVER! “k.” Walking down the street, my girl lamented over what it means to walk out on Lydia . In the spirit of staying apace within the bourgeois world she gyred throughout, getting into the good graces of a great waxer was no small feat. Why, entire brunch conversations had been set aside for this very discussion. Brunches where it was mandatory to silence your phone and place it in a bowl in the middle of the table. You know the brunches where talk of how insanely accurate that movie nailed West Side life amongst all the West Side, Los Angelino expats at the table now living in the eastern part of the country? Brunches where you looked around and noticed the entire place was filled with variations of your table having a variation of your exact same conversation. Those 5-top conversations that could travel in the blink of an eye from talk of actual genocide to the new, gluten-free soap shop one happened upon in Marfa to “Oh shit! I think I’m day-drunk!” And so if my girl should declare this particular rage against the conventional machine a big mistake it might not be so easy getting back into the fold of getting the outer region of her lady fold expertly cleared off. Maybe she should go back. Yes, she’d return and apologize, “Lydia, my apologies. I don’t know what came over me. Now, if you would be so kind as to rip the hairs from my upper lip.” And Lydia wasn’t so bad. Why, it was her quoting of Busta Rhymes that won my girl over when she first contemplated getting a Brazilian, a.k.a. the complete deforestation, “Too much hair on your chocha? Shave it off.” And so, in an effort to return to Lydia and her attempt at getting crunk, she turned back round, but instead of coming face to face with a clear path to traverse, she came face to face with Frida Kahlo.
3. Um… What?
Yep. So, upon coming face to face with the dove herself, my girl naturally jumped, yelped and peed herself a little. And then she concluded she was in the process of losing her mind. To put an end to the fact that she might be rapidly losing the plot, she ventured left to step around Frida. But Frida also stepped to the left. My girl shook off the fact she was being cordoned off by a swift on her feet Frida Kahlo and moved to the right. Not a big surprise when Frida smirked and swiftly moved to the right. My girl stopped and stared at Frida with wide eyes while wondering if Bellevue took walk-ins. Then out of Frida’s mouth came three fateful words. Three words that would flip the script in its entirety, “Let it grow.” It was a sign my girl couldn’t deny. “Let it grow and take back your life in the process,” Frida said. And that’s all my girl needed to hear. She decided then and there she would let it grow. She would turn on her heels, set out in the opposite direction of Lydia’s salon and she would let it grow! I was getting dizzy at this point but this isn’t about me. Now, don’t ask me how because I lost the time, but we found ourselves in a drugstore, plucking a can of Jerome Russell spray-on-hair from the shelf. Arriving back at the apartment, we all traveled straight to the bedroom. I was taken off and tossed on the bed — don’t want to get any Jerome on me, thanks! — while my girl grabbed an old button down from the closet, put it on and she along with Frida ventured into the bathroom. Moments later, my girl, with Frida positioned proudly behind her, stood, studying in the mirror a spray-on unibrow and faux sprigs of hair peppering the corners of her mouth. Frida smiled as she moved in close so their cheeks were touching and whispered, “You are a triumph indeed.” The next day my girl called in sick, allowing herself plenty of time to cull consignment shops and thrift stores in search of every billowing skirt she could find. Frida was with her the entire time, yaying or naying sartorial choices whilst providing opinions on overall life, “Daniel Kahneman put it perfectly, ‘The confidence people have in their beliefs is not a measure of the quality of evidence but of the coherence of the story that the mind has managed to construct.‘ This whole notion of the grass being greener simply gives credence to the fact that absolutely none of us, no matter what side we’re on, knows how to live a good life. And before anyone dare stand in opposition to my statement, if we did know how to live a good life would this world be the most we’d want for ourselves? Ask the question. Or don’t.” “Were you happy with the side you were on,” my girl inquired, holding an embossed, paisley number up to her waist and checking the reflection, her opinion shifting with every cock of her head. “Frankly, if I’m really being honest, yes. As tiresome and painful — both physically and mentally — as it appeared to outside eyes, yes,” said Frida. Frida’s focus shifted down to the paisley number. She cupped her chin and shook her head, “I don’t think paisley’s your pattern.” The paisley number was placed back on the rack and off we went.
4. And at no point did anyone think your girl was experiencing a psychotic break?
Are you kidding?! She was being set free! Why can’t you see that? This path she had been on all this time and for what? It wasn’t to her benefit that was for damn sure. But if not for her then who? One day, while sunning ourselves on the rooftop of my girl’s building, Frida said something that really got me thinking, “Sometimes it appears a person’s memories are made out of necessity.” She went even further to ask if the advent of the camera heightened in the human race the need to make memories, “Think about it. If capturing a moment on film didn’t exist how different would the world look? Would the want to be around each other be less superficial, a little more pure, very much in the moment? Would our innate narcissism play less of a part in our daily lives? How can we preach living in the moment while a mechanism that enforces the complete opposite is such a constant part of our lives? We look forward to looking back. It’s that simple. And if one should live off the grid, just a little left of center from the rest, then who will be there to take the pictures with? To share the memories? Hell, to make the memories with. Sometimes you have no other choice but to surrender to what the hive mind is doing. You must assimilate so you can leave behind the footprints of having been there.” The next day Frida arrived with arms full of photographs and proceeded to dump them on the bed, “I look at them and all I see is this big menagerie of pain and love, hate, some anger… In half of these, I don’t know who that person was. And I’m talking about myself, not him. I can’t tell if I’m happy or if I’m sad. Yes, I’m smiling in some but was I happy? I appear to be contemplative in a few but was I contemplating something? Every emotion eventually folded in on each other forming one big– What would I even call it? A question. Yes, I’d call it a question. I think. Well, you be the judge.” My girl stared down at the bed filled with variations of the same two faces and as Frida looked on, she took her time trying to make sense of each and every one.
