Sunday, March 27, 2011

Bikeless Chronicles, part 4: Holy Land Accessories

It's pretty ridiculous when religious items make it into mainstream fashion.

Remember that rosary-as-necklace trend? That just bewildered me.

One of the guys at my church showed up one morning wearing a keffiyeh. As we're a well-educated, well-cultured bunch of people surrounded by hipsters, this guy got several comments and questions as to what statement--political, fashion, or otherwise--he was trying to make. He smiled with confused innocence at the unexpected barrage and explained that his keffiyeh was a gift from a friend, and he only wore it that morning because it was chilly.

A couple weeks later, I read on Jezebel that H&M is selling tallisot (Jewish prayer shawls; tallis is the singular). I got really excited and concocted a scheme to buy one as a gift for my keffiyeh-clad friend at church to complete his Holy Land Accessories Collection!

At the first chance I got, just a couple days ago, I eagerly went to H&M specifically for the trendy tallis. I really should have read the comments on that Jezebel item. Had I read the comments, I would have learned that it's not a tallis but a poncho. I really can't stand ponchos. Notice the disappointment on my face in the above photo. Stupid poncho.

Another commenter posted that one particular rabbinical student is turning the poncho into a tallis katan. The tallis katan is usually seen as a thin undershirt of poncho construction, with tassels on each corner to remind the wearer of God's commandments.

Anyway, for $35, this H&M tallis-like poncho was a bit too pricey for a not-quite-right gag gift.

Hm.... I wonder if I could knit myself a mantilla, wear it as a hipster-ish neck scarf, and start a trend.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Bikeless Chronicles, part 3: Queen Bitch

A couple weeks ago, on the bus, I saw this young and slim African-American lady. She had ironed-straight hair, 80s blue eyeshadow, and long fake eyelashes. Despite the bubble butt (or perhaps because of it), her jeans slipped just enough such that her lower back tattoo was clearly visible. It read, in a frilly Gothic calligraphy font, Queen Bitch. And she had a four-year-old, and a baby in a stroller.

I thought to myself, "Aw! Queen Bitch has children! Can't I have children, too???"

That was a depressing moment.

The mortgage is expensive. Childcare is expensive. I can't afford children right now.

Yet everyone seems to like telling me that the husband and I should have children.

"You! You guys! You should breed! You should have kids!"

Uh, OK, that's nice. You wanna be a cool aunt/uncle and spot me $1000 per month for childcare?

What do I need to do? Film a Kickstarter campaign? I can almost imagine it.

"Hi. You know us. You like us. You want us to have kids. And you'll like our kids, too.

We're just two -ologists looking to bring some future -ologists into the world.

We're smart. We're gainfully employed. We like thinking, reading, sunshine, and puppies. We make stuff from scratch, like bread, sweaters, and leblebi (it's a tasty Tunisian chickpea stew). We support local business, the arts, public transit, vaccines, and vegetarian burritos.

Our combined income barely covers the mortgage on our modest home. This means we cannot afford childcare.

This is where you come in. We have some fabulous thank-you gifts, too.

For a five-dollar donation, we'll send you a baggie of dehydrated sourdough starter! This is the real stuff, containing Lactobacillus sanfranciscensis and other tasty-making natural bacteria and yeast! This is the gift that keeps on giving!

For a ten-dollar donation, we'll send you a jar of homemade sugar scrub! Exfoliate your hands and feel good about contributing to a future generation!

For a twenty-dollar donation, we'll send you a handknit coffee cozy! Save the environment one coffee sleeve at a time!

For a fifty-dollar donation, we'll send you a jar of homemade organic lemon marmalade!

For a hundred-dollar donation, we'll send you the breakfast special of two jars of marmalade, some sourdough starter, and a coffee cozy.

For a five-hundred-dollar donation, we'll send you a pair of handknit fingerless gloves. Maintain your dexterity and warm your wrists in style! We'll also throw in a coffee cozy and a jar of sugar scrub.

Sponsor an entire month of childcare for $1000, and we'll thank you with a handknit scarf and matching fingerless gloves! We'll also send you baby pictures from the month you sponsor!

What? It could work.