You have hair WHERE?

I’m back! I thought I’d dive back into my blogging with a little story … so you can get to know the person behind the pinup a little better!
So rewind some years… quite a few actually … to 20 year old me. On this night, I am starting my first shift as a bikini cage dancer at the Auckland institution of bland sleaze … Showgirls. I am escorted through the smoke machine fog, flashing lights, mirrors and poles to “Backstage”. In my head, I picture something like this…

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I am not prepared for the tiny, fluorescent lit space, where battered utilitarian lockers cover 2 of the walls, and one wide mirror with a bench below is shared by a horde of mostly naked women competing for space. I’m boggled by the boobs, the tans, the long and perfectly straight hair and what seems to be the dress code – teeny tiny bits of glittery lycra. My new “sexy” bikini and lingerie set suddenly seem woefully inadequate, and comprised of much too much fabric.

I am not quite sure where to stand without gawping, or getting in the way. Some kind soul takes pity on my obvious virginal status and asks what I have brought along to wear. Seeing my offerings, she directs me to a breathtakingly exotic beauty, who it seems brings bikinis back from her native Brazil to sell to other dancers. Fishing all manner of tiny slips of nothing out of one of the lockers, she tosses me something tiny and red. I am not quite sure which is the front and which is the back of the bottoms bit. Seeing my hesitation, Brazilian Beauty assists me. First, I remove my knickers.

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Which is when I realise… one of these things is not like the other. Oh god. In my sensory overload, how can I have missed that not one of these women have one iota of a lady garden?? For the first time in my life, I am mortified by my own pubic hair. I am not a very hairy person, I have never really given much consideration to landscaping the region. Brazilian Beauty eyes my now exposed bush with horror… “So… natural!!”. Natural… oh god… that’s bad, right? Because I am, at this point, all natural. No fake tan, hair extensions, fake nails, boobs and my terrible embarrassing… bush. Brazilian Beauty puts the bottoms on me. In case you ever need to wear a bikini bottom like this, here is the trick. Tie the sides and then pull the small amount of fabric at the back RIGHT UP YOUR BUM CRACK. Then you can pull it back out a little, so it looks like it’s hiding in your bum. Perfect. The matching top to this set is pretty much 2 tiny nipple sized fabric attached with bits of string.

The next day after my night of bush shaming… I book my very first Brazilian wax. At some walk up Asian beauty salon off Queen St. I am terribly eager to rid myself of my lady shame. I am willing to part with cash dollars for a stranger to inflict painful torture on my nether regions. A young and attractive Asian woman directs me to a room and a wobbly massage table and happily instructs me to take off everything from the waist down and put my knees up and apart. The room looks like a old office cubicle. I start to wonder if this was something I should have been a bit less budget conscious about. Too late now.

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Young Woman looks under the towel I have draped across my exposed parts and makes a noise. It’s not a good noise. It’s somewhere between a grunt and an exclamation. It is definitely not a noise you want to hear when someone is inspecting your lady garden. She leaves the room. I can not deny I am Worried. She returns with an Older Woman. Who proceeds to also look under my towel and begin pointing and speaking animatedly in a language that is Not English. Then the two of them start yabbering away. I am Definitely Concerned now. Young Woman smiles. Older Woman exits. Wax preparations ensue. Possibly my memory has embellished the moment… but I am certain she almost looks gleeful as she applies hot wax and announces “ONE, TWO, TREEEE!” …

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And so began 10 years of assault on my poor under valued lady garden. Shaving, plucking, waxing … ingrown hairs and itching. Putting concealer on MY DOWN THERE to hide its suffering and render it fit for wearing teeny tiny things I thought of as underpants. A few years back, I’d had enough. I asked myself WHY??? This was not even something I had questioned during my earlier hippy phase, when I used damp rocks as deodorant and didn’t eat anything that didn’t grow on a tree or have dirt on it.

