About women and dress code: fashion victims or victims of fashion?

If an average looking woman wears short skirts or heels, nobody will ever say anything about her being inappropriately dressed up. If a good looking woman wears anything that helps her highlight her long legs and natural curves, it is not uncommon for people to make comments on how she looks. Some women are effortlessly beautiful and sexy, no matter what they wear. Does that mean they will be more likely to get asked to avoid wearing skinny jeans, tight leggings or sleeveless blouses, just because their dress style might distract boys?

I believe that leggings are loved by women because somehow they have taught us not to be ashamed of our curves. In a certain sense, they follow the principle that “If you have a bum, you might as well be proud of it”. However, by some people, leggings are deemed appropriate only if you have a curveless figure, because if you do happen to have curves, one of the very few garments that entirely wrap your legs without leaving one single inch of skin exposed, paradoxically might come across as “too revealing”.

In an age of double standards, where women constantly swing between being fashion victims and being victims of fashion, I can’t help but wonder : Since when, looking good and sexy has become a crime?

 

The “Number Three” Rule

It is only a couple of hours, you know. From the moment he decides to break up with you to the moment you are going to shamelessly creep on their Instagram profile, desperately looking for pictures of them with their new flames, it is only going to be a couple of hours. There’s no need to be ashamed of that and the sooner we admit it to ourselves, the better it is.
“They look so happy” “This picture, though!” “He took her home to meet his parents. How cute! We dated for like a year and the only thing he allowed me to meet was his bedroom.”
Nobody likes getting rejected or not being chosen over someone else. And whenever it happens, I promise it’s going to be an endless sequence of sleepless nights, horrible nightmares, empty days and meaningless experiences. For a while.
You might have noticed that, whenever you feel sad, it’s easy to get caught into a negative state of mind. You start thinking that everybody else is happy but you, other people’s lives seem to be more exciting than yours and you would give about anything to walk in someone else’s shoes for a while, because anything would be better than what your life has turned into right now.
Cheer up. If only you could see the truth behind other people’s happiness, you would realise how “not so perfect” other people’s lives really are.
At least, as long as the “number three” rule is out there.
The “number three” rule is also known as “the price you have to pay in order to be the person you want to be and have the things you want to have”. The “number three” rule is based on the premise that you can’t have it all and, even if you can, you surely can’t have it all at once.
To put it briefly, you surely can be a millionaire (number one) have a beautiful wife (way to go! This is number two) but it is likely that you are going to suffer from poor health, because guess what? There is always a number three…
It is statistically significant that, if you are a famous fashion blogger (number one) and you have one hell of a boyfriend (number two), you are probably condemned to a life of starvation and eating disorders in order to look that good in all those pictures you keep posting on Facebook, where it is mostly you and all the delicious food you will never get to actually eat.
Have you always dreamt of being succesful in your job? (number one) Have a child before you turn 30? (number two). Everything is fine until (oops) a civil war unexpectedly starts in your home country, where your friends and family have been left behind.
Are you a beautiful, economically independent woman with a fair for writing? I am sure you also must be very emotionally damaged.
If you happen to be an aspiring songwriter with a stunning young girlfriend, life would be pretty great if only there was more money in your paycheck every month.
Did you just win the lottery? That’s absolutely awesome. Too bad you are so old and lonely that you don’t even know how to enjoy all that money.
Alanis Morissette would say “Isn’t it ironic?” but, whether it is a case of irony, bad Karma or poorly distributed luck (I guess we will never know…), the “number three” rule still finds its concrete applications in real life.
And if you look carefully enough through all of his online pictures, I am sure you will be able to spot the new girl’s physical flaws and that will make you feel slightly better and happy about not having been chosen. Because I know this might sound superficial but… he’s happy (number one), she’s happy (number two) but they are both ugly as fuck (number three rule!)
And you are still pretty hot.

So who’s got the perfect life?

Dear 18 Year Old Me

Dear 18 year old me,

I hope this letter finds you well and I’m sorry for not getting back to you sooner, and by sooner I mean at a time when I could still have been of help to you, before you made all those little mistakes you were never proud of. And neither was I.
However, I want you to know that, despite our consistent differences and our inconsistent similarities, we are still in this together. And although time dilation was never by our side, you can always rely on me, your 8-year-older self, to guide you and give you that emotional support you will be missing within the next few years.
I apologise if I come across as presumptuous or overconfident. It is never my intention to lecture people (even if I technically could because I am so awesome!). When it comes to you, though, I can’t help showing that I care. You seem so innocent and fragile and the last thing I want for you is to get hurt, while you’re still in the process of finding yourself. And this takes us back to this letter and all the things that I want you to keep in mind, and enjoy, and be warned about.

Dear 18 year old me,
Don’t ever get tricked into thinking that quitting the gym will get you to spend more time focusing on your Uni work. That will never happen. Plus, you’re so smart that you will graduate top of your class anyway. Don’t ever stop working out and your back will be thanking you in a few years. So will your mood.

Dear 18 year old me,
Worry more about nutritional values and less about calories and I promise you will never have to worry about stretch marks.

