Sunday, April 08, 2007

Crip Lesbian Lolita Gothic: or "How my clothes control people."

There is a miracle recipe called Crip Gothic; start with your regular goth, add in two tablespoons of taboo lesbian goth, a pinch of lolita goth, with a bit of slut goth thrown in for taste: and your Crip Goth is ready to serve. I believe that not being able to stand does not impede your avenue to a fashion victory but rather can create it. Ever fantasized about a skirt that looks great but is too tight to walk in, or rides up as you sit down; with Crip wheelchair gothic, this problem is solved (all the legs gotta do is just sit there and look GOOD).

Yesterday, I was repeatedly stopped and asked about my shoes. That’s right, I, the person in the wheelchair people usually cross the road to avoid, or where people, if they notice me at all stare at the CHAIR were coming up to me and saying; “Great shoes, I guess you can’t buy them in Victoria.” This happened about five times in one afternoon. I had bought them a couple hours before and I have to say, any shoe that makes people think, “Gee, I really hope that girl in the wheelchair doesn’t spit, flail or drool on me, but I NEED to know where she got those shoes” bad enough to actually come up and talk to me is a fashion victory. Basically, I have dramatically changed my look in order to control people’s minds; so when I make people stop staring at the damn chair and walking away, but instead become drawn toward me into my cool fashion vortex: mission accomplished.

We had actually bought the shoes by accident since we were looking for a dance shop downtown in a little shopping arcade to pick up some ballet slippers (I’ll explain some other time). Shop was closed but this shoe store called Baggin’s was open and selling a lot of alternative shoes from Converse and Puma. Linda looks at a shoe, it is about $160. I do the “let blow” eye roll at her when she picks up these black and red skull converse high tops and says, “these look good.” Well, at that second this kinda butchy cute looking woman (who I am hoping is lesbian) asks if she can help. She has a tattoo of a tree on the inside of her arm. Cute and tattoo. “Yes,” I suddenly say to her, “Do you have these in a size 12?”

She goes and gets women’s size 12. They are a little tight, so she gets women’s size 13 and laces me into them. I am trying to impress her verbally, probably some athletic conversation because I remember at some point saying, “You probably have a great body for ballet.” So yes, I am flirting, making the moves like mad. That probably would have gone smoother if I wasn’t having a neurological meltdown at the time. I was stuttering and slurring so much she probably needed a splash guard. But on the other hand, since my hands were trembling so much I got to have her fit the shoes to my feet and lace me up (which can be a very erotic experience). They were having a sale on; 20-50% off, but these shoes weren’t on sale so she offered me 15% off. Wow, and they were like only $64 Canadian to begin with (that’s about $45 US or 30 pounds UK). So I slurred yes and we agreed they made me so cool, I would wear them out of the store, and she boxed my puma’s and I kept making the verbal moves; I am persistent if nothing else. Hard to score or even get a date when MY PARTNER was pushing the chair since I was too weak now to move it, and I had a little head tic going, while I am trying to smile and say something witty without a stutter.

We leave the shop, I need the oxygen for about 15 minutes and for some reason Linda doesn’t use this time to “accidentally” bounce my head off the wall next to me. Anyway, alas girl with the cool tree tattoo, our affair was never to be. She did however tell us that the store specialized in hard to find Converse so if you want people flocking to admire your footwear, you can order the same shoes from their webpage.

You see, when faced with adversity, I lie awake at night, I research and I come up with solutions. But because of those early years being raised by wolves along with the number of times I suffered concussions while doing the demolition derby circuit as “Liz the Debilitator!” sometime the ideas I come up with are...different (brainy, yes but...different). Problem: I am in a wheelchair and people are ignoring me and I feel not so good about myself. Solution: Throw out the rulebook and make you and those around you re-envision you by a dramatic fashion change. So instead of hip hugging jeans and tight fitting t-shirts that both adhere to the lesbian code (Clothing rule number 4: Functional, functional, functional!) and make others see my muscles move as I walk on by; I now have Wheelchair athlete look. I have the wicking top for runners, the tall junior athletic bottoms (you know, the jogging pants for those who simply want to look good in jogging pants and never actually run: hey, now I qualify!), and the Cannondale special gloves I like to call “my brakes.” That’s my training outfit (training for what? That’s a secret).

Janet, my physiotherapist who fitted me for my wheelchair told me she had fitted a goth girl. Goth! Yes, I have always been goth, but never really needed to look the part (I’ve told Linda to sell my body to the university for $600 when I die, so I am pretty sure my goth creds are intact). But now…now I need to look the part! I start searching the net. I start ordering in skirts and shoes, boots and corsets, and stuff from Hot Topic, the alternative store from the US. I call up Janet, first because my insurance is backed up and I need to dump the “Tank-lite” in the pic for a rigid chair till my new chair gets approved. She is going to look in “the bone yard.” I also ask her about her Goth chair fitting and if the goth girl had stomper boots, or what type of gothic wear she had, like how much crinoline do those clothing guards really stop from being sucked into the wheels. Also, how have her other female clients worn high heels with the footplate?