Why indeed? So I reclaimed my lady garden. And I’ve never felt more comfortable. Unrelated, but around the same time, I began wearing pinup and vintage style “full time”, and discovered the bliss of big nana knickers. But that folks, is another post 🙂
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So whether you embrace a full Brazilian and love it (or a Californian, or a Texan) or enjoy having a homage to Linda Lovelace… you own it baby! Whether your carpet matches your curtains, or you prefer a bare floor. Loving yourself means loving ALL of yourself, and that includes your beautiful lady parts ♄

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Love Your Beaver!

Love, Lorelei Louise xx

Advice to my teenage self…

I don’t know about you, but I do most of my best (or maybe just the most?!) thinking in the car… and occasionally when I’m lying in bed at night and can’t sleep! And I’m constantly thinking about random things I’d like to write about, so why not, here’s a post that keeps popping up!

I drive past the local highschool on the way to pick my 5 year old daughter up from school.
I think about how I felt at that age… over a decade ago! That being said, I’m still a spring chicken. At only 31, if life treats me kindly, I still have two thirds of my life ahead of me!

My own highschool experience wasn’t that great. It was pretty much a matter of getting through it, so I could get the heck out of Dodge.. or the small town I spend my teenage years in anyway. I was the kid who hid in the library at lunch, and then in the last years, I just didn’t care … I had a car, and a few friends outside of the highschool microcosm. Highschool was a means to an end. I wish I knew some of the things I knew now…

Just for fun, here’s me at 17-18…
nat 18So what advice would I give to my teenage self?

  • This too, shall pass. Highschool is a blip on the radar. The best is yet to come.
  • Just because you can squeeze into it, doesn’t mean it looks good! Really – less, is not more
  • Low rise jeans and strapless anythings are just not flattering on your body… NO exceptions
  • Listen to your mother. She doesn’t not understand, she just pretends to because she loves you and doesn’t want you to make mistakes you might regret.
  • You will always be your Daddy’s little girl… try and see it from his point of view!
  • Travel! Forget being responsible, just do it. Life goes by fast, and seeing the world will only make your life richer.
  • Embark on a career in something you could love, not just something you think you are good at
  • Sunscreen is your friend. And shade. Laying out in the sun will just give you more freckles, and wrinkles
  • Embrace your differences, being like everyone else is BORING
  • Depression is a thing. It’s not normal, or just life, to feel sad all the time
  • Love your boobs. Enjoy your boobs. Hell, photograph them and frame the memory. Because post child, those perfect pert bosoms you longed to be larger will be but a distant memory…
  • You are not fat. You are beautiful! I promise!

What would you tell your teenage self now? I’d love to hear your comments! And please please, pictures of your teenage selves!!

Lorelei xx

Loving the skin you are in

A bit of Friday feel good fluff for ya. Maybe just one of those slightly rambling, get stuff off my chest kind of posts. Why not, I’m in one of those give no fucks kind of places, and why have a blog if you can’t use it to share what’s on your mind 🙂

Body confidence, loving the skin you’re in, whichever catch phrase you like… I really do believe strongly in the idea behind it. Or should I say ideal. Because let’s face it, sometimes it can be bloody hard. So many factors fight against us in our self image! Our modern westernised paradigm  of what an attractive and healthy woman should look like, firmly reinforced by media, advertising, and so many other subtle ways that we scarcely give a second thought to. In the last few decades, for the first time in history, society’s ideal body shape can not be attained through simply diet and genetics alone. Exercise and some version of strength training are needed to achieve that lean toned physique.

Slowly, ideas do seem to be changing. Real women, on the more “extreme” side of what is viewed as “normal” are challenging the wider public to alter their perception of beauty. The Vintage Doll, a pinup loving lady I greatly admire, doesn’t fit even the supposedly more body accepting pinup world definition of pinup. And she gets plenty of haters along with her legions of followers. Why? Because she is tiny. Naturally. And she is embracing her natural body and rockin’ a pinup look and looking fabulous doing it! Not all thin women starve themselves, why can’t we accept ALL natural body types, without slamming the smaller or larger? Of course, there is the fabulous Tess Holliday, who at a size 22 (which seems to be reported more in media than any other more interesting detail), has become a spokeswoman for a movement challenging traditional beauty ideals, the #effyourbeautystandards campaign, as well as a successful fashion model. Yet despite her beauty and success, many hiding behind the anonymity of the internet deem themselves worthy of making judgements on her health, and worthiness as a role model, saying she is encouraging obesity and ill health. This is the sort of thing that really gets my fire going! The only thing Tess, and the Vintage Doll, and so many other beautiful women out there are encouraging is LOVING YOURSELF JUST AS YOU ARE. Fat, thin, in between, you are beautiful.