Dear 18 year old me,
Whispering “I love you” during sex does not count. Oxytocin is a tricky bitch! It’s true that being intimate gives you that sudden emotional connection, but sex and love are not to be confused with each other, or you might end up hurting people. And hurting people just because you’re still in the process of finding yourself is not an acceptable excuse. Also, breaking somebody’s heart will not make you feel better about yourself.

Dear 18 year old me,
I want you to know that confidence is not something you either have or you don’t. It’s not something you were born with, a natural congenital, inborn skill. Confidence is something you build over time, failure after failure. Every lesson learned, good or bad, will increase your confidence and self-esteem a little bit more, until you finally become the person you want to become. I know you might not be there, yet, dear 18 year old me, but time will get you there eventually. In the meantime, fake it until you make it.

Dear 18 year old me,
Think before losing your virginity to someone who is not worthy of taking that from you. I know you have always been a passionate, argumentative child, but by joining some sort of protest against whoever made a big deal out of virginity (I like to blame Joey Potter from “Dawson’s Creek” for this!), you will end up making absolutely no deal out of it. This is black and white thinking, dear. Stop that. If you can.

Dear 18 year old me,
I am aware that they say “In Vino Veritas” (In Wine There Is The Truth), which generally speaking is true since alcohol tends to loosen the tongue and leads people to say things that they would normally keep to themselves when sober. However, keep in mind that there is such a thing called “Drunk Texting”, which is not very popular where you’re from (yet), but it will be a very common bad habit of some of the people you will meet in a few years during your M.A. in England. Do me a favour. Don’t believe a word! Most things people say when they’re drunk are only lies to get in your pants. And I swear, you’re better than that. Speaking of which…

Dear 18 year old me,
in a few years time, you might (or might not) meet a couple of unpleasant human beings who might (or might not) attempt to get rid of you using the lame excuse that you deserve better or that you are not right for each other. Some of them will simply stop talking to you for no reason. I want you to keep in mind that there are not right or wrong people to spend your time with. There are only the people you like and the people you couldn’t care less about. And that’s about it. The rest is nothing but bullshit and mindless self-indulgence (that I advise you to quit) which will make you find excuses for these people who clearly aren’t even worth your time. You might as well deserve better, but they don’t deserve anything at all. Not even cheesy personalised Christmas cards sent in the attempt to save a friendship that was never there in the first place.

Dear 18 year old me,
beauty pageants are a terrible idea. They won’t help you build your self-confidence but most importantly they won’t help you get over your unresolved child issues. Competing for a beauty crown won’t help you find the answer to the question why people always compliment you for something only to hold it against you a few moments later. Having people say you look pretty won’t convince your inner self that you’re actually pretty, if you don’t stop feeling ugly. On the same note, dear 18 year old me, whenever someone compliments you for your appearance, PLEASE, just take it.

Dear 18 year old me, about depression. You will have your moments. Especially after your first experience abroad, when going back to your Italian reality will seem like an impossible thing to do, when your caring romance partner will break up with you over the Internet, when graduating will seem like an unreachable goal and everything will instantly lose meaning to you for a while. Even then, I want you to know that “this too shall pass”.

Dear 18 year old me,
Sending anonymous Valentine’s cards is not a good way to socialise. Neither is spying on people on the bus. And the classic “But I am a writer, I gotta improve my writing through observation” does not count as an excuse. On a completely different note, do you remember some of the things you felt during the first stages of your long journey, while you were trying to explore your sexuality, and you believed THAT was an orgasm? Well, rethink it!

Dear 18 year old me,
We’ve almost come to the end of this letter. I want to make it clear that I am and will always proud of who you are. I don’t want you to change. I only want you to improve and mistake after mistake, become the person you’re meant to be. A few more suggestions, though…
Don’t ever fight who you are. Don’t fight your mood swings. They will always be a part of you. Also, don’t try to fight your Italianness whenever you are around British people and don’t ever brag about your English-speaking skills whenever you are around your compatriots. Prove to yourself that you’re good. Not to others.
Finally, dear 18 year old me, keep in mind that writing is your calling. Don’t waste your time pretending that you don’t know about that and wondering whether you should pursue it or not.
As if being a quitter was an option for you…

AM

INSTAnnoying

Let’s face that. The way we use the Internet says a lot about who we are. In particular, the way we use Instagram says a lot about our personality. Yeah, “Instagram has been affecting the way we perceive the world, the way we perceive ourselves” and all that bullshit, but most of all, Instagram has made our true (annoying) self come out.
Some people like to post a lot of cute pictures about their childhood, so to say that they are either very nostalgic about their past or at least very proud of who they used to be once. Okay, you were a cool kid and now you are probably a jobless frustrated human being who spends a lot of time obsessing over social media instead of trying to find an actual occupation. And it’s true that somehow the past always seems happier than the present, but there is nothing more annoying than to be reminded about that.
Some people only post pictures of their major past events. Somehow it seems like they don’t have other pictures to show and their life started when they got married or had their first baby. All the things that have happened before got lost in the wheel of time. Did you graduate top of your class? Did you learn to play guitar when you were only 5? Forget about that. Any personal achievement does not matter anymore. You are a grown-up now.
Also, Instagram is full of pretentious philosophers who keep posting insightful quotes or cliched photos of sunsets captioned with banal quotes about new beginnings. Did you just got dumped? Get a grip, stop wishing for a better day and make it happen instead.
Finally, are you on a diet? Sad truth is nobody freaking cares, so you’d better stop posting pictures of your food and daily work-out or you’ll only come across as someone who’s got nothing better to do than counting calories. And please, I beg you, don’t be like that. Life is so short. If you want a cookie, you should eat it. No regrets.
But don’t post it on Instagram…