5. So, are you saying Frida blamed Diego for… for everything, I guess?
I’ll let her tell you by way of a conversation with my girl, “But I can’t blame him. I won’t. I played an equal part. I stayed.” “Did you love him? Diego,” my girl asked. “Of course, but more than that, I think it was about needing something constant in my life. Even if it was bad, at least it was there. Does that make sense?” My girl nodded and said, “I read a study that said lonely people have a shorter lifespan.” “Then I was on to something. My own little scientific study I was,” Frida said with a chuckle. She went on to ask, “But in all seriousness, does that scare you?” My girl gave herself a moment to think about the question then answered,”Yeah. I guess I don’t want to admit it but it does. No one wants to be alone. But then, then you consider the alternatives: miserable or simply going through the motions, trying to make the lemons appear as if they are in fact lemonade, or a lifetime of suppressing yourself for someone else, fear instead of confidence at the wheel, driving you to latch on to the first thing that crosses the path. I take any one of those scenarios and then I look at my life — ya know, like really give it a hard stare — and maybe it’s not so bad. But is that all just bullshit us singletons feed ourselves? And how do you know if you’re faking it our not? Sometimes I really do wish there was some deity, a god, just something that actually knew the rules.” “Like the Wizard of Oz?” My girl’s eyes lit up, happy for help with the epiphany and replied, “Just like the Wizard of Oz! Because there are rules that would make this thing easy. I just know it. Unfortunately, we live in a society reminiscent of a PTA meeting gone wild — way too many people with something to prove, talking at once.” Frida dropped her head, a knowing smile occupied her face, “Like the elephant and the dove.” “Who?” “Like me and Diego. We’re the alternative to consider that would make a solitary life indeed a good life,” Frida answered. “No,” my girl exulted, “That’s not at all what I meant. And I’m the last person with any right to judge another person’s relationship. And we’re all different. All of us are wired to need different things.” Frida shook her head, not really disagreeing with the statement, more moving on from it, “But is love even love? That’s the question. Or is it this false concept attached to a word to make a person think they’re making a glorious and magical decision? What if all this time we’ve gotten it wrong? Some people needing the love, the commitment. Some people simply needing the warm body there, no connection, no passion just the body to let them know they won’t have to go it alone. Some people simply needing the accoutrements, all of the spinning plates the unions supply, ‘There’s this to do! There’s that do! Oh, but then there’s this to do after that gets done!’ And I’m in no way saying these things aren’t real. I believe them to be tried and true tasks but to what end do you continue to shut out your voice?” “Hmm,” is about all my girl could muster. These so-called “truths” were hard ones to hear let alone swallow. The moment moved on as they both marinated in what had just been said. Frida started to giggle. My girl looked at her, curious smile, “What?” “I once had a friend tell me I was settling for that man. Settling? All I could do was shake my head in disbelief. My choosing to be with that particular specimen was nothing short of being jettisoned. We’re gullible. Is that true? Could be. I was the most gullible of them all. But was I? In any case, I think all relationships — platonic, romantic alike — are all variants of Kepler and Galileo. Each of us handing over our encoded selves, the anagrams of our souls, leaving the other with no other choice but to attempt to unravel who we really are. A few accomplish the seemingly impossible but only a few. “
6. Man… I’ll be honest. When I set eyes on you I thought we were going to Carnival to get our feijoada consumption on but it’s clear we’re not. Right?