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Emily – The Vintage Doll

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Tess Holliday

Today, one of my friends posted a picture on social media, of a younger and slightly slimmer version of herself, in the spirit of inspiring herself to once again become that woman. And that made me think. How often do I do the same? Why do I look at women like Tess and think wow she’s beautiful… then hold myself up to different standards? Because once upon a time, I looked a certain way, means I CAN look that way, therefore I should, right? Hmm, wait. Why am I so hard on myself, when I admire beauty and bodies in others of so many diverse shapes and sizes?

Here is me, at age 25 (6 years ago). Pre-baby, pre many life experiences. Size 8, around 55kg. I had abs. My hip bones and ribs were just visible (I judged myself on how protruding my bones were). My boobs were perky. I thought I was fat, and constantly analysed every last little part of myself… and never saw the big picture.
228373_5102546972_2188_n 224354_5378706972_4752_nDisturbingly, this was one of my more healthy phases. Although I was exercising a lot, I was eating well, although watching my diet carefully. In my early 20s (before digital!), I was even more obsessive about my size. I got down to 48kg, too light to give blood… and I’m 5’6. I counted every calorie that went into my body, and they were few. I had bruises from where my hip bones lay on my mattress at night. I was tired, but loved having a “strong, fit, figure”! I abused prescription diet pills and diuretics throughout my 20s, until I found out I was pregnant with my daughter. And my body image changed forever.

It wasn’t overnight, but I started to appreciate my body for the job it was doing, and the precious vessel it was carrying. I loved my big boobs and growing tummy, as I loved the daughter I was growing. After I gave birth, I looked at myself in the shower and was horrified! I still looked 6 months pregnant!  Fast forward a few months and being overwhelmed with new motherhood overshadowed the issues I had with my newly slightly squishy body. After a year, thank to genetics and breastfeeding, I was back to my pre-baby figure. Different, but still me.

My daughter is now 5. For several years after her birth, I maintained a very healthy and stable weight, with little effort. I felt invincible. The saggy boobs, wrinkles and bags under the eyes that came with motherhood could all be disguised. Then life hit me in the ass. I turned 30. I had a serious back injury which greatly limited physical activity for over a year. My depression, which I’ve struggled with since I hit my teens, reared it’s ugly head.

Suddenly it seemed, I was “putting on weight””. And it didn’t just fall off when I took notice and stopped eating a huge bowl of ice cream and 3 beers and a piece of butter toast after dinner like I was used to! It stuck. I had to buy a whole new wardrobe. I struggled with my self image. I looked at what I used to look like, and beat myself up inside.

It was when I became more involved with the vintage, pinup, and rockabilly scene I started to see myself in a new light. The vintage styles I admired and only wore some of the time, even though I had been collected vintage since I was a teen, looked amazing on more curvier figures! Slowly, I have been re-examining both how I feel about myself, and how I view other women.

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Me now!

 

For a start, my “ideal” has shifted. I hope that this will become a cultural change! Instead of a thin, bare bones woman, I strive to be A WOMAN. A shifting weight, curves are awesome, but if you don’t have them that’s awesome too, possibly saggy boobs, maybe cellulite, beautiful smile kinda person. And I think that some padding, if you have it, is womanly and beautiful.

So PLEASE, go look at yourself in a mirror and give yourself a wink… and have that  dessert and a glass of wine!

Miss Lorelei Louise xx

 

 

Sometimes it’s hard to be a woman…

Warning, if talking about menstruation offends you, read no further!

 

 

 

Still here?

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OK, good. So a few years back, I found out about this super thing called a menstrual cup. I won’t go into detail here but suffice to say it saves me a lot of money and makes the hassle of that time of the month so much less! Once a day ladies, yes really! Not to mention it’s more sanitary and better for the environment!