“None!” She shouts down the phone at me (Janet can be very excitable). Then after she calms down, “How high a heel are we talking about, because I might be able to temporarily lower the back of the footplate.”

“Um.....I was kinda getting a 5 inch Polyurethane shiny stomper club boot….”

“Five inches!” She screams into the phone.

“It’s knee high and has buckles all up the side. Besides, two of those inches are platformed....”

There is silence on the other end of the phone. She sometimes holds the phone away from here so I won’t hear her laughing at me.

“Send me a picture of the boots,” she says and gives me her email (I haven’t heard back), “My clients don’t wear high heels because they don’t wear dresses, it is hard for transfer (transferring to and from the chair)”.

“Oh, I wasn’t going to wear a dress,” I tell her, “That rides up too much when wheeling, I was thinking of a PVC skirt with a cincher.....”

There is silence as she hold the phone away.

“....or corsets” I finish.

Eventually she says, “You always make me laugh.” So I explain my new sexy look and tell her how I have already been propositioned on Douglas Street while waiting for the bus, just not by anyone sober yet.

“It's good to know you have standards; holding out for sobriety and money," she is killing herself laughing, I am not sure if she thinks I am joking or knows I am not, "I am sure your parents are proud."

Anyway, while most of the corsets and PVC skirts and stuff are still a few weeks away by mail order, two boxes have come in from Hot Topic – mostly accessories like hairbands, earrings, arm warmers, some Trick Fairies shirts and stockings....with bows! With our few local purchases and new accessories Linda and I figured we had enough to try for a few Crip Goth outfits. The first is your basic “lady of night” look with a bit of class and maybe a lingering “vulnerability combined with substance abuse” aura. The fishnet arm-warmers and the scarlet bustier are the subtle signs that either say; “Give me money” or “Talk to me, I’ve done/seen interesting things and don’t give a damn what people think of me.” By the way, I am sitting on my temporary rigid (can’t fold it up) wheelchair I call RC1 (for CRAP rigid chair 1 – it is an A4 which got a grand 2.4 out of 5 rating from users and therapists – an “ultralight” but weights 28 pounds)

Okay, now we have our actual Crip Goth look, from the skull headband and black angel wing earrings to the “wet look” PVC gauntlets, black choker and a bit of Lolita goth thrown in with my stocking and bows, a bit of very pale skin and a short skirt saying; yes, I am a poor innocent girl lost in these woods....can you show me the way to grandma’s? While the tattoo should tell you, uh, maybe not quite as innocent as she looks. I also like the gauntlets as they give it a touch of lesbian Goth with weird images of the other adventures of Xena: the Kinky Lesbian Princess Warrior. Will Linda let me leave the house this way? Who do you think is taking the picture? Sadly, on our trip around town yesterday, we checked in at the only gay/lesbian club/bar in town and found....20 steps leading straight down. So much for getting hot lesbians rubbing up against my chair to dance with me. Nearby there is an “alternative clothing” store, with some interesting short skirts. I ask the girl there with these luminous “take her home and give her a kitty-cat bed in the corner” eyes if they sell Lip Service clothing.

“Oh!” she says with a sort of shocked sexual surprise, “No, WE don’t, there was a store that sold some but it...uh....went out of business, there really aren’t enough.....uh....people in this city to buy....uh.....THOSE clothes.” (I have a...uh....LOT of Lip Service clothes coming by mail order – the girl later tells me she actually DID buy a Lip Service PVC nurses outfit).

I figured since she actually knew the brand she was a clubber so asked her, “So, in this town, how many clubs are wheelchair accessable?” Since downtown each block has about two club entrances.

I can see her mind going through the clubs also as she goes, “Oh....Oh!” then as she thinks of more clubs, “Oh! OH!” (I am starting to feel we are having an intimate moment). “I never thought!” She finally says, “there’s only Evolution!”

Great, so much for plan number 2: moving from the lesbian/gay hangouts to getting the straights all hot and bothered. Somehow spending two hours dressing up to go and get some fries at Denny’s in my Crip Goth/kink wear doesn’t seem so fun. Anyway, another problem; I will simply have to find another solution.

Meanwhile I have my day look; an average wheeling around town crip goth look here with my skull arm-warmers from Tripp NYC, Trick Fairy hoodie, matching violet skull headband, and of course, the red skull and black converse (which I also will be able to wear with the Victorian red and black corset coming in I think – a nice fusion of new and old styles). Luckily they also match my hair. Which is getting a lot of comments, especially from guys; so never say guys don’t notice anything because when you dye your head a red that doesn’t really appear in nature, they DO notice. Or maybe it is because my hair is the same colour as popular lacquers which is what guys are noticing: “Gee, that would be the perfect colour for my deck coating.”