For those who visited my Instagram anytime during the last month, I apologise for joining at least (almost) each one of the above annoying categories, but you know, life happens… We all were kids, we all grew up, we all got dumped and we all have been on a crazy diet. Let’s be INSTAnnoying together!

The Benefits Of A Single Woman

Every time I say to myself “This is the last time. I need to stop seeing him.” Everybody says that I could do so much better and I would really like to believe that. Of course I can do better. Everybody can do better, if they really want to. But it is always the same old story every month. Mainly because we all know that listening to your hormones is never a great idea. However, being a single woman nowadays is not exactly easy. I dare you try to fit in a society in which you feel that you don’t belong. A society that wants you to get engaged, married and pregnant as soon as possible. And all of this while you’re still trying to figure out how to make your dreams come true and how to move onto a new phase in your career. Because the phase you’re in has been going on for too long. So, at the end of the day, what’s left? A little bit of casual fun with someone that you like enough but not too much, someone who likes you a little bit but never enough. Someone who will help you shut off your brain for a couple of hours before you head back to work and continue with your stressful life. Every time I say to myself “This is the last time. I need to stop seeing him.” Then, I make a phone call. “Hey, do you wanna come over?”

#TheBenefitsOfASingleWoman

ITALIAN VERSION BELOW.

Ogni volta mi dico “Questa è l’ultima volta. Non devo vederlo mai più.” Tutti mi dicono che posso fare di più e io vorrei tanto crederci. Certo che posso fare di più. Tutti possiamo fare di più. E poi ogni mese è sempre la stessa storia. A dare ascolto agli ormoni non ci si guadagna mai, è vero. Ma essere una donna single al giorno d’oggi non è affatto facile. Provate voi a vivere in una società alla quale sentite di non appartenere. Una di quelle che vi ricorda ogni giorno che è ora che vi fidanziate, sposiate e facciate dei figli. Voi che siete ancora nella fase in cui state cercando di trovare un lavoro migliore e il vostro posto nel mondo. E questa fase dura da almeno due anni. E allora, a fine giornata cosa resta? Un po’ di sano divertimento con qualcuno che vi piace abbastanza ma non troppo e al quale piacete un po’ ma non abbastanza. Qualcuno che vi aiuta a smettere di pensare almeno per qualche ora, prima che torniate al lavoro e riprendiate la stressante vita di sempre. Perciò ogni volta mi dico “Questa è l’ultima volta. Non devo vederlo mai più”. E poi prendo il telefono e faccio una chiamata. “Ciao, vuoi passare da me?”.

Queen B is gone.

Everybody has met a Queen B sooner or later in their lives. This is an open letter to mine.

Dear Queen B,

You used to be my source of inspiration, my comfort in times of trouble, someone I could confide in. I had always been looking at you from a distance, before the day came when the courage to go talk to you took over me and we finally started a conversation.

I don’t tend to trust first impressions, but with you, I did. You were cool and I wasn’t.

We went from small-talk to coffee, from sharing long bus drives to eating copious amounts of sushi, you told me about your past and I was hanging off your every word.

You were sometimes mean, but always supportive. I trusted you and I always took your opinion in great consideration. All of my personal issues were no mystery to you, you helped me overcome them, you put me on the right track and gave me the confidence that I was lacking.

But one day, things changed.

I stopped exposing myself to you, because I felt threatened. I was weak and somehow you took advantage of it. You knew too much. People say I publicly say a lot about myself and they think it’s because I have a big ego. The truth is I like sharing facts about me, because I always hope to find a listening audience, caring and understanding friends.

Like you.

Dear Queen B,

I do not hope to get your friendship back at this stage. At least not anymore. You taught me the greatest skill of moving on from your disappointing relationships in order to keep only what makes you truly happy. I’ll be strong and won’t shed any more tears. From time to time,  I’ll even remember to bring a flower to our own self-made muffin-shaped gravestone.

Love,

A.

On Depression and Love

Unlost in Translation

There are many potential reasons why I am still single, or why someone who is married is married, and on and on. There are a lot of reasons we’ll never be able to fully identify.

But some truths have finally come to light for me, and I want to share them with you.

I did not want to fall in love. I wanted someone to carry me into the sunset, and have a guarantee that I would remain unscathed by any of the ups and downs of life, or love.

I wanted to fall in love, I didn’t want want to dribble and drop and gradually sink into love.  I wanted Cupid’s arrow to strike, to know beyond any doubt “this is the one,” from square one if possible, and be able to neatly incorporate the person into the life I planned.

Ha.

I didn’t want love, I wanted romance…

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