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But WHY am I blogging about this? Other than simply to sing it’s praises, or having gone stark raving mad? Well a few days ago, I came across this great article on Upworthy – They’re skipping school because of their period and this tiny cup is changing all that!

Here is an extract from it:

Menstrual cups are helping girls in developing nations.Not only is the Ruby Cup a sustainable product, the company is committed to education. In many parts of the world, women and girls do not have access to affordable tampons and pads. Because some girls turn to unsafe and ineffective homemade alternatives like newspaper or tree bark during their period, many end up staying home from school during their menstrual cycle to avoid potentially embarrassing accidents. The Ruby Cup founders decided to focus their efforts in Kenya after reading a study on menstrual health in Nairobi.

I was quite horrified to think of any woman having to use tree bark! And equally, missing out on education just for being a woman! Now Ruby Cup donates 1 cup to ladies in Kenya for each cup purchased, or if you don’t want to purchase a cup (or you are, say, a man) you can donate one here.

There are many places here in NZ you can get one for yourself too…

Environmentruals (That has got to be the best name ever!) They also sell other useful products (like Shewees!), and you can donate a cup to Women’s Refuge here

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So do a good deed for the week… and maybe even try one out for yourself 🙂 Because let’s face it, what I would normally spend on sanitary products in a year would be much more fun to spend on say… shoes.

I’ll get off my soapbox now!

Miss Lorelei Louise xx

 

 

The stars that shine the brightest

Like most of the rest of the world I was deeply saddened by the death of one of the great funny men of our time – Robin Williams. A truly great loss. But I wasn’t shocked. Why? Today I read an excellent article entitled “Why Funny People Kill Themselves” on cracked.com that explains why brilliantly, link here.

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It begins, “You ever have that funny friend, the class-clown type, who one day just stopped being funny around you? Did it make you think they were depressed? Because it’s far more likely that, in reality, that was the first time they were comfortable enough around you to drop the act.”

You see, you could pretty much be describing me here. I don’t consider myself a funny person, but I certainly use humour to cover social anxiety and insecurity. The death of such a brilliant and funny man, who struggled with addiction and depression really struck close to home. Not only have I struggled with depression and addictive tendencies my entire adult life, I also lost a brilliant and talented man, my partner Ben, to the demon of addiction.

It seems to be the ones with the greatest talent, the stars that shine the brightest, that struggle with the greatest burdens.

I think it is so very important that public awareness is raised to the reality of suicide – it’s not weak, or and “easy way out”, or a source of shame. What is shameful is attitudes of those that do not understand, and pass judgement on sufferers of mental illness, depression and addiction. And surrounding the death of such a legendary and high profile man, I am seeing many articles to this effect, which is very positive.

Here in New Zealand we live in a country with a suicide rate among the highest in the world. Nearly double the road toll in the last few years. Why is that? I lost a friend to suicide last year. It’s a terrible thing to have to farewell someone who has a lifetime of living and loving still to do. But until we have walked a mile in their shoes and faced that crippling darkness, where eternal oblivion seems the only way to free yourself of the pain, when you are convinced the world would be better off without you… how can we judge? A very good article by Chris Barton, speaking out about suicide in New Zealand was published in this month’s North & South. The full pdf article is available to download here through mentalhealth.org. A recommended read.

Addiction and depression often go hand in hand. August 31st is International Overdose Awareness Day, a day for prevention and remembrance of those that have been lost. The symbol is a silver ribbon.

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Wearing silver can signify the loss of someone cherished or demonstrate support to those bearing a burden of grief.

Wearing silver sends out a message. That message is that the infinite value of each human being nullifies presumption, prejudice and stigma towards people who use drugs.

Wearing silver celebrates life.

If you are anyone you know is suffering from depression or addiction, be a friend they can talk to. Listen, don’t judge.

Here are some links –

Lifeline Suicide Prevention

The Lowdown – depression help

Drug addiction support

Overdose Day website

I’d like to share this touching tribute is from Zelda to her father Robin Williams, the quote is from ‘The Little Prince’.

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Thank you for reading… and I promise I will follow up this rather serious post with a fun one about frocks 😉

Natalie xx