That’s it so far. Sadly since yesterday coming home it has rained pretty steady and wearing all tantalizing Lolita crip goth stuff in the rain just makes you look sad and miserable. And since I am actually not a teenager anymore, I don’t need to look like that because I can stay home and drink red wine and even feel sad or miserable without being either dripping wet or having really slouched shoulders or both.

Of course now that my pale skin has been shown in a SKIRT and thigh high’s with BOWS – the lesbian conclave has decided that I no longer fall under the femme category (too much mascara?). Basically, I have failed the functional clothes test, and apparently there isn't a lolita femme catagory (well, until I made it I guess). But I don’t care, I am having fun. You know that groove, watching people older than you try to shield the children’s eyes, watching the people younger than you smile or shake their heads, see your contemporaries take two steps back, that kind of fun. Oh yeah, got into your head for a second didn’t I? Oh wow, I love that feeling.

(Linda says I needed to add this extra bit which explains that I can use the world "Crip" because I am disabled and in a wheelchair so it is like an ironic self reference: "Look at me, the plucky crip girl" while if able bodied people used the word to talk about me it would be offensive; kinda like how lesbians use the word "dyke" a lot but I don't know any lesbian who doesn't find someone yelling "Dyke!" at them from a car offensive. Please note that I only refer to myself; A disscussion on the usage of the term at Crip College.)


kathz said...

Fabulous clothes, shoes, etc. My daughter spent a year or so wearing the fishnet fingerless gloves - and then she lost one and took to wearing a single glove. People would say things like, "Is that you daughter - the one with the glove?" I reckoned it was a great look but lately she's discovered there are more colours than black, red and purple, which is disconcerting.

Elizabeth McClung said...

Yes, hopefully that will be a phase she grows out of - I think classic black with a touch of kink is always in style (it worked for Betty Paige!) - I can send your daughter another set of those gloves if she needs - I would think there should be a goth charity bank for those unfortunates who need fishnet fingerless gloves in small communities and can't get them.

kathz said...

My daughter's one glove became a marker of her style. She also chooses to wear odd socks. This is unfortunate because sometimes she borrows one of mine so I end up with lots of single socks.

On the plus side, when she and a friend were asked to wear black clothes when stage managing, they looked much more elegant and dramatic than anyone had anticipated.

Wiccachicky said...

The thigh highs with the bows are HOT!!! Good choice. :)

KateJ said...

Love the shoes!

GayProf said...

I like the wrist gauntlet-type items. They remind me of Wonder Woman. But, the again, what doesn't?

I also like your new profile pic.

Elizabeth McClung said...

Kathz: ah, thank you that's the word I needed to explain my clothing style to my mother: "Dramatic"

Wiccachicky: Thanks! I was like really surprised by that pic, in a sort of pleasantly, but wow, do I look erotic, slutty, whatever - I'm happy, people walking down the street are happy, Conservative Christians are unhappy: everyone wins!

Kate J: Thanks - I would like to take the credit but I will have to share it with Linda for spotting them (much as she did the skull earings I got today), combined with my inability to resist cute butch's with tattoos.

Gayprof: Well, the guantlets are only part of entire outfit which includes a corset of the same material which may soon arrive - did Wonder Woman ever do corsets? See, I had a fashion blog for you! True, a totally self centered, me, me, me fashion blog, but still, I tried.

hazel8500 said...

Crip Goth, and here I thought you meant the gang banger's! Elizabeth, you look smashing darling!

And not sure whose head you were trying to get into but, uh yeah get outta me head! Actually no don't bother, there's room in here for for you, probably even Linda too. And you make me smile.

But I don’t care, I am having fun. You know that groove, watching people older than you try to shield the children’s eyes, watching the people younger than you smile or shake their heads, see your contemporaries take two steps back, that kind of fun. Oh yeah, got into your head for a second didn’t I? Oh wow, I love that feeling.

Yeah I Love that feeling too.

i'm definitely going to check out these web store links of yours they are hot hot hot!

kathz said...

My daughter wants your Converse - this has turned into a conversation about how she NEEDS new shoes because her doc martens (black after an experiment in purple) are really hot and heavy and she has only seven other pairs of shoes (the blue wedges, the missing red high heels, the grey very high heels that are painful to wear, the two pairs of black slip-ons, the trainers for running, the flip-flops which she claims are dying and probably some others we have forgotten). P.S. she says her trainers don't count - but they still cost money (and she is giggling manically as I type this)

Elizabeth McClung said...

click on the store link in the blog - I am sure they sent to the UK - and at 30 pounds - what a bargain, who can say no (you can order them by euro sizes as well - the converse have all the sizes right across the top)