Monthly Archives: May 2011

The Dykes Likes: Cold Cream

Happy Memorial Day, dykes! Let’s talk about your face.

As you may already realize, I often appreciate menswear and men’s products, in large part, because of their timelessness. Often with men’s products, the high-quality classic is preferred to the fashionable but disposable. Unfortunately, women’s clothing and beauty products tend not to follow this pattern; the quality, in my opinion, tends to be lower, and the fashions change more rapidly. There aren’t many iconic products for ladies.

But there’s cold cream.

Ponds Cold Cream Ad 1935

Cold cream has existed for almost 2,000 years. Am I making shit up? No, dykes, I am not. According to Wikipedia, font of all wisdom, cold cream was invented by the second century Greek physician, Galen. Mind you, the second century was also the hey-day of early Christian theology, the era of Justin Martyr, Polycarp, Irenaeus, and Tertullian, and some of the more influential heretics. I’m not saying the two are related. I’m not saying they’re not.

More recently, your grandmother used cold cream. She used it for everything. It was her make-up remover, her facial cleanser, her moisturizer, her lotion, her sunburn relief. Not to mention that French ladies—who, frankly, know what’s up when it comes to looking good and aging well—are all about the face cream. Cold cream is particularly helpful if you live in a cold, dry climate, and it’s probably better-suited to dry than oily skin. A 9.5 oz tub of cold cream cost me about five bucks when I bought it ten months ago, and I’ve still got half a tub left. Speaking of which, have we talked about how much I love it when things come in tubs? Really I do.

Now about brands. I bought the CVS store brand because it was cheaper. Pond’s is the iconic brand, but according to a bunch of angry ladies on the interwebs, Ponds changed the formula. Interestingly, a number of those ladies recommend the CVS brand, as it contains only the traditional ingredients. I compared labels the last time I graced the face aisle at my local CVS branch, and this appears to be true. CVS brand cold cream contains: mineral, oil, water, beeswax, ceresin, sodium borate, fragrance, and carbomer. I don’t remember what all was in the Pond’s, but it had some extra crap with lots of i’s, o’s, and unusual consonant combinations. Which isn’t necessarily bad—some people still love Pond’s, and what the hell do I know, Pond’s may have changed it up for a reason. But either way, my understanding is that CVS brand is closer to the original formula.

How to Use It

Scoop some cold cream with your finger, smooth it over your face, and massage your face with your fingertips. Then wipe it off with tissues or a warm washcloth. Done.

Trivia

Q: In the 1991 movie Bingowhich I loved in kindergarten but in retrospect actually I think it was an awful movie–what does Bingo the runaway circus dog like to eat?

Bingo Movie Poster

A: Cold cream.

Cold cream, ladies. It’s simple, iconic, and economical—everything a good Catholic dyke would love.

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Bring Your Dyke to Mass, Part I

It’s a dilemma that many a good Catholic dyke has faced: how to dress for Mass without dishonoring one’s dykeness or, well, looking like a mess. Certainly, not every good Catholic dyke wishes to attend Mass, but for those who enjoy looking dapper at liturgy, their friends, and their family, we’ve got a few introductory style tips on how to bring your dyke (self or loved one) to Mass.

Many dykes wear dresses, skirts, or gender-conforming pants to church, but some prefer to offset their traditional Catholic behavior with some nontraditional attire—or perhaps to balance their traditional Catholic observances with traditional lesbo garb.

The old button-up and dark jeans is a mainstay of my own Mass attire, but since Sunday comes but once a week, sometimes I like to dress it up a little.

Vests

I’m sure that straight women wear button-front vests from time to time, but it remains a signature dyke look. And when worn over a simple button-up and pants, it makes you look a little more like you got dressed on purpose.

Mr. Shue Rocks the Vest

Women’s vests are made with your hips in mind and tend to be more fitted. Men’s vests tend to cover more and are available in more classic cuts. Either works. I once borrowed a men’s H&M vest for a college lesbian party, and, dykes, it made the panties drop. This may or may not be the effect you’re going for at Mass; I just want you to know your options. That being said, the vests I own are all made for ladies, and I have no complaints. I got some sweet New York & Co. vests on sale one summer, but when they’re not on sale they are not at all economical. Often, you can find pretty decent women’s vests at thrift stores. Boys’ vests are another option to consider–they’ll probably fit, and they’ll be a good deal cheaper than clothing made for adults.