Quite the contrary. After a few days of conditioning she was ready to enter back into the real world or as Frida put it, “the world carved out for you before you ever had a say.” And just so we’re clear, she went to work dressed in one of her new ensembles. And just so we’re even clearer, this was a very bold move, for her place of business was Deloitte & Touche. Yeah. The business planning juggernaut of the world. And my girl was no slouch either. Three years into the job she had already traveled the world doing whatever Deloitte & Touchians traveled the world doing while making some serious coin. The arrival at work wasn’t without a ton of faces that expressed something to the effect of, “What in thee hell?” Upon spotting my girl, women who were convinced they were throwing caution to the wind by wearing chandelier earrings to the office had to pick their jaws up from the floor. After a department meeting, my girl was approached by Kevin while standing at the water cooler — one of the few office relics technology cannot advance. Actually, it probably can. Like say, there’s some tiny plate implanted in your brain and any time you’re thirsty the plate punts a signal out into the ether and before you know it a little drone (that you’ll name “Bobby” because it’s so cute and grows cuter due in part to a section of his– I mean its churning motor offering the illusion of periodic blinks) is hovering in front of you with a cup of water. Personally, if I were human, I’d opt to walk the few feet to retrieve my own water rather than undergo brain surgery, but that’s just me. Sorry, Bobby. Okay, enough about adorable drones and let’s get back to Kevin… Oh, Kevin, Kevin, Kevin… A man who would be considered the ultimate get by pretty much anyone. There was no need to delve into his personality or his accomplishments in order to mold him into “soulmate” material for he was the guy anyone would choose laying down roots with on sight; no words need travel from his perfect lips. I could feel my girl tense up, prepared for ol’ Kev to join in the chorus of asking what happened to her. But there was no need for the tension because Kevin would go on to compliment the wreath adorning her head, “The colors really suit you,” and follow it up with an invitation to dinner, “I’d really love to take you to dinner.” Getting down to it really is the most amazing thing in existence. Unfortunately, my girl would go on to accept the compliment with a cautious smile and take a rain check on the meal. While I was nothing but convinced of his pure intentions, she needed a little more convincing. This I blamed on the many viewings of “Carrie” strewn about her adolescence. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again. With that tale, Mr. King did nothing for the aesthetically perfect male simply wanting to love.
8. Ain’t that the truth. Was Frida waiting for her when she arrived at home?
Indeed. And, in celebration of my girl introducing her authentic self to the world, Frida led her down to the perfect part of town where they scored peyote — this batch fresh from the state of Tamaulipas — and the two copped a squat on a golden, crunchy patch of grass and chewed their troubles away. It was a part of town where sounds of the old and new met in the middle: mariachi let you know Mary’s quince was still very much underway, NWA let you know the old “new” guard hadn’t disappeared just yet, Mumford & Sons let you know gentrification was upon you, Steve Perry’s “Foolish Heart” let you know gentrification was determined to see this thing through to the end and finally Bey joined the chorus, throwing you for a complete loop for she could’ve been coming from any household. The two women proceeded to ease back, close their eyes and listen to the battling sounds. “The perfect time in a neighborhood’s existence is right here, right now. Opposing factions living next door to each other laughing, thrashing, crying, back to laughing. Honestly, I feel sorry for those forced to grow up surrounded by people who look just like them, share the same cultural rituals. I guess it’s okay if your plan is to remain in this particular world forever, but if not? If your plan is to venture out into the rest? You must try with all that you have to do away with every preconceived notion you’ve ever had about someone different from your kind. You don’t have to be a Grand Wizard to be ignorant and have from your mouth spill total stupidity. Become informed. Disarm your sense of superiority for it’s the premiere stamp of the weak,” Frida declared. Suddenly, she and my girl sat up to find a child — he couldn’t have been more than ten — standing in front of them. My girl furrowed her brow but before she could ask what the child was doing there, he began, “Beware of low men, the can-toi in yellow coats Mr. King warned us about. You’ll know exactly who they are. They’re surreptitious, clandestine, seemingly non-threatening, forever playing the innocent. They’ve mastered the art of creating phantom reasons to love you, to hate you. These people you’ll learn nothing from, save for the art of hiding away your true self. These creatures will be the end of you. ‘Alms for the poor,’ they will cry. Wounded birds straggling through life, waiting for someone to pick them up and put them in the box lined with cotton balls. They will take every crumb of manna you hand feed them, every sip of water by way of the bottle cap you place at their beak. With wide eyes and cupped hands they will do this. And they won’t stop until they’re on top and you’re five rungs below applauding.” Frida leaped to her feet, “Bravissimo, friend! Bravissimo!” And just like that, adorned by the glow of orange street lamps, the little boy tore off, little feet beating against the pavement, before disappearing into the night. My girl looked on wide-eyed, “What the hell just happened?” “Truth! Truth,” Frida cried out with laughter. “But how can he have so much fury inside of him? He’s just a boy,” my girl asked. Frida smiled, “People like to think children incapable of having thoughts draped in eloquence and depth.” My girl looked off in the direction of the little boy, “You really think so?” “I really know so.” Their attention turned to a garage door slowly creaking open. From it spilled Kendrick. Kendrick who drowned out everyone and everything to let you know there was an entirely new conversation on approach. A smile spread across Frida’s face. With eyes at half-mast, she laced her fingers behind her head and for a second time eased back onto the crunchy patch of grass for an unadulterated listen.
9. Good. God. I really thought this was going to be a lot more fun. I mean, I expect this from someone donning Rick Owens, Yohji, Junya even… But you? You’re so alive with color and patterns. Am I wrong?
I’ve heard about you. I won’t name names but a certain Burberry item warned me before I even agreed to this sit-down. At times I thought I was actually getting through but clearly, I was wrong. I know your type. You sit back and listen to us pour out our deepest secrets all the while you have some snide comment waiting on deck. Why? Because you’re afraid to dip a toe in. You’re afraid of life and so it’s easier to make the joke, to declare things “stupid” or “silly.” Unfortunately, the joke will be on you. In the end, it will be on you indeed. And with that, I think we’re done here.
*This particular Duro Olowu cape left, never to be heard from again.