Thursday, April 22, 2010

This is the third post in a series I am doing about my headlong plunge into the world of fashion design. Basically, I promised my friend Sandy that I would design a top to go with a sarong I gave to her. This is the saga of that top. See Part One and Part Two for earlier episodes. - The Management

"So how's the sarong top coming?" *snicker*

This is what I have been hearing from my friends, future lovers and disciples lately. Well, the nice and easy answer is, slowly. But like Ike and Tina Turner, I nevah, evah do nothin' nice and easy (or short), so you get a blog entry.

The first bit of news that I have to report is that, shortly after Part Two in this series was written, I decided to seek help from the top. The top of the heap of fashion designers, that is; I didn't really ask the top I'm designing for help because it doesn't exist yet and that would be silly.

No, what I did was pick the best fashion designer I knew -- of possibly two -- and ask her for help. The designer I selected for this signal honor was Christian Joy. The reason I even know of her is because she designs her pal Karen O's costumes. Karen O is the singer for the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, and I adore her with a fervor approaching slavering rabidity. That is to say, I dramatically cock an eyebrow whenever I hear her voice singing one of the YYY's songs. But this post is about Christian Joy, not about my facial tics or Karen O, so back to topic.

The only method by which I knew to contact Christian Joy was through Etsy, because Karen O pimped her Etsy store in a couple of Facebook entries. So off to Etsy I went. Like I knew what Etsy was. I quickly found out that it was a place to buy and sell handmade items (because I can read, even though reading is apparently hard). Great. All I wanted was a hookup with a designer, not a place from which to sell my handicrafts to housewives in Hoboken or my gewgaws to gay men in Great Neck. But I discovered that, to send a message to Ms. Joy, I would have to create an Etsy account.

Well, why the hell not? I thought. So I did. I now have a fucking store on Etsy. If you want to check it out, go here, but why bother? I don't have anything to sell. My store is empty. The only things I know how to make by hand are bread and love, and Etsy does not appear to be precisely the correct venue in which to sell either of those things. Nothing against Etsy, of course. It seems like a very wholesome place in which to shop for things I don't need and can't afford.

However, armed with my new Etsy account, I could now send a message to my soon-to-be new friend Christian Joy, or Xian, as I started calling her in my mind. What to say in my message? I wanted to word it carefully, so she wouldn't think I was a dork. In other words, I couldn't sound like myself in the message. I also didn't want to sound like a YYYs fan. I figured if I could track down Xian after a couple hours of work, so could the obnoxious 22 year old chick sitting next to you in whatever bar you're in right now, texting on her iPhone and snapping her gum. And it would take her about 4 minutes to do it, if I'm any judge of obnoxious 22 year old chicks. And I am.

So this is what I came up with:
Hi. I find myself in the awkward position of having committed to a very dear (and gorgeous) friend to design and make her a top to go with a sarong I gave her. Since I have absolutely no knowledge of or experience in fashion design, I am totally winging it, but oddly I am enjoying the experience a great deal. Where I'm at is that I have created a design for a silk top (2 designs actually!) but I'm not exactly sure what the next step should be. I'm attempting to draft the designs but it's going to take a while since I am pretty much a kindergarten-level artist. I shall persevere however.

The reason I'm writing you is that you're the only person I know of who does this sort of thing whose designs I like, and I thought you could perhaps give me some advice on to whom I can turn to actually create the garments. I'm okay with designing things but not so confident of my ability to sew silk!

Anyway, thank you very much for your attention, and any help you care to give me will be greatly appreciated. And written about as well, by the way; see [Hulles blog link] for the first part of the story.

Again, thanks. Sincerely, [Hulles]

I thought it was pretty good. I left it sort of open-ended about what I really wanted from her, so she could feel free to say "Hey, just send me the drawings and I'll fucking make it for you!" or something similar; I didn't mention Karen O at all; and I didn't beg and whine nearly as much as I wanted to. "Please help me, I'm just a clueless (albeit cute) straight guy who's trapped in a world of fashion design he never sought to violate repeatedly," or something similar. After some reflection, however, I confess that it might have been a bad idea to include a link to this blog in the message.

As it turns out, it didn't matter. The very next day after I sent her the message, Xian appeared on the cover of Time Out New York, as one of "the most stylish New Yorkers". Great. So of course I have not heard back from her, nor do I expect to. I guess that I won't get to know Xian after all, nor will I become close friends with her, fall in love, get married and have Karen O be the maid of honor. Her loss. Their loss, actually. But I soldier on, though I'm abandoning the use of Ms. Joy's pet name of Xian in retribution. That should teach her a lesson of some sort. And I'm also reducing the angle of my eyebrow cock when I hear a YYY's song, because I'm petty and spiteful like that.