Ties

Katharine Hepburn wore ties sometimes and you should too.

Katharine Hepburn

The wide Reagan-era ties in your dad’s closet are likely to make you look like a kid at a costume party (though in some cases it’s possible to pull off the wide tie look). Narrower ties are better suited to most women’s frames. Lucky for us, skinny ties are easy to come by these days, fashionable as they are thanks to hipsters and Mad Men, so get while the gettin’s good.

In addition to skinny ties made for hipster guys, ties for eleven-year-old boys tend to fit about right, though they are shorter (something to keep in mind when tying and adjusting the knot) and tend to have truck or airplane prints on them, which you may or may not appreciate.

There are many ways to tie a tie, but the most common are: the four-in-hand, the Half Windsor, and the Windsor knot. The four in hand is the one you see most often. It’s a smaller, asymmetrical knot, and it is the easiest to tie. The Half Windsor is symmetrical, triangular, and larger than the four-in-hand. Finally, the Windsor knot is, as its name would suggest, larger than the Half Windsor, and it, too, is symmetrical and triangular. I ordinarily choose the four-in-hand or the Half Windsor, as the Windsor knot is pretty substantial and tends to look best with wide silk ties, which I don’t have many of. Further, while a four-in-hand knot or even a Half Windsor can be worn pretty loosely, the Windsor knot is not particularly well-suited to such a stylishly disheveled look. It really looks best when it’s tightened all the way to the collar.

As for how loose or tight the tie should be: some dykes button the top collar button and wear the tie quite snugly, as men tend to wear them . I have more often seen women wearing the tie loosely, top two or three shirt buttons undone. Either look can be great; do whatever suits you and makes you most comfortable.

Now for tying the damn thing. The best instructions I have found online are by a gentleman named Hendrik, at http://www.tie-a-tie.net/. There are written instructions, diagrams, and videos–oh my! No really, it’s helpful.

Cufflinks

To wear a pair of cufflinks, you’ll need a shirt with French cuffs. French cuffs are big old wide cuffs, and instead of buttons, they have four of what look like buttonholes. You fold the cuff so that the four button holes are all aligned, and you use the cufflinks to hold the cuffs together. It looks good.

Cufflinks

Unfortunately, women’s French cuff shirts aren’t always easy to come by, and they tend to be more expensive than button-cuff shirts whether you’re shopping in the women’s or men’s department. If you’re only really intending to sport cuff links for Mass or special occasions, then one or two of these shirts will suffice. Unless you’re a daily Mass kinda dyke, which is also fine.

Confidence

Confidence, ladies. You’ve got to bring your dyke to Mass with confidence. It can feel a little weird to rock the gender-bending wardrobe in a traditional setting, but it need not be too uncomfortable. You can incorporate only one of the above at a time for a more subtle dyke look, or, if you’re feeling like a badass, wear ’em all. I have never been stopped, harassed, or looked snidely-upon for wearing any of this stuff to liturgy. One time, two of us went to Mass in ties, and an eight-year-old girl seemed confused, but that was about it–and I like to think it was an educational moment of some kind. Who knows, perhaps she’ll look back fondly on that event someday if she herself is a raging, yet devout, young dyke.


Mixology and the GCD: An Introduction

What are the essential skills of the good Catholic dyke? There are a lot of answers to that question. Driving a stick shift. Tying a Windsor knot. Mixing a decent cocktail.

Like many popular dyke activities and Catholicism itself, mixology is a generally male-dominated activity with its own community, traditions, controversies, and dapper style, and there is exactly no reason for today’s ladies not to be on board. I’ll tell you right now, dykes–your straight/closeted grandmother was on board. She could mix an excellent Old Fashioned, a Martini, a Manhattan, and a Gimlet for herself and her chain-smoking bridge club with one hand tied behind her back and look good doing it.

Getting Started

First, I recommend that you invest in a bartending book of some kind. I have my grandfather’s old copy of Trader Vic’s Bartender’s Guide, Revised (originally published in 1947, revised in 1972). It’s a well-regarded, traditional bartender’s guide, which means not only that it has all the classic recipes, but also that cheap used copies are easy to find. In addition to drink recipes, Trader Vic’s book includes advice, anecdotes, history, and general information on bartending and mixology. You can learn the basics from this book: the difference between bourbon and other American whiskeys, bartending etiquette, techniques, appropriate glassware, and more. Another classic mid-century style bartender’s guide is The Fine Art of Mixing Drinks, by David A. Embury, which is known for its engaging style and witty tone.

Basic Ingredients

A cocktail contains liquor and at least one other ingredient. According to Embury, it contains a base liquor, modifying agent, and special flavoring and coloring agents. So the most important thing you’ll need, of course, is liquor.

Liquor

If you’re living on a budget, I wouldn’t recommend that you go out and spend a lot on a wide array of liquors. I would recommend you start by considering what drinks you like or would like to try, and shop accordingly. I prefer traditional bourbon or gin-based cocktails, so I tend to keep a bottle of either or both stocked in my kitchen.

Usually, I keep bourbon in the house. Bourbon is a distinctive American liquor that came out of Kentucky originally; to this day, most bourbons are still distilled in the bluegrass state. You can expect future posts dedicated to bourbon and bourbon brands. For now, I’ll just let you know that traditional bourbon-based cocktails include: the Old Fashioned (believed to be the original mixed drink), Manhattan, Mint Julep, Whiskey Sour, and Bourbon and Coke–all bona fide old man favorites.

I also like gin. Not everyone does. Moreover, some people are, I’m told, allergic to the juniper berries from which gin is made and will feel horribly hungover from one or two gin-based drinks. If you haven’t tried gin before, I would try it at a bar before investing in a bottle of it. Classic gin-based cocktails include: the Martini, Gin and Tonic, Gibson, Tom Collins, and Gimlet.

There are, of course, cocktails made with tequila, vodka, rum, and other liquors, but bourbon and gin feature most prominently in the basic drinks.

Modifying Agent

A cocktail tends to include some modifying agent, which smoothes and enhances the flavor of the base liquor. For many cocktails, including Manhattans and Martinis, vermouth is a popular modifying agent. Bitters, sugar, eggs, cream, and fruit juices are also used. I would recommend keeping a bottle of vermouth and a bottle of Angostura bitters handy.

Special Flavoring/Coloring Agents

These can include liqueurs like Cointreau or Triple Sec, cordials, or syrups, like Grenadine. You’ll need these for the Margarita, Tequila Sunrise, and Sidecar, for example.

Paraphernalia

Don’t be intimidated by the paraphernalia. For many drinks, all you really need is a glass to pour it in and a spoon to stir it with. When you’re first starting out, don’t worry too much about getting all the toys.

But if you want to get some basic supplies, I would suggest you start with a jigger and a cocktail shaker.

A jigger is used for measurement and usually made from stainless steel. It’s shaped like you glued the base of a 1.5 oz shot glass to the base of a smaller 1 oz or 0.75 oz shot glass, and that’s pretty much what it is. If you don’t have a jigger and can’t get one, then just know that when a recipe calls for a jigger of liquor, it means an ounce and a half.

Jigger

Jigger

A cocktail shaker, also traditionally stainless steel, looks sort of like a tall, thin metal urn (yes, it’s creepy, but you’re a good Catholic dyke–drinking and dead bodies are already coupled in your psyche) and is used for shaking drinks to get them really, really cold. Not all drinks should be shaken (for example, you are not to shake a Martini–I don’t care what James Bond says–it just waters it down and bruises the juniper fruit). The most common type of shaker, and the type I would recommend, is the Cobbler shaker. It includes a cap and a strainer, so you won’t have to find another strainer to use when you pour your cocktail from the shaker into your glass. I also recommend that you invest in a decent shaker if you’re going to buy one. I picked up a small shaker for about $10, and it was a piece of crap. Temperature changes made it swell or shrink or something after I used it about twice, to the point that I can no longer open the damn thing. And by its very nature, its temperature changes–I mean, that’s the whole point of the shaker. So don’t be as cheap as I was. Get a good one.

Shaker

Shaker

Well, dykes, that’s my first overview of mixing cocktails. It’s pretty general, but there’s more to come.