The only other HCSSRBS (see title, duh) news bit that I'm including in this post, is that I bought a Fashion Design Tool, or FDT. See, the reason I haven't made more progress on this project than I have is that I'm fucking broke. Were it otherwise, my lair would be strewn with silk remnants and selvages (selvedges if you're British) and shit, and my fiend Sandy, with whom I am so not in love, even though she's beautiful, funny, caring, sexy, hot, bright, sexy, likes Lesbian porn, and... What? Oh yeah, if I had any money at all Sandy would be a lot closer to having my silken creation caressing her breasts right now. But such is not the case; her poor breasts will have to wait. What I was able to buy was a tape measure, so I could measure her body and get the top just right. Shut up.

My new tape measure is such an awesome FDT, though. It's a Singer brand, it cost about US$2.50 or so (ouch!), it's apparently made of fibreglass, which might be a good thing, who knows, and it's hot pink. Yes, hot pink. So I am currently carting around in my briefcase a hot pink tape measure, suitable for pretty much any task that involves dressmaking. I'm just waiting for it to fall out of my briefcase when I'm sitting in a tavern swilling beer, watching football on TV and grunting and farting with my male pals. Nope. Can't wait.

Sandy is going to owe me big time for this. Big. Time.

- Hulles

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

I just finished writing a short story that can best be termed "erotic fiction". No, I'm not going to publish it here, but I thought I would talk about the experience of writing the story in this blog, just because it was so damn weird.

This was my first foray into the fetid realm of erotica. It resulted from a conversation I had with a dear friend. Once again, I heard myself say, "Hey, I can do that." Good lord, when will I learn to keep my mouth shut? Well, we all know the answer to that one, don't we? But what I learned in the process of putting up, as opposed to shutting up, was interesting.

First, erotic fiction is a dramatically different genre than what I now call "placid fiction" (or occasionally, "flaccid fiction"). I've written short stories of various types before, so I thought "No problemo, Hulles!" That lasted about until I set fingers to keyboard to start my brand new porn story.

Hmmm. What the hell makes a good erotic story? Sex, obviously, but how much? Realistic? Believable? Improbable? Fantastic? How much non-sex goes into the story? How long do you spend describing the _____ [insert any of about 38 dirty words here]? I found myself perplexed by these questions and many others like them, until I did what I always seem to end up doing: just saying "fuck it" and writing the damn story.

One thing I had not realized prior to this experience is that, when you write erotic fiction, you have to live it in your mind so you can tell the story. "Well, of course!" you say, "that's how you write anything!" And I answer, "Yeah, easy for you to say, I'm single, I'm a guy and I haven't gotten laid yet this year." [Stifles a small sob and daubs at his eyes with a clean pair of underwear.]

In other words, to write this story I had to live through an evening of extremely intense sex with a stunningly beautiful woman over and over and over again, at least in my imagination. It damn near killed me. My cat Mimi wouldn't come near me the whole time, she just paced nervously in the living room as I sat at the computer in my office typing. Whenever I would finally end for the night and call for her to come to bed, she would dive into the coat closet like a prairie dog on meth and not come out until morning. And it's probably just as well, to tell you the truth. It saved a lot of strain on our relationship.

There was certainly no paucity of strain on my body, however. I'm not sure how it is with you, but when I imagine having steamy sex with someone at the requisite level of detail -- sights, sounds, smells, tastes, and let's not forget touch -- my body starts to go on autopilot. It begins to morph into some sort of single-minded monster can imagine. But on the occasion of writing this story, when the metamorphosis was complete my body stopped, looked around, and said to itself, "What the... There's nobody here! OMG, my chauffeur is insane! I'll just teach him a lesson and make all of his body parts intensely miserable for the next several hours."

And yes, unlike me, my body does say "OMG!" That's why I write and he just shows up and stands around looking uncomfortable most of the time.

I swear, I don't know how people who write erotica for a living are able to do it. All I can imagine is that they must have about 20 lovers at any given time, all of whom show up for work every morning with rumpled hair looking extremely relaxed and blissfully stupid.

Me, I'm going back to drinking skim milk, doing the New York Times crossword puzzle every day and cancelling every one of my 283 personal ads. I can't take the abuse.

Although come to think of it, there is one scene that I still haven't gotten exactly right. It needs some additional research, so if you're a frighteningly hot woman with a taste for the bizarre and enjoy guacamole, send me an email. Previous trapeze experience a plus. YOU TOO can show up for work in the morning looking relaxed and blissfully stupid. And as an added bonus, you will gain the personal satisfaction of having supported the arts to the best of your agility, stamina and strength. Please consult your physician prior to your arrival. I know I'm calling mine.

Ah, the suffering I am willing to endure for my craft. I better get at least a Pulitzer out of this.

- Hulles

Friday, April 02, 2010

I decided that I am going to emulate the U.S. Census Bureau. For those who don't live in the United States, the Census Bureau this year sent out a bazillion form letters to everyone who lives here saying that, soon, they would be sending out a bazillion forms for everyone who lives here to fill out.

So, in that spirit, I am announcing that, soon, I will write another blog post.

- Hulles